An e-commerce site gets three types of traffic:
- Customers who will definitely buy
- Customers who will definitely not buy
- Customers that can be influenced to buy
If you want to increase your conversion rate and revenue, focusing on the customers who have already made up their mind is a mistake.
You don’t want to invest time, money, or effort into the customers who can’t afford your product or are only there to browse but don’t have any real intention of buying. It’s a waste. You also don’t want to waste additional resources convincing a shopper to buy what they will already buy regardless of your effort.
Instead, you should invest in the customers who may buy from your...or your competitor. These are the people you can influence. Eventually they will buy that thing they are looking for, so shouldn’t it be from you?
Let’s take a look at the reasons your customers will buy from your competitor and what you can do to change their mind while they are on your site.
#1 You’re Not Giving the Customer Enough Information
If all the stars align, a customer will buy online.
That should be the quip e-commerce professionals use to explain the magical moment when a customer has all the information they need to complete a purchase on your e-commerce site; or when the customer would have bought from you if they had just one more piece of information.
There’s only so much space on a computer or mobile screen. You have to fit in the important parts like product images, descriptions, reviews, and an add-to-cart button. After that there’s sizing information, customization options, the brand logo, the website menu, and hopefully payment security badges, and so much more. Pretty quick, the page is full.
Stuffing a webpage with EVERYTHING is going to make the design crowded, overwhelming, and unattractive. But there’s still a lot of information that plenty of customers will need to before they will be comfortable buying.
Even if you have the information on the site, if the customer doesn’t find where it is, it’s as if it isn’t there at all. And when customers don’t have all the information they need, they will go somewhere else.
Your Opportunity: Rather than cluttering your e-commerce site with too much information or not having enough information available, find ways to target specific shoppers with specific information. Machine learning technology is able to detect patterns in shopping behavior that indicate what information they need. This can be used to ensure customers have enough information and keeps your web design from being cluttered.
#2 The Customer Is Researching Online and Buying Offline
Many shoppers exhibit ROBO behavior. No—this isn’t robotic behavior—it’s researching online and buying offline behavior.
Shoppers want to be armed with information and understand the details of competing products, why they are distinct and what qualities fit their needs best. They also want to compare prices and read product reviews. Shopping online makes it easy to get this information and compare different products and different stores.
But even though e-commerce is increasing in popularity and consumers are becoming more comfortable with online shopping, it’s still normal to want to physically see and touch a product before committing to it.
Online, shoppers have access to more information about a product. But offline, shoppers tend to find confidence in a product just by seeing it with their own eyes, touching it, and talking to a real person about it. And sometimes, the customer doesn’t want to wait for delivery. Shopping online can cut down the time it takes to decide what to get and where to get it from. Shopping offline can cut down the time it takes to acquire an item.
Your Opportunity: While shoppers are on your site researching a product, you still have a chance to influence them. It might be that they need reassurance about an in-store return policy, reminded of a quick delivery option, or informed about limited time offer that is too good to pass up.
When you identify a ROBO shopper, target them with information that can convince them its more convenient to buy online after all.
#3 Mobile Shopping Isn’t Optimized for Mobile Context
2018 is going to be the year mobile shopping really takes off. In 2017 many retailers saw their mobile traffic surpass desktop, especially during Black Friday. With traffic increasing, retailers should prioritize optimizing their mobile e-commerce apps and sites.
As it stands, mobile traffic has just a third of the conversion rate of desktop traffic does! Why? There’s no clear consensus except that we haven’t quite cracked the code on why mobile shoppers are so much less likely to buy.
It could be any of these reasons, a combination of them, or something else entirely:
- Mobile shopping is a pass time, like playing a game, and shoppers don’t have intent to buy
- The user interface (UI) is difficult to navigate, causing shoppers to abandon cart
- Mobile shoppers may discover what they want to buy on their smartphone, but choose to wait until they are on desktop on in a store to purchase
- Mobile shoppers are really just looking up product information while they shop in brick-and-mortar stores
- Mobile shoppers don’t want to deal with the hassle of inputting payment and shipping information on a small screen keyboard
- Mobile shoppers, limited by screen size, are not exposed to influential information
- Mobile shoppers do more shopping and research before buying
What we do know is that mobile e-commerce traffic is on the rise which gives retailers a big opportunity to win or lose sales.
Your Opportunity: A native app or mobile website is a great place to acquire mind share and promote your brand. However, if you want the sale, you’ll need to optimize your site for the context of mobile shoppers. The challenge is to understand the context of why mobile shoppers are shopping so that you can influence them to buy.
#4 The Customer Took the Path of Least Resistance
Some e-commerce transactions are easy, and others are cumbersome.
When buying is made easy, it's like a slide. It's fun, it's quick, and before they know it, a package is in the mail. While some transactions have abrupt stops in the way, like having to exit a pop-up, click through multiple pages, or fill out long forms. In this case, it’s more like a dangerous set of stairs or at best, a slide that has awkward angles.
With all else being equal, the customer is going to buy on the path of least resistance.
Looking at the e-commerce leader, Amazon, we can see there are user experience (UX) features in place to remove any barriers that could tempt a customer to buy elsewhere.
Take for example the one-click purchase button. With just one click, customers can skip all forms and complete their purchase. Amazon not only made it easy for the customer, it also removed the chance to decide against a purchase.
Then there’s the two-day and sometimes even same-day shipping options. It's easy to justify waiting one or two days for an item rather than several weeks. If a product takes a few weeks to arrive, the customer might as well stop at a store on their way home from work.
Your Opportunity: If your competitors have a simpler checkout process, you have two options. First, you can rebuild your checkout process to make it easier on the customer. And second, you can compete on other terms like price or quality.
#5 Your Competitor Has a Better Strategy
The final reason your online shoppers will buy from your competitor is simple: you’re not competing. For an e-commerce business to be successful, there needs to be a diligent effort to stay competitive on factors like price and quality, but that’s not all.
E-commerce has incredible opportunities to be innovative. Every page visit, click, scroll and purchase generates data that can fuel competitive strategies. Slowly but surely, your competitors are adopting technology to gain better insights from their data and target customers with more accuracy.
Your Opportunity: Your online customers will buy from you if you are serving them better. To do this, you need to understand who they are, what they want, and how you can help them. The companies that choose to stay on top of the latest technology and design better customer experiences will ultimately win.
Find out how machine learning can easily increase e-commerce revenue.