Simple, But Not Easy: Converting D2C Sales
Amazon’s key leadership principle is “Customer Obsession” and it shows. They set the standard for how marketplaces should be set up to create the optimal purchase experience, and others continue to follow suit with similar developments in areas such as advertising, loyalty, and content. Just like in any marketplace, D2C websites have the same goal of converting a purchase once consumers arrive on the site. So it makes sense that best practices can be replicated across any eCommerce channel type.
In a Thought Leadership paper in late February, my colleagues introduced the four pillars of digital transformation: Convenience, Seamlessness, Personalization, and Technology. While it pertained to c-stores, that paper made me realize the breadth of the situation: these pillars represent the ideals consumers seek in any purchase experience, and the tools that help enhance those experiences.
Even before the pandemic, 97% of consumers admitted to backing out of a purchase due to inconvenience. When it comes to convenience, brands must take on the perspective of the customer and ask key questions to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their current purchase experience:
- Can I easily find what I am looking for?
- Do I have all the information I need to make a confident purchase?
- How quickly can I complete my purchase?
- Can I use my preferred payment/delivery methods?
- How quickly will I receive my product?
By focusing on rich and accurate product content, search and filtering capabilities, and variety in payment and shipping options, brands can establish a solid foundation for a convenient purchase experience. Just as one example, Apple Pay has helped brands increase conversions by as much as 250% since can be implemented with ease.
In addition to convenience, customers want a seamless experience. Brands need to consider the multichannel shopping journey, since 73% of consumers use more than one channel during their shopping journeys. And while digitally native brands must focus on customer interaction across many digital channels, retailers and D2C brands with a physical footprint must also consider the seamless integration of digital and physical. Over 50% of adult shoppers use Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) offerings, and two out of every three of those BOPIS users add more to their cart when they know they can pick it up immediately. Therefore, brands can improve the customer experience by creating a fluid multi-channel journey while they also increase their average basket value.
Personalization joins convenience and seamlessness to provide the optimal purchase experience (assuming the price is right). Simply put, consumers want content and product suggestions relevant to their interests. An overwhelming 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who provide relevant product recommendations. 47% of consumers will even check Amazon if the brand doesn’t provide sufficient product suggestions. In other words, when they fail to get that personalized experience, consumers go where they know the suggestions will be logical. It cannot be overstated — the collection of first-party customer data is of utmost importance in providing the most personalized experience. Brands who are successful at collecting consumer data are able to more effectively leverage the rich profiles of each customer by utilizing tools that craft individualized experiences. They employ technology to win customers by creating a sense of belonging.
Lastly, technology is instrumental as it acts chiefly as an enabler for the other pillars. For example, convenience is enabled through secure and easy payment technologies and predictive search. Robust order management systems allow brands to show stock levels of physical stores and enable BOPIS capabilities. Personalization and testing solutions integrate with CRM tools and other customer data sources to advise which experience each individual sees. An entire industry has been built around Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) so brands can leverage analytics, test improvements to their websites and continually improve the experience for consumers. Technology, in countless forms, is both the current and future conductor of eCommerce innovation.
The recipe is simple but not easy. Brands must discover how to best leverage their unique competitive advantages and existing technology to create the optimal purchase experiences for their customers. They must take lessons from the best and apply their own touch, delivering a unique and valuable offering capable of converting sales at a high rate and creating lifetime customers.
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