One positive to have come out of 2020 is the fast-tracked digital transformation of retailers, and the quick adoption of consumers. As many parts of Australia were locked down in April, over 200,000 consumers began shopping online for the first time. Now over 1 million more people are shopping online each week compared with the average in 2019 – a trend that’s expected to continue.
First time shoppers may be hesitant, reluctant, and a little bit anxious. Retailers need to understand their concerns, and plan their customer journey accordingly. Here are some quick tips to help you help our newest disciples!
We are seeing more adoption across generations to online shopping …
Make your products easy to find; ensure your product categorisation / taxonomy is correct and easy to navigate. This will help consumers filter down your product catalogue to the exact item they’re after.
Showpo does an amazing job with their product categorization. Take a Top for instance; they have 11 ‘Tops Style’ and 14 ‘Colours’! Categories include CAMI’S & TANK TOPS, KNIT TOPS, FLORAL STOPS, LONG SLEEVE TOPS and more. On the Category Page, we can see the model wearing the top, name, price and available sizes. Clicking through to the Product Page, we see available colours, sizes, description and no fewer than 8 product shots.
Give them a product experience that rivals an in-store experience.
Words need to substitute senses when buying online; even more so for first time shoppers. Retailers need to put consumers’ minds at ease by ensuring product descriptions are accurate, robust and compelling.
Product reviews are also a fantastic way to help guide the consumer through their buying journey. Whether it be reviews on product quality, sizing, usage, etc. User Generated Content (USG) is a win win. 75% of shoppers turn to reviews as their first stop for help with buying decisions, and Bizarrevoice reports that when shoppers engaged with reviews on best-in-class sites, they saw a 138% lift in conversion in 2019.
Ensure your returns policy is visible and generous!
Relieve some of the anxiety of first time shoppers by letting them know that if they make a mistake or the product doesn’t live up to their expectations, they can return it. According to UPS, 68% of shoppers check a website’s return and exchange policy before making a purchase, and a negative returns experience can deter a consumer shopping with you again. Ensure your returns policy is easily found (your website’s footer is the standard place), clear and straightforward.
In these uncertain times, generous return periods with contactless return options are essential. Not only will they help first time online shoppers mitigate the risk they envisage, but help with brand advocacy and repeat business.
Offer delivery options
Put the power into the consumer’s hand by offering delivery options. 53% of Aussies would pay extra for a quicker delivery service, and 71% of us have made a conscious decision not to purchase something online because of the limited shipping options available.
Offering delivery options that fit into first time shopper’s life will help them over the line. Be sure to be clear on delivery timeframes (especially in the current environment) and keep communication delivery updates every step of the way.
A frictionless checkout experience will help first time shoppers through the final step of their journey. A one-page, distraction-less checkout will keep the shopper focused on the task at hand. A great checkout experience contains:
Quick loading pages; we don’t want our newbies worrying that there is an issue! Forms should also pre-populate as much as possible to keep the process moving forward
Help if needed. Live chat, or clear contact information is essential. This will also reinforce trust.
The digital transformation is here to stay. Consumers and retailers alike are navigating this new world; testing, learning, tweaking along the way. Successful retailers are listening to the concerns of their customers, and pivoting their business practices to accommodate.