Technology has made a massive impact on our daily lives, and nowhere is this more apparent than how we shop. Over the past six years, ecommerce has seen its market share almost double as people embrace the speed and convenience of shopping online. Unfortunately, convenience for shoppers doesn’t always benefit retailers.
It’s important to understand how trends and technologies impact your business so you can pinpoint areas of improvement, and the move towards streamlining the shopping experience is one you can’t ignore. When it comes to convenience, there are elements that are cart fillers and elements that are cart killers. Here are a few killers and fillers for you to consider as you map out your strategies for 2017.
Shoppers have more options
Today, customers can shop how, when, or where they want. Shoppers don’t even need to leave their homes to buy what they need – everything’s available online. But with greater accessibility also comes greater competition for retailers.
Cart Filler: Your customers can shop anywhere, anytime
Ecommerce lets retailers access customers where they want to shop. When retailers only sell through brick-and-mortar stores, their sales are limited by their hours of operation or location. But by selling online, business hours are all day, every day. And with advancements in smartphones, customers can now shop where ever – on a bus, in an airport, or on the walk home from work. The increase in accessibility has allowed businesses to make sales they normally wouldn’t capture with an offline-only experience.
Cart Killer: More options lead to less loyalty
Online, shoppers are presented with thousands of retailers, many of which offer similar products. With so many options, customers browse stores for the best deals and brand loyalty has taken a backseat to price and accessibility. A report by Nielson found that for online retailers, only 13% of shoppers in North America are completely loyal to a brand. Instead of staying loyal to brands, over a third of customers are abandoning their carts for better prices elsewhere. Customers have the power to decide where they want to shop and aren’t afraid to try new retailers that offer competitive prices.
Browse and shop in the blink of an eye
Before ecommerce, people would head to their local stores to shop. Getting all the items on your list could take a few hours, between getting to and from the retailer and actually shopping. Today, this experience is so fast that you can now shop in just a few minutes.
Cart Filler: Your customers can buy in a fraction of the time
Many shoppers are moving online because of its speed. By selling online, retailers are giving customers the freedom to shop at their own pace. Even if customers have little time to spare, they can still complete their shopping with the click of a button. Amazon took this literally with their creation of the Dash button. With Dash, customers can reorder their favorite products simply by pushing a button. What’s faster than pushing one button to shop? The faster shoppers can complete their purchases, the happier they’ll be.
Cart Killer: Fast just isn’t fast enough for customers
When ecommerce first emerged, slow speeds weren’t a huge deterring factor. But as shopping has gotten faster, customers’ expectations for speed have grown. In fact, Google found that load times that are just half a second longer can result in a 20% drop in traffic. Furthermore, checkout speed isn’t meeting expectations either with over one-quarter of customers abandoning their carts because the process is too long or complicated. As businesses continue to speed up the shopping experience, customers’ expectations will grow in tandem.
Products delivered to your doorstep
Instead of being limited to locals, online retailers can sell products to customers anywhere in the world. While this opens up a world of possibilities, shipping and its related costs can impact your conversion rate.
Cart Filler: Access to more shoppers
Thanks to the development of the internet and search engines like Google, shoppers around the world now have access to millions of products at their fingertips – all which can be delivered to their doorsteps. No longer constrained by city limits, ecommerce allows retailers to amplify their reach and find customers in previously unattainable markets. Especially important for retailers with niche products, online shopping opens up the market potential of every business and gives retailers the ability to bring their products to their customers.
Cart Killer: Customers are getting hit with unexpected shipping costs
Although delivering goods to your customers’ doorsteps is convenient, sometimes they are caught off-guard by the cost of shipping. When people shop at physical stores, the only other additional cost at checkout is tax. But online, customers can get hit with large shipping costs just as they’re about to pay. More than half of online shoppers abandon their carts because the cost of shipping was more than they anticipated. It’s important for retailers to balance their customers’ need for fast delivery with the cost of shipping that gets passed on to shoppers.
If there’s one thing that you can count on in ecommerce, it’s change. But by embracing emerging trends and considering how new innovations will impact your business, you’ll be able to position your store for success.