Over the past decade, retail giants like Amazon have set the bar incredibly high when it comes to on-platform user experience, attractive cost, and fast delivery. As a result, customer preferences are becoming increasingly sophisticated and their expectations when dealing with an online retailer are at an all time high.
(Unless you are Zara, of course)…
While user behavior had shifted massively in favor of embracing online shopping during Covid, this exponential growth is not here to stay, with some retailers are already seeing a downward trend in traffic.
So, in an uncertain market filled with a myriad of potential hurdles, what are the key factors brands need to work on to win (or win back) their customers online?
Focus on customer loyalty
If rising customer expectations are not met, chances are they will run as fast as possible towards the competition. Most industries now offer a plethora of options to choose from, and consumers aren’t shy. And it’s not just a question of cost: studies have shown that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience.
In such a competitive landscape, lower churn and higher customer lifetime value are key indicators of retailer success. Brands need to work hard to better understand who their customers are, what their barriers to purchase are, and ultimately predict how customers will behave in the future.
tools like Resolution Digital Cockpit allow brands to better understand what their customers are looking for, including what content to optimize on the site, which can help improve overall customer retention by improving the customer experience each time they return to your site.
Get a Good Ecommerce Attribution
Data is the be-all and end-all for modern marketers, and while there has been a lot of progress over the past few years in the e-commerce space, attribution remains a sore point.
For retailers, this puts a crucial focus on the ability to track the consumer’s buying journey across channels and for each shopper. If you’re a brand selling on Coles or Woolworths and running a product awareness campaign on your site or social media, how can you reliably link a sale on a retailer’s site to someone? someone who has seen your advertisements? In other words, how can brands gauge their media effectiveness across the entire eCommerce ecosystem?
Whereas retailer partnerships with Flybuys (the Australian loyalty program) facilitating first-party data acquisition and audience segmentation, we are still a long way from transparent attribution modeling for retail e-commerce.
Resolution Digital Attribution Model can provide an omnichannel view of the entire buying cycle and an understanding of how different marketing channels work together, including accurate attribution of revenue and return on ad spend (ROAS).
Mobile UX should never be an afterthought
While most retail conversions still happen on desktop devices, mobile is the preferred device for users in the consideration phase when researching products. Retailers should ensure that the mobile experience is at least on par with their desktop experience and that navigation between devices is as easy as possible.
With 63% of Google searches conducted on mobile, search is a key part of the overall mobile experience. Tools like Flightdeck allow brands to create the ideal experience by helping SEO, CRO, content, and e-comm teams identify growth areas in organic search results, owned assets, and e-commerce platforms.
Look to Category Innovators for answers
Quick commerce companies such as MilkRun, Voly and DoorDash depend on their good reputation even more than “traditional” retailers. For this reason, they generally provide a much more transparent and accurate experience for customers.
These companies can accurately predict product recommendations, narrow down pain points in the journey, and invest heavily in technology to optimize efficiency (read: speed) and profitability.
Often the best experience can be found with little-known Australian brands (which I may or may not have found through my Instagram feed). These brands are just emerging, but nonetheless understand the value of a great customer experience and aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo and try new things.
Retailers would do well to learn all they can from these category innovators, who are quickly becoming serious competitors for even the biggest retail brands.
Ultimately, if the choice comes down to finding cost savings or providing a better on-site experience, brands should always prioritize the latter. Review sites, social media, and word of mouth are all powerful forces to be reckoned with. In a hypercompetitive landscape, retailers can’t afford to take the wrong direction.