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The future of retail is still strong, but different.

The future of retail is still strong, but different.

Driving your customers online.

We are all hearing that retail outlets are not performing as well as they have been and the advent of online shopping is growing. There’s no doubt that there are two attracting forces at work that are accelerating online purchasing.

1) A push for retailers to reduce cost

2) Consumers drive towards convenience

Both are extremely powerful forces that combined with demographic movement, are continuing to change the way consumers embark on purchasing and they are doing so at an alarming rate. That said, competition and ease of access to thousands of brands and hundreds of retailers, means that despite the online market growth, gaining market share or share of wallet is challenging.

Attracting new visitors to your website is often the primary focus of your marketing activity and consumes a disproportionate percentage of your marketing budget. However, visitors only become purchasers if they get what they want and that’s often the most arduous of problems to wrestle with.

It’s all about mobile first.

It’s important to understand the world is moving towards mobile first touch approach. By that I mean that  75% of UK consumers own a smartphone and as such by 2019 mobile advertising will represent 72% of all digital marketing spend. In 2015 48% of Mobile users start their search with a search engine with only 33% using a branded website. We cannot ignore the move towards mobile and I know that this is not new news, but if you consider that whilst mobile is fast becoming the dominant start of an online journey it may not always be the place where the visitor converts into a customer. A report last year suggests that in the first quarter of 2016 only 1.3% of ecommerce purchases were made on a smartphone.

The customer journey is more important than ever.

There are many different reasons why people are less likely to convert on a mobile device:

  • Screen size makes it difficult to enter personal details – We all have “big thumb” syndrome and it’s not always easy to enter credit card details on the train or bus.
  • Value of purchase determines comfort of commitment – There aren’t many of us that would buy a sofa or LCD TV on a mobile device.
  • People feel safer on a larger device – It’s not just getting your credit card out in a public place but psychologically many of us feel less secure providing credit card information on a phone. I am sure as it becomes more familiar it will create less resistance.

The above reasons will vary by age, gender, and product type but until people feel more comfortable with these you will have to consider the customer journey as being across devices rather than just on say a desktop or on a mobile.

 

Optimising for cross device customer journeys

Make it easy for customers to share their details across devices.

This is easier said than done I know, but psychologists say that people will part with their data if they believe that there is a benefit / reward for them doing so. When customers first make a purchase on a desktop device, provide a valid reason as to why they should register as opposed to checking out as a guest. This could be a discount on delivery or free returns, anything that is perceived as valuable. Send them confirmation via email that confirms their offer with a persistent cookie that allows them to be “seen” on further visits.

Ask to save credit card details

When someone completes a purchasing funnel on a desktop prompt them to save their credit card details. When they subsequently visit on a mobile device they can check out more easily by just entering their CVC number. An alternative is to use Paypal or Google autocomplete which helps speed up the process and allows use of credit cards across all sites.

Add a “complete later” link on a desktop link at the checkout.

Most companies may already be providing a “abandoned basket” email, and these are often sent 24 hours later. With this link I suggest adding a box to say when they want to be reminded, allowing them to set a time when it’s appropriate. It’s all about retaining context so when the email does come through make sure you add a picture or pictures of what is in their basket so it stimulates the same emotions as the original decision to put the items into the basket in the first place.

Encourage movement to a desktop

This is very similar to the above but items may not have been placed in the basket. By using exit intent banners that capture the details of the pages they were on during their mobile session a “Remind me later” message that sends an email with those details which can be opened on a desktop at a later time.

Use your analytics to determine where your customer journey’s fail.

Only by understanding what happens along your existing customer journeys will you be able to determine where you need to reduce friction. Using analytics and optimisation testing will help you to improve the speed and efficiencies as well as device hand over.

We all know that the future is mobile but whilst they mobile is important it’s not where many customer journeys end. So think Mobile first but keep an eye on where they convert and plan your customer experience accordingly.

 

 

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