Retail Touchpoints: Three Steps to Bridging the Gap Between Online Conversions and Buyer Intent
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
Since online conversion rates have been tracked by the industry, the average has hovered between two percent and three percent. Yet according to the Fireclick Index, 10 percent of visitors come to e-commerce sites intending to make a purchase. How can e-commerce companies beat the conversion curse?
One area for investment is the personalization of existing websites and channels, such as email and mobile, to create a more engaging consumer experience.
Here are three best practices for driving conversion rates:
Consider Intent: Social graph profiles and historical transaction data all offer valuable insight about a shopper’s tastes and preferences, but this intelligence alone cannot predict what a visitor actually wants in the moment. Altrec.com, an online destination for outdoor enthusiasts, recently increased its conversion rates by 450 percent after implementing an intent-based personalization approach. Because of the seasonality of its business, factoring in the real-time intent of its potential buyers is critical to its personalization strategy: a shopper may have bought a heavy fleece jacket in February but now is coming back in the summer looking for some Keen sandals. The quicker retailers can recognize and understand what the shopper’s current intent is versus what interested him in the past, the more likely a shopper will convert.
Consider All Touchpoints: If a customer receives a certain personalized marketing message on a gadget retailer’s site but then loads up the iPad app and sees a completely different message, the first message will be considerably less sticky to that customer. It often takes multiple impressions or interactions for a concept to truly resonate. Retailers need to consider how to apply personalization seamlessly across all of their primary customer interaction channels.
Treat All Customers As Unique: When people are in an information gathering or product exploration process, giving them personalized product recommendations mixed with a set of ratings or reviews might be most useful to them. However, if they’re ready to buy at that moment, recommendations might be an unhealthy distraction; instead you’re best off focusing on how to encourage them to move forward with a purchase. By paying attention to clues such as the search terms visitors use, how they arrived at your site or other touchpoints, and their behaviors once they get there, you can often ascertain what stage of the shopping lifecycle they’re in and, therefore, how to best serve them.
Discussion Questions: Why do you think online conversion rates are so low? What do you think of the recommendations made by the author? Are there lessons that online operations can take from in-store conversion practices?