- Episerver has produced a report outlining the best practices for digital commerce as outlined in a worldwide consumer research.
According to a a survey of 4,000 online shoppers in four global markets, retailers can rely on two online features to encourage holiday shoppers to stay and shop. Free shipping and easy-to-use product search.
Consumers make split-second decisions about whether to stay on a website or leave. Finding out that shipping was too expensive. Alternatively, not finding exactly what they were looking for are the top two reasons customers abandon a brand’s site or mobile app without making a purchase according to the study.
Digital commerce user behaviour
What this online shopping behaviour data from “Episerver’s A-Z Seasonal Rules” report suggests is that first and foremost consumers demand free shipping and will abandon their purchases if it is not available. Secondly, holiday shoppers want easy access to the products they are looking for via fast and relevant search options and, once again, will leave if they are frustrated by a product’s findability.
Ed Kennedy, Sr. Director of Commerce at Episerver said, “50 percent of online shoppers look at the product they came to the site for before anything else when using ecommerce websites.”
“Retailers and brands need to fine tune their search and navigation to help consumers get to the specific product category they have in mind. Retailers should streamline the process with on-site search optimisation. They also need to simplify navigation structure and present popular categories across the website.”
Online shoppers will also look for more information to trust the site they are on and gauge whether the product is a good choice. This is particularly important for new website visitors, as there is no context in which to trust the company. Consequently, any element of a web page, from top to bottom, that seems “off” will send them packing.
The report suggests, inaccurate or incomplete content, often dissuades 46 percent of shoppers from completing online purchases. It is insights and advice like these that make up the holiday rulebook with real-world examples throughout.
Other key lessons from Episerver’s analysis of global consumers’ online shopping habits include:
Adding content within digital commerce
Nine percent of consumers visit a brand’s website for the first time to find inspiration. The research suggest that holiday shoppers buy as much for themselves as they do others. Retailers can quickly develop guides that both complement gift giving and self-giving. The “guides” can be in the form of product pairings on a product page, a navigation option on a website that leads to product search results and/or an email campaign with selected items.
Images worth a thousand words
Regardless of device, 67 percent of consumers count images, as the most important type of content when purchasing a product on a brand’s website or mobile app. Providing multiple image types (lifestyle, still) and views is an important way to increase conversions and reduce returns since expectations are more likely to be met.
Be nice. Customers may not come
25 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase again from brands that do more to personalise their digital experience than those that do not. Brands that have a history with customers need to leverage that information to personalise marketing efforts.
Speed up slow sites
48 percent of consumers believe a fast website is a must-have feature for ecommerce sites. This was the third most popular choice after free shipping and easy-to-use search functions. A site that requires visitors to wait while it loads doesn’t inspire trust for holiday shoppers, and retailers should look for ways to speed up their web pages.
“Episerver A-Z Seasonal Rules” report is based on a survey of over 4,000 consumers who have shopped online within the last year. Respondents came from US, UK, Germany and the Nordics countries – Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway.
What this means for retailers
With Black Friday and Christmas holiday seasons on the horizon, businesses have to pay attention to the relationship customers have with their digital commerce real estate.
Online Commerce no longer means making a purchase, but rather encompasses the entire journey from research to final sale. This modern definition of commerce includes activities like inspiration seeking, problem solving, product discovery, product research, product comparison and more. Shopping today is just as much about the experience as it is about the purchase – maybe even more so. Businesses have opportunities to bend these experiences in their favour, but only if they can look beyond transactions. Paying too much attention to conversions blinds brands from other powerful engagement opportunities that exist throughout the entire online customer journey.
As a result, there are a number of ways to improve user experience in order to increase conversions. This report lays out 26 examples of doing so as told by consumers themselves with their survey responses.