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Owning an online store seems very profitable as e-commerce sales are exploding. An increasing number of consumers are shopping online. In 2019, over 1.92 Billion consumers worldwide bought goods and services online. Surely just reading this statistic, you might have begun thinking that e-commerce stores are a cash cow.
With half the population purchasing products and services online, it has to be good news for e-commerce stores, right?
Well, it is not that simple as this has lead to an increase in choices for consumers. And getting their attention and driving traffic to your site has become a herculean task!
Moreover, the e-commerce business is very dynamic as consumer behavior is always changing. The store has to update its strategies along with consumer behavior. Before learning about how to influence the customer’s purchase journey, let’s understand their buying behavior.
What is Buying Behavior?
Buying behavior consists of a consumer’s approach, objective and their decisions when shopping for a product.
E-commerce Customer Shopping Behavior Steps
The customer already has a few brands in their brain, either consciously or subconsciously from social media and ads. These advertisements hold a lot of significance when a customer is carrying out an ‘impulse buy’.
Consumers are bombarded with photons of advertisements from their social media feeds. It has been revealed that on any given day consumers are exposed to more than 5000 ads! So, the consumer has to evaluate which of these brands will provide a better experience. The majority of consumers trust online reviews of their fellow consumers. Often they even ask their family and friends for their opinions.
Moment of Purchase
This is the most crucial part of the purchase journey. The average cart abandonment rate lies at 67.91%. Even a site with the most optimized checkout rate has a cart abandonment rate of 20%.
Experience after Purchase
The most vital thing, ‘word-of-mouth’ marketing, that all the brands desire, transpires from this phase. Unfortunately for the brands, if the experience is negative then, there are no advertisements that can overcome it. While on the other side, if the consumer has a positive experience, they enter a loyalty loop.
So, now the million-dollar question arises – how can you influence the buying behavior of your customers that will increase your traffic and ultimately the conversion rate?
Here are a few ways you can influence your customer’s purchase journey
Eliminating the element of Uncertainty
Imagine you are considering buying a pair of prescription glasses online – you will have a million questions! Whether or not they will look good on you, how well the glasses will fit, and more!
Questions like these create uncertainty which results in consumers leaving the site. But many online retailers have found a way to solve them. Some of these sites have a feature like ‘3D try on’, where through a web camera, the website can scan the consumer’s face and the consumer can virtually see how the glasses would look on them!
Similarly, for sizes, certain e-commerce stores use the customer feedback form, who has purchased the same product, to eliminate the uncertainty that a consumer is having about the size.
Such uncertainties also arise after making a purchase. Usually, you get a notification with the day that your product or package is arriving on. Imagine if you could check the exact minute of your product’s ETA! Some companies have begun using AI technology that can predict the exact minute when your product will reach its destination. Consumers appreciate these features that eliminate uncertainties.
Mobile Sites that make Purchasing Tedious!
The check-out duration of some mobile sites is so lengthy that consumers often leave their carts abandoned! We have already seen this statistic earlier in this article. Customers are bound to leave the site if they have already decided what they desire and the checking-out is taking longer than necessary.
From registering the first time a customer visits your store, to the process of returning an unwanted product – each one of these processes should be optimized as much as possible.
These sites also include abjectly designed sites that make the customer waste their time! It is not mandatory that your site has top-notch quality graphics or a fancy theme. A simple theme with a quick check-out duration site will outperform any site with high-resolution graphics and images with the sleep-inducing checkout process.
Customers remember a brand that offers pliancy. Customers feel relieved when they know that a product can be returned hassle-free if it is not up to their satisfaction.
Features like, providing a subscription feature for certain regularly bought products and offering a discount on them.
Offering them with multiple payment options is another way to go. Some sites are even providing payment gateways like Lazypay and Klarna. Such payment gateways offer customers an option to pay later or pay in installments as per their arrangements. By offering them such choices, the customers can choose an option that is financially more convenient for them.
Include User-Generated Content
User-Generated Content (UGC) can influence purchase in a way that no other feature can! The concept is simple, “Content by the people, for the people ”. This includes review posts, videos, blogs, and testimonials.
Stores often encourage customers to buy their products and post pictures or videos, on social media outlets, of them, using those products with specific hashtags.
Such content gives potential customers to observe the experience that they could have if they buy the product. And studies suggest that stores have a substantial increase in conversion rates when their customers interact with user-generated content. User-generated content can even cause harm in case the product does not satisfy the need of a customer. Hence, it is imperative that consumers are delivered products on time and in the expected condition.
Personalize the Relationship With The Customer
This can be as simple as emailing your customers a special coupon code just for their birthday! Stores can also notify a customer about the availability of a product they viewed which was out of stock at the time.
Sometimes an impulse to buy something is generated just by a message or a notification, like, one of the most viewed products is available on a discount. Such notifications and messages touch base with their customers every two weeks, influence the customers more and generate more traffic. Hence, such personal notifications hold a lot of importance.
Strategies mentioned in this article can touch and influence customers before, during and even after their purchase journey is complete. With precise methodologies and consumer-driven tactics, online merchants can subtly get customer insights and thus they can influence consumer’s purchase journeys.
But, as CHANGE is the only constant, e-commerce strategies need to develop with time.
No doubts that the consumers can still be affected by the right strategic plans. But retailers sometimes will have to think beyond the conventional approaches. They will need to evolve in order to keep up with modern consumer behavior and their needs. Just by understanding their point of view and their pattern, retailers can influence consumers at the right place and time.