1. Persistent cart
Having a “persistent cart” ensures that products added to a customer’s shopping basket from one device are seen when accessing your site from another. This serves as a reminder of previous activity when customers revisit the site and also saves them the hassle of searching for their desired items all over again, thus encouraging them to complete the transaction.
2. Single view of stock
Providing clear fulfilment information on site outlining stock availability, delivery options, costs and times removes any ambiguity. Integrating real-time stock information onto your site also serves to further inform customers and in some cases, can encourage a purchase as customers will act to avoid missing out on a popular product. Click & Collect is often favoured because today’s customer wants convenient, low cost delivery options. Knowing where your stock is at all times and displaying the information on site prevents disappointment and ultimately, a bad customer experience.
3. Innovative delivery methods
Click & Collect is moving from an added bonus to a hygiene factor for multichannel retailers. This option is beneficial for retailers as customers are essentially doing most of the delivery work. Use delivery to make a brand statement. Harvey Nichols, for example, introduced Click & Try earlier this year, which allows customers to try on ordered items in store with a style advisor. Value retailers must also consider Click & Collect for its ease of use and effect on building customer loyalty. However, to keep costs low, or if you struggle for shop floor space, consider initially deploying Click & Collect at petrol or train stations.
4. Easy returns
All retailers must recognise that as the online and high street shopping landscapes merge, those who fail to provide an easy returns experience will most certainly lose out. In fact, recent research by Ampersand found that 26% of the top 100 online retailers are failing to provide free returns. Optimising fulfilment services has become a key differentiator this year and those who are making it easy to buy and return are best placed to compete.
5. Single view of customer
Analysing consumer interactions both online and in-store provides retailers with a new level of insight into shopping habits, therefore allowing them to market with a near-precise level of accuracy. In addition, data has shown again and again that customers who interact with a brand on more than one channel are more valuable and loyal than their single channel counterparts. If you can track interactions accurately across channels, then you are halfway to creating cross-channel experiences that convert to sales.
Whilst consumers appreciate personalised, targeted marketing, retailers must be aware that excessive retargeting or in-store targeting using iBeacons, for example, can be perceived as invasive. Customer data must be used cleverly to deliver relevance and value without coming across as annoying.
7. Optimising for mobile
Customers are now shopping across a number of devices – including mobile phones, desktops and tablets – so retailers must recognise the importance of making the purchase journey work seamlessly across multiple devices. Having a mobile-optimised site is becoming vital for retail competitiveness, particularly as mobile payments come into the mainstream and consumers become more comfortable using their smartphone to checkout online.
Clear pricing information early on in the online shopping journey is also important for a good customer experience. Serving customers with information about payment types relevant to their territory, including a selection of currencies, shipping, tax and possible customs costs, ensures that consumers are informed early on and not hit with unplanned costs during checkout.
9. Customer experience
Customer loyalty is something all retailers are vying for and this is becoming increasingly difficult. As a result, retailers need to address and serve customer expectations as much as possible, offering things like free and easy returns, persistent cart and additional payment options, such as accepting American Express cards at checkout.
10. Social integration
On-site social media integration enables customers to share favourites with family and friends or indicate coveted items across networks, driving traffic and increasing brand awareness and loyalty. Encouraging and integrating live social media feeds also encourages interaction.