As a greater percentage of the global economy moves online, merchants and retailers are increasingly interested in how to best appeal to online shoppers. As such, quite a bit of market research has gone into analyzing consumer behavior online for the purpose of optimizing e-commerce storefronts and shopping experiences that are consistent across channels. Customer profiling, advanced personalization and targeting, and offering a better service through smart retargeting when the e-commerce experience fails, can make an important difference.
Obviously, the websites of retailers are important as well since they are the places where most marketing activities come together. A new report looked at what online shoppers expect from e-commerce websites as well as what they feel is lacking at the moment.
While shoppers are mostly satisfied with the general experience provided by major online retailers, there are some areas which could definitely use some improvement. The most common response to the survey was that the majority of e-commerce sites could stand to invest more time in fleshing out their product descriptions and summaries. This obviously makes sense, because online shoppers can't physically hold a product and field test it to see if it will live up to their expectations. When it comes to product descriptions, longer descriptions that are detailed and include a full rundown of the relevant numbers related to the product are always better.
Facilitating online shoppers to find what they seek
Another common consumer complaint that came through loud and clear is that product search on many websites is inadequate. A site-optimized solution to return more relevant results is always better, as results will be focused on helping the customer find what they're looking for faster. There still is a lot of work to do for online retailers to offer a valuable shopping experience. That seems to be the main takeaway from the report.
When using a solution such as Selligent Interactive Marketing, as several online retailers do (check out the Neckermann.com case study), you can improve the shopping experience by offering a cross-channel personalization that takes into account transactional and behavioral data. It allows a more relevant and rich shopping journey (e.g. by connecting with the product catalog, sending triggered emails according to pre-defined events in the buying cycle, linking with offline etc.)
More and more, consumers expect a hybrid buying experience that melds e-commerce with in-store sales. They want a consistency across channels.
The bottom line is that customers' preferences are changing as the technology they use to research their options and make purchasing decisions evolves. With the advent of new channels and shopping possibilities through mobile devices and other emerging technologies, offering a consistent and personalized shopping experience across channels will become even more important.
A hybrid buying experience starts with a hybrid pre-buying journey that involves multiple channels and touch points. Integrating it all is key to improve online sales.
Communication channels depend on the consumer and marketing is about engaging the cross-channel customer and prospect throughout integrated dialogues that are driven by his/her buying journey, preferences, triggers, signals and behaviour.
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