We see how eCommerce opens doors to new customers and increased sales. However, eCommerce doesn’t make competing for online customers easy at all.
In fact, even when a customer heads to checkout, they will likely leave without making a purchase. To be fair, that’s the nature of the eCommerce beast, according to one research organization. Nearly 59% of US customers reported that over a three-month period they left shopping carts because they were simply browsing.
Meanwhile, 36% of customers in another survey report they abandoned checkout when they found a better price somewhere else.
Clearly, many of your potential customers will just be window shopping. But according to a report from Retail Systems Research, they slip away well before checkout. As RSR writes in a June analysis of eCommerce websites, consumers expect a seamless online and mobile experience with a good balance of imagery, and they don’t want to wait. And as other research suggests, the longer a page takes to load, the more likely a customer will run away. The conventional wisdom appears to be that every second of web latency results in a 7% decrease in sales conversion.
So, how can eCommerce businesses please their online customers?
Give Customers Real-Time Inventory
This is an eCommerce no-brainer. Customers simply expect accurate, up-to-date stock availability, regardless of the sales channel. Centralized inventory management makes it easy to accomplish this.
Balance Features with Speed
A lot of companies use third-party applications for eCommerce to enhance customer experience. These include chat features and embedded functions for sharing product information to social media platforms. However, as the RSR report (also discussed here) mentions, the more features you use, the longer it takes to build a page. Strike a balance between a feature-rich experience and a page that doesn’t lose a prospect.
Select Images More Carefully
An overabundance of images will also slow down web page load times. Again, in RSR’s recent analysis of retail eCommerce sites, pages in which images account for 50% or more of the content also took the longest to load. The lesson here: if you have a need for speed, choose your images with care. Don’t overload.
Make it Mobile
This is straightforward. More people own mobile phones. Consequently, more people use them to shop. At least half of online traffic to retail sites in the US come from smartphones. And regular smartphone purchases in one survey rose from 44% in 2016 to 48% this year. The very least an online retailer should do is to optimize their site for mobile users.
Keep the Line Moving
Make checkout as easy as possible for online customers to complete their purchases. Don’t require more information than at checkout than is absolutely necessary. Make the payments process clear and easy to understand, and allow for a variety of payment methods.
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