3 Digital Cleaning Tips for E-Commerce Retailers
Summer is well underway. In recent weeks, everyone has pulled out their lawn furniture, heated up their grills and dusted off those pool floats that haven’t been used since last year. As with any seasonal change, many likely find some items they no longer need and do a bit of cleaning.
However, seasonal cleaning doesn’t only apply to families tidying up their homes. Now is the perfect time for retailers to take advantage of the season and do a bit of their own “digital cleaning” to overhaul any ineffective practices in preparation for the holidays. Cleaning up now will enable businesses to set themselves up for fruitful summer, fall and holiday shopping seasons, complete with increased conversion and customer retention. Here are a few tips to get started.
1. Make sure the customer experience is user friendly. Today’s shoppers are constantly on the go, and it can be difficult for retailers to hold their attention for very long. Therefore, retailers need to make sure the customer experience is user friendly, enabling transactions to occur before losing potential customers to their short attention spans.
One way to make the customer experience user friendly is to clean up your website and optimize it to fit the screen of any device. Whether a consumer is browsing your website on a mobile device, tablet or desktop, it needs to be responsive and set to work on each to create a richer shopping experience.
While design and style are important factors, presentation should never impact the usability of the site. Customers want to easily and quickly find product they're looking for, confirm it's right for them, and ultimately make a purchase. Retailers can do this by providing cleaner images, easier search functions and mobile-friendly payments.
For example, outdoor apparel and gear retailer Moosejaw tapped its customers to drive its mobile and website redesign. After receiving feedback from shoppers that the website wasn't mobile friendly, Moosejaw overhauled its site to make it more responsive, which ultimately increased conversion rates by 31 percent vs. the old website.
2. Continue the mobile build out. Mobile is quickly becoming the preferred method of shopping for today’s connected consumers. In fact, some retailers now generate almost 50 percent of sales from mobile, and mobile shopping shows no signs of slowing down. Furthermore, purchases on smartphones are predicted to overtake tablet sales in the next year. Therefore, in addition to creating responsive websites, retailers should place an emphasis on improving the overall mobile customer experience.
Retailers can do this by giving consumers the option to choose between shopping on a mobile-friendly website or doing so directly within a branded app. Some shoppers — especially those who frequent a particular brand often — prefer to shop in a retailer's app. On average, mobile shopping apps convert at a rate 3.7 times greater than mobile browsers and 1.6 times greater than desktop websites. Why? Apps frequently offer a more engaging customer experience than retail websites — e.g., push notifications when an item in a user’s shopping cart is on sale.
3. Align omnichannel operations for the busy shopper. Consumers want flexibility and convenience or they'll shop elsewhere. They have endless shopping options at their fingertips, literally and figuratively. The demand for convenience includes allowing customers to buy products how they want and when they want. This is shown by retailers’ increased focus on omnichannel options. By offering capabilities such as in-store pickup or same-day delivery, shoppers can customize their experience on your site to fit their personal needs.
One retailer in particular that has embraced the omnichannel experience is Wal-Mart. The retailer's e-grocery shopping store and pickup service is growing in usage at a rate of 25 percent each month. Using this service, customers can order and receive groceries on the same day or place groceries in their cart and pick them up at a nearby Wal-Mart store. By catering to customers who desire an omnichannel shopping experience, retailers can grow sales and loyalty.
Now is a better time than ever for retailers to clean up their digital customer experience. In doing so, they can get all the dirty work out of the way before the busy holiday shopping season gets underway in a few months. Creating the best customer experience across channels can help retailers attract new customers, build long-term loyalty and increase conversion rates.
Bobbi Leach is the CEO of FuturePay, a payment option provider that lets customers buy now and pay later without a credit card.
Related story: The Forecast for E-Commerce