For online businesses or retailers, the lazy days of summer often pose an unfortunate reality – one that traditionally includes less attention from consumers and slower sales both online and in-store. People are away on vacation and that means they are spending more time soaking up the sun versus browsing your inventory.
Just getting a customer to your site is challenging enough – not to mention getting them all the way through to check-out.
While summer is traditionally a more challenging time for brands – both online and in-store, it doesn’t have to be that way. Considering that Amazon reported record sales orders for this past Prime Day (a one-day only global shopping event for Amazon prime members held this year on July 12), that were triple what they were last year, it’s a great reminder that anticipating and addressing the unique needs of your customer — and offering them the right information at the right time along with added value — can go a long way.
But it doesn’t always have to involve huge sales or discounts.
According to a Forbes Insights Executive Survey, customers care so much about their online experience that 86% will pay more just for the privilege.
Here are 4 tips for delivering a richer experience this summer so you can catch online customers in the buying mood before they head off to sunnier pursuits.
Don’t get in their way
Much like they do when hopping on a plane to an exotic destination, consumers generally have an intention in mind when tapping their phones or clicking open their browser; whether it is shopping for an item or seeking information. At the onset of this process, the first question brands should be able to answer positively and with confidence is, “Does my site facilitate a smooth customer journey?” Customers want the journey to be quick, easy and fulfilling. Signposts at every stage of this journey should lead to the destination, a straight line from browsing to buying. The path of least resistance should be clear and reassuring.
Don’t adopt a one-size fits all approach to addressing customers’ needs
Take advantage of artificial intelligence technology to gain real-information about the individual customer. Most companies simply don’t see the value in investing in solutions like this for gathering insights about what a specific customer needs at just the right time. With access to real-time data that forecasts the customer’s intentions, however, brands can not only better understand the scenario in which the customer is browsing online, but they are able to offer specific resources, from instructional videos, to ebooks to other online information – in context. Without access to this type of data and the understanding of how to use it, you might find your conversion rates not getting much better.
Avoid the urge to collect extra data
We’ve all experienced it. You’re on an ecommerce site, trying to find your way around to exactly what you need and along pops-up the untimely ‘Rate our Website’ box. Although it may be helpful for an online business to collect this type of information right then and there, there are less risky ways of collecting this information. It’s just not worth it. Distractions can quickly change the attitude and confidence level of a goal-oriented customer.
Don’t cross the line between being helpful and annoying
If I am doing just fine on my journey, then I won’t be opposed to a virtual nudge in the background – I know you’re there if I need you to lend support. However, there is nothing worse for a customer who is doing just fine on their journey to have an uninvited, “can I help you” box disrupt the flow of their purchase. To add insult to injury, if the box is clicked in error rather than on its closing ‘x’ the customer is taken out of their journey to a place they never intended to go. It is crucial to allow your customer to stay the course along their journey – don’t take them out of the path they are currently following or the channel they are currently using.
It’s true that many companies fall short of guiding online customers along their journey – from beginning to end. In fact, according to a study done in 2010 by Genesys, Greenfield Online and Datamonitor/Ovum, enterprises in the U.S. lose an estimated $83 billion each year due to defections and abandoned purchases as a direct result of a poor experience.
Eliminating the pitfalls is all about keeping the individual customer and the journey in mind. Remember, if you push me off my path, I might just change my destination! Instead of interrupting the customer at a loss to the business, you’ll let the customer’s unique experience be your guide to greater profit.
Tara Sporrer is VP of Marketing for Moxie