A new survey of British consumers reveals a surprising fact about online shopping. While a growing number of consumers access websites with mobile devices, 7 out of 10 buyers pull the trigger on a purchase using a desktop or laptop device. 2 out of 3 consumers preferred using desktop or laptop computers to do shopping research. Nearly as many preferred to browse the Web using “traditional” technology.
Optimize for the customer experience
What does this mean for website operators? Should you optimize for mobile users? Desktop shoppers? The answer – not surprisingly – is that you should optimize the shopping experience for the customer. It doesn’t matter how your customers arrive at your door.
The survey showed that 3 out of 4 customers use a retailer’s website to research product purchases before coming to a brick-and-mortar location to buy. Retailers should focus on the entire customer experience, rather than guess how the customer will complete the transaction.
Two-thirds of survey respondents said that they complete a transaction in person because they prefer to see, touch or try the product before they make a purchase decision. Product interaction actually gives retailers an online advantage, provided that they truly “optimize” the customer’s online experience. By including important details about the product, smart retailers improve their online conversion rates. “Important details” include sizes, product dimensions, colors, photographs, content information and other detailed descriptors.
The customer experience is cross-platform
Optimizing for the customer experience means bringing this information to the customer on their preferred platform. Mobile device users want (and can manage) less information than desktop or laptop users can. By simplifying their website’s mobile experience while enriching their desktop experience, retailers can meet their customers where the customers are.
It’s important to acknowledge that customers want different things at different stages of the purchase process. Customers want easy navigation and speed while online – two things they may not value so highly while in-store. They want accurate representations of the products they’ve found online. For the customers who do purchase online, a simple checkout is their highest priority.
Online shopping may not produce the majority of a retailer’s sales, but that doesn’t mean the online experience isn’t as important. In fact, one-third of customers said that a single bad online experience would drive them away from a retailer, and 18% of respondents said that a bad online experience would cause them to avoid the retailer’s physical stores.
It’s clear that shopping is becoming a multi-channel experience, and the most successful retailers will optimize the customer experience across all possible access points. Online websites play a vital role in determining the customer’s impression of a retailer, and can affect their decision to visit (or bypass) the retailer’s physical location.
If you’d like more information about optimizing your website, please contact our Creative Director Dave Ramsell or give Dave a call at (330) 243-0651 to set up a consultation.
Photo Credit: Robert Noordzij, via FreeImages.com