With the Covid-19 pandemic all but halting in-person shopping experiences during lockdown, the rise of e-commerce has only accelerated. Ordering a product on Amazon has now become second nature to large swaths of the population, with the number of Prime subscriptions in the UK increasing from 15 million in 2019 to 19 million in 2022; up 30%.
The smartphone is the new showcase. Only 17% of consumers browse with the intention to buy from the leading e-commerce site, it is therefore necessary to ensure that your experience leaves a strong impression, while building recognition and desire. When that same customer picks up their smartphone, turns on their laptop, or walks into a brick-and-mortar store, they’ve got an itch they’re ready to scratch.
Five principles to boost your online experience
- Speed sells
If a website does not load quickly, users will simply go elsewhere. There is a clear relationship between load time and revenue; as page load time increases from 1 to 5 seconds, the likelihood of customers abandoning the site increases by 90%. Even a 100 millisecond delay in loading time can hurt conversion by up to 7%
- knowledge is power
Understanding what your customers are really looking for makes it easier to serve them the most relevant content. This can be done by tracking search terms and using heatmaps; understanding intent allows for better product placement and the most effective prioritization of help topics. Don’t forget to ask for feedback too!
- Significant adjacency
Personalization of post-click pages is vital, when so much traffic arrives via online advertisements. According to Wordstream, an online advertising agency, 65% of e-commerce traffic from customers who intend to buy comes from pay-per-click (PPC) ads. A much higher conversion rate is achieved when ad or search related products are displayed. For example, when you click on a social media advertisement with particular images or color combinations, a link to those products or related articles. Personalized ad pages can achieve a conversion rate of almost 20%, according to Instapage. A 4x increase in the typical 5% Google Adwords PPC conversion rate.
When brands offer a wide range of products, site navigation should be simple and intuitive. This can mean custom site listings and categories by intent or logical categorization of products based on usage. Product suggestions can also be made through related activities. For example, encouraging customers to take barbecue charcoal once they have burgers and buns in their basket, or sunscreen with Pimm’s; all items from different product categories, but which match in a customer’s mind.
- Brand resonance
The online experience should be consistent across all touchpoints; the look and feel should reflect the purpose of the brand and trigger the same emotion and familiarity that makes a brand meaningfully different. Having strong assets increases your brand visibility (the ability to come to mind quickly) by 52% and results in a more valuable brand.7*.
Companies should use stories and content that connect to the brand narrative, reinforcing and imprinting the brand in long-term memories. This also extends to curating products displayed on product listing pages. For example, working with a sportswear brand, we observed that the product listing pages contained a multitude of different product types from different style ranges, unrelated to each other, with limited adaptation to searching or selecting categories. Searching for “retro sports” can yield everything from cutting-edge (retro?) collaborations to neon (sport?) running shoes. It can be great if it inspires a meaningful connection with alternative products, but it shouldn’t diminish or confuse brand perceptions.
Meaningful difference was a key talking point at Kantar’s latest Brand Summit event, Ignite 2022, hosted at The Curzon in Soho. While discussing the launch of Kantar BrandZ Most Valuable UK Brands 2022. Adele Joliffe, Head of Brand Consultants at Kantar discussed how uniqueness is worth paying for, an organization’s sales and margin being threatened if the consumer thinks he has nothing to lose by choosing an alternative brand. Brands have a crucial need to know when and how to differentiate themselves. The full recording of all sessions of the event will be available on site very soon.
- Measure what matters
To know if your online experience is doing well, you need to measure and evaluate the right aspects of customer behavior and make sense of them to make improvements.
At Kantar, we help our clients measure online and in-store behavior and customer perceptions through platforms such as Qualtrics and Medallia, with advanced e-commerce behavior tracking and features to support customer journeys. We can also understand web behavior through our proprietary analytics platforms and tools, including search and click analysis. We combine this with behavioral psychology and neuroscience techniques, such as intuitive exploration of associations, to help our clients translate customer perceptions into informed decisions for brand growth.
It is imperative that all business decisions today put the customer at the heart of the organization. Understanding where the gaps lie will help your brand stand out from the competition, while continuing your brand’s growth trajectory.