Consumer behavior when shopping online is still a new art that continues to be studied. The ease and convenience of e-commerce shopping continues to grow and more and more users are growing comfortable with transacting online. In working with a range of e-commerce retailers, Shipfusion has picked up on some of the most useful strategies to get more customers checking out online.
#5: Make your shopper feel comfortable
Online shoppers are always weary when shipping online. Most of the time, it’s the information that’s not on the page that concerns them compared to what is on the page. For example, what is the refund policy, how much is shipping, are their VAT/duties if shopping from a foreign country. Clothing companies face an even bigger challenge as customers wonder how a particular item is going to fit them. Having interactive, 3D images, accurate measurements and strong descriptions can give customers a better feel for the product they are buying. Having a clear, properly explained return policy will also give customers more confidence that this is a sensible purchase and can return the item if there is any issue.
#4: Customer Reviews
As the online shopper becomes more sophisticated, the usage of online customer reviews is becoming more and more important. However, this is not something you can simply manipulate in your favour by having your friends write fake reviews. It’s important to give real customers a platform to provide reviews online. In addition, it’s important to manage reviews from other sites, particularly if you’re given the chance to respond to negative reviews. Using powerful software platforms for customer relationship management (CRM) is also a good tool to use to manage reviews and stay in touch with what your customers are saying about your product/service.
#3: Shipping Service/Timeline
The biggest weakness in e-commerce compared to tradition brick and mortar retail is that you don’t get your product right after you pay for it. While customers understand it takes time for items to be shipped to them, the speed and service used to ship their items can be the difference between whether a customer checks out on your site or looks for another (or goes to the mall!). The first step is telling customers how long it will take before their item ships. Ideally, orders placed before 12pm that day will ship out same day. This is a huge comfort to customers and will help with conversions. Secondly, its important to describe which service you will be using, whether its expedited or ground, and the estimated days it will take in transit. Giving customers a specific date range of when their item will arrive is a huge benefit. Offering overnight or 2 day shipping options, even for an increased fee, is also a good way to make sure you get those customers who need their items quick!
#2: Loyalty Programs
Consumer behavior has proven the loyalty programs are effective in keeping customers coming back. Look no further than companies such as Starbucks, Subway and McDonalds to see that customers enjoy building “equity” on their purchases. First off, offer customers some kind of incentive on their first purchase. You have to ask yourself if it’s worth giving up 5-10% off on a customers first order if it means that they will become your customer moving forward. Second, start them on a loyalty plan immediately in a manner that is both appealing – through clever visual and branding techniques – and economical. To enhance the loyalty experience, email your customer every month or so (don’t over-email!) and let them how they are performing in their loyalty program. It will keep your customers engaged and have them coming back for more purchases over your competitors.
#1: Optimize Your Site for E-Commerce
The ease in which a customer can move through site is a critical piece of converting your e-commerce shoppers. Customers need to be able to browse, add to cart, and view cart in a smooth, intuitive manner. If customers run into issues adding or removing items from their carts, they might decide it’s not worth the hassle and abandon your site. Furthermore, don’t force all customers to go through a long registration process. While getting customer information is an advantage, you have to offer customers the chance to checkout as a guest. It will give them a quick option to checkout and ease their concerns about sharing personal information – which is very important to many customers.
Hopefully these tips will help turn those clicks into conversions! E-Commerce success is an art, not a science. Staying close to your customers and getting consumer feedback on your website experience will help ensure you continue to take the right steps towards maximizing your e-commerce sales!