eCommerce solution is pivotal to delivering positive online shopping experience
People have been shopping online for the greater part of two decades now, and they expect the online shopping experience to evolve alongside the eCommerce technology they use to power their online shopping sprees. For the most part, retailers have done a good job of keeping up with these expectations, with significant improvements in everything from the way orders are tracked to actual frontend website design.
Building an online shopping experience that satisfies the needs of customers
However, merchants can’t rest on their laurels: With people increasingly shopping online, the bar for the retail experience is being raised higher and higher.
In an industry as competitive as the retail space, merchants always need to be improving eCommerce operations to stay ahead of the pack, and that often starts by delivering a truly immersive online shopping experience.
A recent study conducted by Baynote and the e-tailing group noted the importance of a streamlined shopping experience to customers. Three-quarters of respondents said being able to quickly and easily find items in an online store is incredibly important to them, and 68 percent also believe product pages need to include strong copy, imagery and user-generated content (such as reviews), as well as superb functionality.
People are not only buying more items online – they are also turning to digital storefronts to conduct research. For example, 63 percent of respondents told Baynote they used a smartphone to research a store prior to making a purchase, while 76 percent used a tablet. Additionally, 64 percent of customers used online stores to check for product availability before going in-store.
For retailers, the key takeaway should be that online stores aren’t just a place for customers to buy anymore. They are part of the shopping experience, and different people have a variety of expectations of what the ideal online experience should be. Some want the online shopping experience to be social, with product reviews or easy sharing with friends, while others want it to be utilitarian, serving as a research tool. Of course, still others just want to quickly log on to a website and make a purchase. Whatever the intent of the customer, not having an eCommerce solution that can deliver this functionality will have a negative impact on customer satisfaction.
“Shopper expectations are at an all-time high,” said Lauren Freedman, president, the e-tailing group. “This puts incredible pressure on retailers to not only keep pace with rapidly evolving technologies but also to ensure their eCommerce solution is available in an easy-to-access, simple-to-use format.
The truly successful companies will see this as an incredible opportunity – one that allows them to ‘wow’ customers while continually gaining greater insights into their desires for more effective targeting.”
The right eCommerce solution will create an online shopping experience that ‘wows’ customers
There is no secret recipe that enables retailers to design the perfect shopping experience; it’s a task that will require retailers to be progressive in evaluating their customers and discovering what they want. What works well for one retailer may not be as effective for another.
However, if there is one overarching commonality between most successful merchants, it’s the ability to quickly and seamlessly process information from a variety of different retail platforms and channels. Whether it’s brick-and-mortar and online retail or simply different online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, merchants must be able to consolidate their eCommerce operations across the board. This will allow them to quickly process orders, shift inventory between channels to avoid running out and learn more about their customers.
In an era where customers are engaging retailers in a variety of different ways, it’s growing increasingly important for merchants to be able to keep up with consumers at every step of the way. The right eCommerce solution, such as SalesWarp, can be a major benefit in that regard. With comScore reporting 10 percent year-over-year growth for eCommerce spending in the 2013 holiday season, it should be apparent that merchants need to craft a seamless online experience.