Every year, retail employees are tasked with learning and selling seasonal items along with brand staples to provide the best experience possible for consumers. Believe it or not, customer service will be the defining key to sales this holiday season. One crucial element of customer service is trust. If a consumer doesn't trust a brand and its products, they're unlikely to make a purchase. It's critical for sales associates and brands to present shoppers with knowledgeable insights that aid in the purchasing process to earn trust.
Your homepage sets the stage for the overall site experience. The goal of your homepage is to give the shopper a compass to direct them through the site and to the right products for them. Shoppers that click through a product recommendation on the homepage are 20 percent more likely to convert than shoppers that don't. Here are four tips for getting those coveted clicks on your homepage:
Retailers are already collecting various data sets such as customer data, competitive data, social data, online behavioral data and offline data to tailor product selections, determine pricing and timing of price markdowns, and even provide online product recommendations. While this is a step in the right direction, retailers are still faced with numerous challenges when it comes to fully leveraging their data to make real-time decisions that can produce additional revenue and/or cost savings.
In 1949 the average grocery store stocked 3,700 products. Today, the average supermarket has 45,000 products, while stores like Wal-Mart stock 100,000 products. When it comes to options, consumers have every size, shape, color and price for every product imaginable. On top of that, you can go online to find millions more. Combine this new shopping environment, dubbed “consumer hyperchoice,” with busier schedules and the demise of the educated sales force and it makes for a stressful purchasing process for consumers.
It's widely agreed that increasing the lifetime value of customers increases profits. It's less expensive and more effective to increase current customer loyalty than attract new customers. Behavioral targeting can promote loyalty by giving your best customers a personalized shopping experience, exhibiting you know their likes, dislikes, wants and needs. Retailers who aren't currently offering this personalized experience are missing a significant opportunity to grow online sales. The prime place to exhibit this knowledge and draw customers back to your site is the homepage.
It's widely known that customer reviews can boost trust and credibility, as well as drive significant improvements to conversion rates and search rankings. Just as well known is the challenge of actually getting customers to provide feedback and reviews. Feedback is often difficult to come by and, in most cases, isn't representative of a retailer’s entire customer base. Here are some of the current challenges retailers face in gathering feedback, as well as insight into the direction customer feedback is heading in 2012.
With Forrester Research estimating that U.S. online retail sales will grow at a 10 percent annual growth rate from 2010 to 2015, reaching $279 billion, retailers have become laser-focused on creating and maintaining customer loyalty and improving the online shopping experience. However, as the online shopping habits of consumers evolve, so too must retailers’ strategies to ensure the most customized online shopping experience. Here are three strategies that online retailers can implement to improve the customer shopping experience:
Cart abandonment is a sensitive topic for almost every online retailer. Many companies and universities are conducting research on the data behind abandonment to find what ultimately causes consumers to place an item in their cart and then leave a retailer’s website before executing a purchase. Forrester Research finds that roughly 38 percent of all shopping carts are abandoned, while other data sources put that figure as high as 70 percent.