Is your brand digitally prepared for the festive period?
An increasing number of festive shoppers are heading to the internet to find the best deals, compare prices and find the best gifts before purchasing. It is becoming increasingly important for your online information to be easily accessible, clear, attention grabbing and provide mobile optimisation to compete with your competitors.
Around 92% of the population are internet users, that’s a staggering 59,717,200 people in the UK alone. In 2015, 77% of internet users bought at least one item online, which encouraged online sales to increase by 16.2% and it’s expected to grow a further 14.9% this year.
Despite nearly double the percentage of people exclusively using a smartphone rather than a desktop, there are nearly twice as many conversions on a desktop because websites do not provide effective mobile optimisation. Smartphone users will switch site if it doesn’t suit their needs (around 29%), this could be that they can’t find the information or the site is too slow.
The well-known company Walmart noticed this was as issue for them too. So, to combat this, they took off 4 seconds from their website load time and got a 2% increase in conversions.
So, as you can see it’s increasingly important to effectively provide mobile optimisation. But, what does it mean to have your website mobile friendly? Standard sites do not render well on mobile devices, so it is essential to make your site responsive, which means it will automatically adjust to fit on a smaller screen and format the content in a mobile friendly manner. This is done by:
- Larger and easier to read text.
- Mobile friendly navigation.
- Touch friendly buttons.
- Faster loading speed.
It is important to make sure that all your customers have positive interactions with your website regardless of the device they are using. It is also beneficial to use mobile optimisation to get better search rankings, as in 2015 Google started giving preference to sites that are mobile friendly. The better the experience that you can provide to your customers accessing your site on a mobile device, the more likely they will turn into new business.
It is relatively easy to check if your site is already optimised for mobile users by looking at your site from a mobile device and seeing if the content adapts to a smaller screen. Alternatively, Google have a Mobile-Friendly test which anyone can access and it will inform you how well your site is optimised.
Although around 68% of internet users buy at least one item a month online, it appears that around 39% of these users have abandoned their online basket at least once in the last month. Which means checkout optimisation is becoming increasingly important. Checkout optimisation will help you to streamline this process and provide a positive experience for your customers, in the hopes of reducing abandonment rates.
Some things that may deter customers from completing a sale may be either having to create an account at check out or there being too many forms to fill in, which means around 23% of people will abandon their basket and go elsewhere.
There are even more procedures which appear at checkout which can increase the number of people abandoning their site such as:
- Signing in
When asking your customers to sign in or create an account, you are creating an unnecessary barrier between them and the ultimate goal, buying your product. It adds more fields for people to fill out and prolongs the payment process. To make life easier for potential customers let them check out as a guest. It is possible to store a customer’s email address in your system and you will be able to recognize a returning customer, then offer them a quicker way to log in.
- Brand consistency
If your checkout page suddenly looks different from your main website, then customers will become very skeptical and may be reluctant to continue with their check out. From a branding perspective, you will want the same colors, fonts, and design on your checkout page as on the rest of your website, so you can raise brand recognition for your business.
- Progress bar
All checkouts look very different to one another. Most of them have a variety of different steps involved to complete checkout, but customers want to know how many steps it will take to get to the finish line. In some checkouts, there’s no indication when the customer gets started how many steps are involved. If the process is too long winded then customers may be put off from completing their purchase.
- Information required
When designing your checkout form you should take into consideration whether you are asking for relevant information to the order. Adding in extra information fields to your checkout process is unnecessary and prolongs the process. It is also important to make sure that your required information is in the correct order as it might not be relevant for you to ask customers for a delivery address before you have asked them how they would like to receive their order e.g. collection or delivery.
- Payment/ Delivery options
56% of online shoppers say they expect to have multiple options available at the checkout stage. It is beneficial to provide a variety of ways for your customers to pay such as Paypal, Android Pay, Direct Debit, coupons or even Finance options. Customers have also said that they like having options regarding receiving their order. You could consider the following options such as delivery, collection or click and collect.
- Deals/ Coupons
If customers are reluctant to pay your prices, then they will most probably start looking around for cheaper deals or will look for coupons that they can add to their order.
They would be less likely to leave your site to look for coupons if you resurface any deals, offers or coupons that you have available as they are checking out.
It’s very easy to mistype information while checking out. If there are errors on the form you will usually see an error message on the page. It is best to strategically place the error message to appear next to the incorrect field rather than having it appear at the top of the page and confusing customers.
- Payment security
58% of customers drop out of the checkout page due to concerns about payment security. You will want to have a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate for your website in order to provide a secure connection and encrypt credit card information. You will also want to comply with the standards of the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC). PCI compliance is enforced by payment card companies, while the council itself manages the security standards for anyone who stores, transmits, or processes cardholder data. You can then have these badges displayed on your checkout page to reassure customers that you are secure and will protect their payment details.
If you put these tips into effect on your website to increase checkout optimisation, then you should expect to see a reduction in the percentage of basket abandonments.
The final part of preparing for the online shoppers this holiday season, is understanding your customers and consumer behaviour. The first step is understanding online consumer behaviour in general, then specifically looking at your customers.
What you think to be the most important factor for your customers when shopping online, might not actually be true. 47% of consumers say the ability to easily search for and find products was most important to them, ranking higher than product ratings and reviews at 26%. The same percentage of consumers believe that customers only make two searches before leaving the website. So, it is important to make your website is providing accurate search results.
In general, more than 50% of holiday shoppers say they are open to purchasing from new retailers. And, more than three-quarters of them who generally go to the same physical stores, are very open to new retailers and brands online. Mobile devices make it easy to explore a variety of options. In fact, after searching on Google, 76% of mobile shoppers have changed their mind about which retailer or brand to purchase from. Online shoppers will compare prices, check reviews and pick the most seemingly trustworthy business.
Consumers aren’t always searching for a particular branded item, they’re searching for the general product that they have in mind. Does your website show up when people search for generic terms like “toys” or “computer”? By appearing in searches in moments when your brand is most relevant to a customer, a new customer can be won. Generally, online shoppers begin with a broad search and then adjust their criteria as they find which product they want specifically. To be better informed, shoppers repeatedly leave websites to learn more about products and pricing before continuing to purchase the item.
Looking at a combination of traffic from all sources such as referrals, paid searches and social media, most visits to the top 25 online retailers in the second quarter of 2016 came from Google with more than 1.1 billion visits. It is increasingly important to make sure that your website is making use of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), so that your brand appears high on Google rankings.
One of the most valuable things to do is to conduct market research on your existing customers, to analyse how they interact with your site. Things to take into consideration are:
- Are your customers landing on a relevant page to their search?
- How many pages are your customers visiting in one visit?
- What are the peak times of visits on your site?
- What pages are they visiting?
- Age of your customers.
- Gender of your customers.
Once you understand consumer behaviour and how your customers are using your website, you can then develop strategies to improve their experience. If customers are provided with a positive online experience, then they will be more likely to purchase.
To re-engage customers that have left your website, make sure that you’re using features like remarketing that can take previous shopping behaviors into account. That way, customers can easily find you again after they have decided specifically which product they like. Offering promotions influences 28% of consumers to spend more, 27% to buy from retailers they would not normally choose, and 25% to make purchases they would otherwise not have made. So, by offering deals/ promotions to prospective customers you can win them over, even those who might not have been inclined to shop with you in the first place.
Until next time,