Australians are set to spend over $28.3 billion dollars online in 2014. That’s just over 10 per cent of Australia’s entire annual retail outlay. But what’s keeping some retailers ahead now will only be enough to keep them in the game in 2014.
Last year the focus was on ensuring a simple, intuitive checkout process, offering a variety of products and running discounted shopping events. Now it’s time to take the consumer’s personal experience of the brand to the next level.
1. Put the shop front in their hands
Every screen needs to give access to the same online storefront. One shopping experience can cross multiple devices so retailers need to make themselves accessible in this manner.
Ideally a shopper could start filling a cart from their desktop in the morning, add a few more items on their mobile app at lunch and then checkout on their tablet later on. A retailer’s multiple channels should only appear to be a single outlet to the consumer.
The weak link at the moment is a lack of mobile retailer applications. A study for UPS conducted by comScore, found that 60 per cent of Australians prefer to access their favourite retailers online on a desktop or mobile device rather than visit a physical store.
When consumers hold the storefront in their hand (in the form of an app) brands can also improve consumer loyalty. The comScore study found that 47 per cent of Australia’s shoppers are less likely to comparison shop when they are using a mobile app.
So retailers need to invest in an app that offers ecommerce as soon as possible and aim for shopping cart syncing across all channels by the end of the 2014.
2. Focus on being flexible, not fast
Somewhat surprisingly, long delivery times aren’t a major issue for Australians. The comScore research for UPS shows we’re a patient bunch in comparison with our foreign counterparts. Sixty per cent of us will only abandon a shopping cart if we discover the delivery time is more than eight days. In fact, 34 per cent of us are willing to wait eight or more days to receive our goods.
This is a bonus for retailers who can look to save money on transport, warehousing and supply chains that would normally come under scrutiny when focusing on timing and processing speed.
One opportunity highlighted by the study is the range of delivery options available. It found that even though flexible delivery options are highly important to us they are currently receiving very low levels of satisfaction. Offering in-store pick-up, couriers, express, registered or regular post may seem a hindrance to an efficient checkout but it’s what consumers want.
3. Take social seriously, make it friendly
Another piece, by comScore, shows that Australians accessing the Internet from a PC spend 10 per cent of their time online visiting social media sites. And further evidence suggests that consumers have a closer relationship with brands on Facebook than you’d expect. Forty-five per cent of us “like” a brand simply to stay up to date with a retailer. And 25 per cent of us pay a lot of attention to updates from brands “as if it were from one of my friends”.
If you’ve been invited into someone’s personal space make sure you’re having a conversation with them. And make sure it’s not always the same, repetitive, one-dimensional conversation. Social media and networks aren’t just a place to post retail adverts and discounts, you can seed brand advocates, learn from your consumers and test interest in new products.
Hmm, here’s an idea … use Facebook to tell consumers about your new mobile app and diverse delivery options!
Stay up to date with online consumer trends in Australia by visiting comscore.com regularly.