People are living their lives online more so than ever before. From shopping, researching, dating, socializing, reading news, and staying connected to the world around them, online interconnectivity is now the new norm.
With so much activity taking place in the digital sphere, the goal of every e-commerce site is to capitalize on opportunities and convert online shoppers. However, what many fail to realize is that consumers don’t always head to an e-commerce site to purchase. It may be the end goal, but the first time they visit, they are browsing, researching, and comparing prices. In fact, according to recent research by Episerver, ninety-two percent of consumers visit a brand’s website for the first time to do something other than make a purchase.
Other key findings from the report include:
- Even when visiting a brand’s website or mobile app with the intent of purchasing, a third (32 percent) of consumers rarely or never make a purchase.
- Online shoppers list desktop computer(s) as their outright digital channel of choice, followed by smartphone(s) and tablet(s).
- Two-thirds of shoppers expect to make more online purchases in 2017 than they did in 2016. This will be more pronounced among shoppers who purchase every time they visit a brand’s website or mobile app with the intent of purchasing.
- Ninety-eight percent of shoppers have been dissuaded from completing a purchase because of incomplete or incorrect content, with a third (32 percent) of consumers being dissuaded every time.
- Over a third of shoppers (35 percent) feel brands do a poor or very poor job of customizing the online shopping experience, with just 7 percent believing that brands do this very well.
- Nearly two-thirds (59 percent) of shoppers are interested in personalization as a part of their online shopping experience, and 43 percent are open to personalized in-store experiences.
- Twenty-eight percent of shoppers chose personalized content as one of their top three contributors to a great digital user experience. One in 10 shoppers ranked it No. 1.
- Shoppers are more interested in brands tailoring content for coupons based on location (44 percent) and images (31 percent) than emerging technologies like virtual reality (7 percent) and augmented reality (6 percent).
- Twenty-one percent of shoppers are more likely to purchase again from brands that do more to personalize their digital experience than those that do not, and nearly the same number are more loyal (17 percent).
The big theme here is that consumers are looking for a personalized experience. Study after study like this one confirms that brands who take the time to understand their audiences and personalize the experience are the big winners when it comes to converting browsers into shoppers and shoppers into repeat customers.
Although 92% of consumers stated that they visit a brand’s website for the first time other than to make a purchase, brands should start personalizing the user experience from this very first visit. According to Episerver’s research, forty-five percent of shoppers are searching for a product/service, 26 percent are comparing prices or other variables between brands and 11 percent are looking for store details like hours, location and contact information.
Brands should focus on improving the experience with a well-designed website, a mobile-friendly design, easy-to-use checkout features, and rich and accurate content to navigate shoppers through the purchase process. Brands must be extra diligent to really understand their site visitors in order to provide the best experience possible and to encourage repeat visits.
Personalization is Key to Conversions
Over a third of shoppers (35 percent) feel brands do a poor or very poor job of personalizing the online shopping experience, with just 7 percent believing that brands do this very well. In fact, 7 percent of shoppers have left a brand’s website or mobile app without making a purchase because the digital content (videos, images, text, etc.) wasn’t personalized to them.
Nearly two-thirds (59 percent) of shoppers are interested in personalization as a part of their online shopping experience. So what are consumers looking for when it comes to personalization? When asked what makes a great digital user experience, 28 percent chose tailored content as one of their top three factors.
Consumers expect tailored content across a range of products and services. What is interesting is that they not only expect it for expensive purchases but for less expensive items as well. Over half (51 percent) of consumers desire relevant content when shopping for products or services within the $51-$100 price range, followed by $11-$50 and $101-$200 (42 percent). Just over a quarter of shoppers expect to see relevant content when shopping for expensive products ($500 or more), with twice as many consumers expecting relevant content for items $51-$100 compared to $501-$1,000.
The type of website content they would like personalized included shipping information (43 percent), product recommendations (37 percent), and product/service information (33 percent). They also want the website copy to be personalized including coupons based on location (44 percent), images (31 percent), and advertising (14 percent).
Data for Online Personalized Experiences
In order to know consumers this well, brands must use both their own internal data sets and third-party audience enhancement to understand what drives their customers and what types of experiences they desire.
Fifty-six percent of shoppers are open to brands knowing things about them to better tailor the online shopping experience, but consumers are also looking for more than personalization tactics that include basic name and contact information. They want brands to understand their purchase history, personal interests, and a wider range of demographics such as age and income.
Personalization is well worth the effort. Twenty-one percent of shoppers are more likely to purchase again from brands that do more to personalize their digital experience than those that do not, and seventeen percent are more loyal to brands that personalize.