(Image credit/Pixabay/Turnisu)Shogun has published the results from its survey of 2,000 US-based consumers who purchased online within the past six months. The research highlights consumers needs when shopping online and explores what consumers are missing the most from in-person shopping. Furthermore, how brands (direct-to-consumer in particular) can look to improve their customers’ online experience.

According to Shogun’s research, since the pandemic started 51% of Americans say they’re shopping online more than they did pre-pandemic. Even more promising for direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands: 42% plan to keep most of their shopping online after the pandemic ends. Shogan is a US-based eCommerce service provider.

Slow Sites and Poor Mobile Experience

According to the research many direct-to-consumer brands’ websites — and their digital marketing practices — need work. Overwhelmingly, shoppers cited some of the simplest things as the biggest turn-offs. This includes “sketchy” or not-secure-looking sites, unkept promises from ads-to-site, slow site load times, bad mobile experiences, and email spamming.

Across all annoyances, each of these issues were consistently more frustrating for baby boomers than for younger consumers. 47% of boomers (aged 56-74) said it’s a deal breaker if a website or app looks sketchy or unsafe. (They will no longer shop on this brand’s website), compared to Gen X 30%, Gen Z 29%, and millennials 20%.

Further, slow page load continues to be a big deal. A quarter of Americans expecting pages to load in a blazingly fast two seconds or less when shopping online. The older you get, the more of an issue speed becomes. 45% of boomers responded that it’s a deal breaker or very annoying for them if a website or app is slow to load. This compared to Gen X 44%, millennials 40%, and Gen Z 38%.

Brands vs retailers – who is to blame for poor experiences?

Rather than simply uncovering the main commerce grievances, Shogun wanted to find out where consumers were encountering them most often. Its research confirms that the majority of Americans experience shopping annoyances equally, whether shopping with major online retailers (Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and similar sites.) Or when buying directly from a brand. All deal-breaker issues were cited as more likely to appear when purchasing directly from a brand’s own website or app. As compared to from a major online retailer.

Those who suggested slow load times “very annoying” or “deal breaker,” 26% said typically encounter this issue when buying direct. While 14% attributed this issue to major retailers, with 60% saying they encounter the issue equally between the two experiences.

Steal online inspiration from in-store experiences

DTC brands can look to what consumers are missing from the bricks-and-mortar shopping experience due to COVID-19. Shogun’s research suggests 83% of Americans say they would risk contracting the virus to purchase something in-person rather than online. Even when the product’s available online and price and quality are equal.
What’s causing them to take the risk? Really, it’s often as simple as just seeing the product in person first.

Those who would risk their health for in-person experience, 52% said touching/examining products is what they enjoyed and missed. This was followed by walking around and browsing 49%, and trying on clothes, 44%. 18% say that they enjoy and missed interactions with staff and other shoppers. And for many, they miss a variety of the multi-sensory aspects.

Prioritise Speeding up your store

Ultimately, the survey results reveal several good, even low-hanging-fruit fixes brand can prioritise. This includes:

  • Have checkout remember customers’ information.
  • Ensure SSL certificates or secure HTTPS site delivery.
  • Showcase adequate reviews.
  • Make sure the website is smooth to navigate on mobile.
  • Make product listings as robust as possible (include reviews, rich merchandising, and a selection of high-quality photos with each product).
  • Stay in touch with customers with relevant offers. However, be careful your brand is not spamming them.

Bring in-person shopping elements online

The report suggests brands should consider non-traditional, elements you can be incorporated into the online shopping experience. Taking note of what people like about the in-person experience and trying to emulate those elements through your digital storefront.

For instance, people miss trying-on clothes in stores, some brands are using augmented reality (AR) functionality that mimics that experience. Other brands are using more photos and videos so shoppers get a better feel for their products. Shopify has a video editor that allows brands to make their videos more informational. New platforms like Bambuser make the whole shopping experience more personal through interactive live video.

Enterprise Times: What this means for business?

It is seriously surprising that speed and site performance still remains a challenge for retailers. It should be lesson 101 for any online retailers. If consumers are unable to buy from your store, then a brand will fail to generate revenues and lose out to competitors. Analysts have estimated that a one second delay can result in a 7% decrease in conversions. Hence why brands are increasingly turning to headless commerce progressive web apps (PWAs)

Overall, the customer insights around deal breakers (and what consumers miss about in-store experience) was interesting. The report reveals ways retailers can optimize to better meet expectations as a scaling DTC brand. Customer experience is the key driver to retail digital success. As eCommerce continues to surge, brands and retailers must keep storefronts focused on the details of customer needs and expectations. This can make all the difference to conversion rates and business success and failure.


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