Knowing consumers and their shopping habits is the key to making any e-commerce venture a success. There are many factors that influence the behavior of customers, some of which are things we don’t usually expect. Getting a firm grasp on the consumer psychology allows to reformulate our strategies in running an online store and boost the most important consumer-oriented aspects of our website in order to achieve two basic goals: to effectuate the customer’s purchase and to attract the consumer enough to make them visit our shop again in the future.
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It goes without saying that one of the most important aspects of an online shop is its layout – the visual presentation of the store is, after all, the first thing seen by a potential customer. A clear and pleasant layout is crucial, as shown in a recent study that demonstrates the striking figure of 92.6% of customers who claim the visuals to be a top influential factor affecting their purchase decision.
There’s also the so-called 3 seconds test – if after spending 3 seconds on your website, the consumer is still not sure what it is that you’re selling, your venture is bound to suffer. If that’s not enough, try this: offering alternative images and multiple product views can lead to as much as 58% of increase in sales. Mind you, having great layout filled with large, high quality images is not going to work if your products are not exactly what they look like – a quarter of consumers returns products bought on the web for this precise reason.
It’s not only the layout and photos that have a great influence over customer purchase decisions – surely we can’t forget about videos. Around a third of customers admits to having been influenced by a video when buying a product and over a half of consumers declared to feel much more confident about the product after seeing it on a video. It’s true that videos, as opposed to photos, offer much less possibility for amplifying the look of our products, but investing in a top-notch visual presentation that renders them highly appealing while still realistic, can do wonders for the performance of our e-store.
Example product page: photos from different angles, product description, video and a review. (bicyclesonline.com.au)
Let’s put aside the question of the website itself for a moment to see who it is exactly that makes purchases at our store. The customer profile varies accordingly with the kind of online shop we’re talking about, but as demonstrated in a recent study conducted by Experian Simmons, drawing from a pool of almost 5000 online shoppers:
• more than two thirds of online customers are located within 24-54 age bracket,
• almost 80% of people who shop online have a degree,
• not surprisingly, as much as 59.1% are women,
• 61% of consumers get the information about products in other online sources before starting to shop.
Having this information in mind, we can apply it to various aspects of our shop – starting with a precise description of our product expected by customers with higher education and finishing with the right positioning of our e-store in the search engines.
Probably every online store owner knows the pain of purchase abandonment – the moment when we see our statistics that show how many people decided at the last second against buying at our shop can be staggering. This is not unusual, as 24 different studies conducted on the subject have shown a striking figure of an average 67.89% of purchase abandonment rate. That’s more than two thirds of our customers! What we can and should do is understand what reason stands behind the fact that customers suddenly change their mind about their purchase.
• 41% of customers cites hidden charges at the checkout,
• one third complains about having to register before checking out,
• as much as 10% mentions the length of the checkout process as an off-putting factor, but that’s something we can all work on.
Clear and short checkout process (meldsfashion.com.au)
As far as the checkout process is concerned, it needs to be simple and clear. Providing visible ‘Proceed’ buttons will facilitate the progress of the purchase and adding a ‘Back’ button can greatly help the customer who wishes to apply some changes to his order. It’s a great idea to display stages of the checkout process so the consumer knows how far he’s into it – remember that more than 5 steps might turn out to be too long for an average client. The checkout page should also be simple and clear in order to avoid some unnecessary dispersion of our customers’ attention.
Making sure that our website looks professional and credible is the first step to making any e-commerce a success. In order to maintain this success, it’s necessary to monitor new findings and studies made in the area of online shopping, which is after all a new kind of activity and the trends in e-commerce nay change very rapidly.