Attention may be the currency of the Web. However, it alone does not translate into action. People spend more time online, visit more Web pages, and click on more links than ever before, yet all this isn’t necessarily leading to more transactions.
Today, a Web or in store visit from a mobile user is almost certainly less likely to convert into a purchase just from a click. Brand tweets are seen by ten times as many people, yet they are only half as likely to get clicked on as they used to be.
While attention online seems to go up fast, the amount of interaction it leads to is not increasing at the same rate. Browsing doesn’t equate action,
and action doesn’t scale as quickly as browsing.
This is why designing experiences that support what your customers are trying to do is more important than ever. Starting with an understanding of who buys from you and tailoring your approach to their needs.
Bridging online, in-store, and on-the-go experiences also requires a shift in mindset. Retailers with a traditional website with a mobile version need to shift to develop a product that is responsive across screens, speaks to the market in real time, and is adaptive. The solution needs to learn from the people who use it.
Translating your brand messaging and user experience across screens
An increasing number of people are using up to five different devices and can spend up to one week researching and price-comparing before making a purchase in many product categories – beauty and fashion being one of them. Pre-purchase research is conducted on brand and retailers’ Web sites in about equal percentages, followed by recommendations and reviews on social sites to glean information on product performance.
With more options available, buyers are more open to choices and (potentially) less loyal to brands than they used to be.
Many U.S. consumers have come to rely on their smartphones to assist with their in-store shopping, looking to make sure they are purchasing the right product at the best available price. Mobile is, in fact, the new store end cap.
This behavior is putting significant economic pressure on retailers with physical operations. According to a recent comScore report#, the retail industry is being disrupted as eCommerce grows at a 4x rate faster than traditional retail, while accounting for 1 out of 10 retail dollars.
So the best vantage point to uncover opportunities to translate your brand message into a compelling experience in an omni-channel environment is by placing the customer at the center. As high-speed mobile connectivity becomes the norm, long-term survival for retailers is dependent upon a strong a combination of content and data.
Whether she’s researching, shopping, buying, picking up or returning an item, or seeking service, a single view of the customer will help personalize her experience in store, on the desktop, or on the go based upon her preferences and purchase history.
In store is the new digital frontier
Customer profiles and loyalty accounts allow retailers to gain insights into what delights her, the make or break moments, as well as how data can help deliver better experiences tailored to her needs as she researches, evaluates products, and shops.
Bridging online and physical locations creates a very powerful value proposition for shoppers who are used to viewing and sharing information across devices, at home, and on the go.
Customers are the driving force behind the increasing need for retailers to integrate digital tools and technologies. The good news for brands with physical stores is that while online has surpassed offline when it comes to researching products, the traditional store still retains primacy for completing the purchase.
According to a recent survey by Forrester#, the modern shopper uses multiple channels to research products and cares more than ever about value and savings.
While the store’s physical location and Web site were ranked equally helpful to fill this need, the store is still king when it comes to closing the sale. Retailers should use digital to drive customers to the store and improve the in-store experience.
While customers use smartphones when on the go to access location-based and coupon applications, as well as document and share what they see and experience, these platforms still play a minor role in product research and conversion.
The traditional store still retains a strong appeal for shopping, particularly for beauty products, and categories like apparel and footwear. Digital displays, sales associates with iPads, and kiosks to check inventory and access coupons and rewards have proven to generate a positive impact on customers while in brick- and-mortar locations.
- Start by assessing user needs – how are people researching your products? Where and from which devices does your site get the most traffic?
- Develop and utilize personas – who are your customers? What are they trying to do?
- Create experience themes that tie to your customers’ desire for self-expression and their sense of identity.
- Help them take center stage by encouraging frictionless and easy actions through design and content - online, on their mobile phones, and in store.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.