To say Australia has been a little slow on the uptake, when it comes to Ecommerce, is an understatement- especially when it comes to taking advantage of retail’s biggest annual opportunity, Christmas.
While December 2013 saw record online sales in the UK, making up just under 19% of all non-food sales, and US online sales jumping by a whopping 37% the weekend before Christmas, Australia’s retailers generated less than 2% of their Christmas sales online.
In fact, while most international retailers would have balked at an outage during this critical time, Myer bosses shrugged off last year’s Boxing Day downtime, claiming that online sales are “still a small part of the overall business”.
But, with more than 50% of Australians reportedly shopping online today, Australian retailers that continue to ignore the importance of Ecommerce are missing a very real revenue opportunity.
So, with only days to go until the Boxing Day bonanza, here are some simple tips for improving your customers’ online shopping experience:
Make checkout a breeze
1. Provide a guest checkout
2. Don’t punish your guest checkout customer
Provide the ability for guests to track and get order status just as you would for a registered customer.
3. Don’t make a purchaser jump through too many hoops
Aim for no more than four steps at checkout.
4. Do everything you can to emphasise the security of the transaction
Display SSL (secure sockets layer) certificates, security badges and BBB certification links to encourage customer trust.
5. Know how your customers are paying
Are they using a credit card? A debit card? PayPal? By adding more flexibility to how a customer pays, you might be able to land more transactions.
Empower your Ecommerce experience
1. Engage in a consistent dialogue across channels
Even as you optimise for different platforms and devices, make sure that your voice and look remain consistent.
2. Guide the shopper with contextual offers at exactly the right time
A well-timed, personalised offer can translate into an instant cross-sell or upsell.
3. Prompt their route with suggested next steps
A gentle nudge here or there can help reduce cart abandonment.
4. Identify and overcome customer interaction challenges
This applies particularly to user generated content. If a loyal customer writes a negative review of your product, how will you engage, if at all? Know your engagement strategy and stick to it.
5. Understand customer experience at an individual and segment level
Who is the individual customer, and how has he or she engaged with you in the past? What does he or she have in common with other customers? The more quickly and accurately you can answer those questions, the better you’ll be at effective personalisation.
6. Regularly test and refine offers and promotions
With more targeted offers, you can attract and engage more shoppers across more channels.
For more practical tips to help improve your customers’ online shopping experience, from what product information to display to encouraging happy customers to spread the word.
Robert Holliday - VP Enablement Service - Greater Asia, Sitecore
As VP Enablement Service - Greater Asia at Sitecore, Robert is charged with driving strategy in collaboration with the local senior management teams responsible for Sales, Marketing, Customers and Alliances. Robert works closely with corporate and regional offices to implement and localise the global strategy to grow the business and ensure customer success with Sitecore's leading customer engagement platform.