ECommerce has become the primary source of purchasing for brands ten-fold with the pandemic. This is a habit, that by the time Covid-19 is under control will likely maintain its importance with direct to consumer brands, even more than it was prior.
There are plenty of articles on how to draw higher conversions, but a lot of these seem to focus on hacks and tricks rather than bringing long term value and trust to your customers. Opting for sustained conversions is a far better strategy to ensure longevity in the ecommerce universe, but also to ensure you’re keeping your customers happy too.
These are the 8 main elements to consider to give your customers what they need, didn’t know they needed and also how to make their buying pathways on your website more worthwhile.
Search and filtering seems like an obvious one - but search is now far more than having a search bar alone. With many third party integrations, you can make search and filtering so intuitive the customer won’t know what hit them. Typo tolerance, Synonyms, Query suggestions, recommendations - smart search is the best way to add a little extra to your eCommerce store.
When it comes to filtering, having plenty of variables that showcase accurate results is key - think beyond the standard and give the power to your customers so they don’t simply click through pages of product, becoming overwhelmed with choice.
Important considerations to filtering should consist of size, colour, style, material, type - but think about what else is relevant to your product offering and prioritise.
Personalisation is important to help the customer understand your brand, and also feel as if you as a brand can give them what they’re looking for - not only with the product but also with the experience. Integrated and smart merchandising is one of the best things you can do to ensure your customer has seen the most valuable options for them.
Then there’s the little things, incorporating their name in their account and cart, having personal copy and and understanding them as a customer based on past orders.
This is not something that should be obtrusive, like upselling on bulk marketplaces can be, but instead have it be helpful. Offering genuinely similar or complementary products in key touch points throughout the search and buying flows.
When shopping online you can’t feel, demo or try the product you're purchasing. So it’s essential to ensure maximum amount of product information to give customers a realistic idea. This can be something as simple as accurate and specific size guides for clothing (model measurements and size also help a lot with this) or product demos seeded into your product pages. Showcasing how to use the product, put it together or giving it a more three dimensional context within the site. Imagery is also key, the more clear images that show off your product the better.
One of the largest purchase hindering occurrences for any eCommerce site is load times. If your site doesn’t uptake quickly, load new products fast and showcase imagery efficiently - then you’re doing yourself a major disservice. One of the easiest ways to speed things up is by using a CDN. A CDN stores a cached version of your website content in multiple geographical locations. That way users from anywhere can load your content quickly, and effectively, regardless of where your website is hosted.
Shopping online has increased with Covid-19, but naturally so have returns. You of course do not want customers to return, but having an easy process is only going to increase the likelihood of them shopping with you again. A seamless delivery and returns process is key if you’re trying to enhance the online experience and compete with brick and mortar alternatives. The fact is a customer is buying something they likely haven’t seen or felt in person, and they may realise it isn’t suited to their needs. Something simple as pre-printing a return label or having a stress-free return policy integrated into the customers account are all important in giving the customer a feeling of trust overall. Same goes for delivery fulfillment, make sure you trust the shopping provider and give the customer as much information and transparency on this process as you can.
If you do have a brick and mortar store, this is a great and flexible option that means the customer can collect their item in a time that suits them. This isn’t always practical, as it depends on the size of your store and the demand - but it could be something to consider to give the customer more choice. If executed well, it can be streamlined and efficient and leave everyone satisfied.
Value your return customers and increase their likelihood of continuing to choose you with loyalty programmes. It doesn’t need to be excessive, but free products, or discounts when spending over certain amounts helps a customer feel valued and that they’re getting something extra for the money they’re spending as well. Discounts on birthdays, or collecting credits that convert to a dollar value - there are plenty of ways to exercise this method tastefully and continue to give your customers a little something extra.
It's no longer enough to only give back to the customer, but research shows that stores with a more altruistic approach are trending, and brands that care are dominating. Offering things like offsetting carbon, green delivery options or give back schemes are now more important than ever for customers. Especially if you leverage developing markets from your business, giving customers options to support them further or find out more about what you as a brand are doing in this space. Of course that being said the key here is follow through, and it shouldn’t be something that is used as marketing, but a representation of your brand values in action.