Google recently conducted some important research into shopping habits of Australians in 2020-2021. We all know its been a period of unprecedented change in online adoption. What's interesting and instructive in this research is to see where consumers find the experience better offline vs online, and what we should focus on to get more eCommerce Sales.
What Consumers Value about the Online Shopping Experience
It's pretty clear that the ability to discover new products, compare them with each other, and check out product reviews is viewed as a major plus for online shopping. Perhaps more surprising is the value placed on being able to choose how to pay. Most point of sales systems can accept a variety of payment services, but retailers are still getting to grips with things like Paypal, Amazon Pay, and all the buy-now-pay-later options available.
Key Take Aways: Consumers actively want to see reviews (social proof) and expect to select their preferred payment option, to make sure you give them what they want!
What Consumers Still Prefer to Experience in-Store Rather Than Online
According to this research, as online service providers, we're guilty of letting our customers down in 3 key areas.
First – Service. I've said for many years that service IS sales! 39% of people believe they get better service in-store than online, and more people prefer the ongoing customer support (after purchase) in store as well!
This is crazy to me, yet so so easy to fix!
Step 1: Train a VA on our products, and make sure you're offering second to none refund / return guarantees for those times where actual product support can't help.
Step 2: Implement a site chat widget. I can tell you for sure that you will get better conversion, leading to more eCommerce sales if you offer live chat support. Remember, this is an opportunity to help the customer, but actually make more sales too! Also – make sure you have a phone number right at the top of your header. I can't tell you how many sales I've made after a phone conversation, or perhaps just as powerfully, how many negative reviews I've avoided just by being accessible.
Second – Ability to get the product quickly. OK, this is more difficult – we all know how hard its been to get reliable and fast product delivery in the past year. You hear horror stories of parcels getting ‘stuck' in delivery loops (especially in Melbourne) for weeks on end.
But you CAN take action. For example, if margins allow, take a bit of a hit & offer free or low cost expedited shipping. Investigate some back up courier services.
If you've already achieved some good scale, it could also be worth splitting fulfilment centres so you can deliver to the major metropolitans more quickly.
Lastly – consumers struggle to understand exactly what they've buying. How big is it? What will it look like on me? What does it feel like? These are all common questions.
Fixing your product page copy is a start, but the absolute best way to answer these kind of detailed questions is with product images and video. Think carefully about the questions your customers might ask themselves.
Selling luggage and bags? Show how easy it is to carry or wheel along. How much you can fit in it?
Selling bikinis? Show what it looks like with various body-type models. How will it look wet, as well as dry? Use pictures of your avatar doing various activities while wearing it.
Basically – do everything you can to show, rather than tell, what life would be like once they have your product. If you do that, you'll have gone a long way to closing the experience gap with in-store purchasing and get more eCommerce sales as a result!