Trends in online shopping. Holiday Readiness Report

Trends in online shopping. Holiday Readiness Report

Your retail company has a huge opportunity to capitalize in the 2015 holiday season as online consumer spending continues to rocket.

Consumers may be spending more online, but they’re spending less time doing so.

This benchmark shows a pronounced decline over two years in such key consumer attention metrics as average session length, and page views and product views per session. Meanwhile, the single-page bounce rate and shopping cart abandonment rate reached new highs in the past year (Image above).

How can online retailers and e-commerce executives formulate powerful programs and strategies to take this holiday season head on? Keep reading to find out.

The impact of screen sizes on shopping behavior.

Despite the rise of mobile devices, desktops continue to dominate retail e-commerce. Particularly when it comes time to cart an item and check out, consumers clearly prefer the larger screen size of laptops and PC monitors and the ability to see, on a single screen, critical order details, including shipping charges, tax, destination address, promotion codes and more. As of March 2015, 75.5 percent of online retail sales occurred over desktop devices. Though that number has shrunk from about 87 percent two years earlier, desktops remain the prevailing choice for most shoppers to actually make a purchase, compared to 10.7 percent of sales over smartphones and 13.6 percent over tablets. Desktops also enjoy the highest conversion rate at 3.6 percent as of March 2015, more than triple the 1.1 percent conversion on smartphones and also higher than the 3.2 percent conversion on tablets. Interestingly, AOV at $121.60 on desktops is far ahead of AOV on smartphones at $91.23 and tablets at $102.72.

While desktops continue to dominate transactions, consumers rely heavily on smartphones and tablets to browse retail sites—locating products, reading reviews, and finding store directions and hours. Nearly half of all traffic to retail websites is through mobile devices as of March 2015; that number is expected to exceed 55 percent by December 2015. Many smartphone users, however, are quick to leave a retail site. The single-page bounce rate at 38.8 percent among smartphone users is significantly higher than tablets and desktops.

Utilizing multiple devices over a number of sessions is now typical in the consumer’s path to purchase, with each device playing a different yet important role. Retailers that can deliver a seamless and relevant experience optimized for various screen sizes, from a 4-inch smartphone to a large desktop monitor, will be well positioned to meet the expectations of today’s multi-device shoppers.

With the holidays fast approaching, retailers should be looking to innovate and optimize their customer engagement strategies and tactics. These are some guidance that can help your retail organization make the most of the holiday opportunity in four main areas:

  • Understand your customers
  • Seamlessly engage across all channels
  • Create exceptional mobile experiences
  • Fuel innovation, productivity and results
Understand your customers

Retailers recognize the importance of understanding customers to drive personalized interactions, yet huge gaps exist between perception, reality and the ideal. Consider: 69 percent of marketers believe they deliver a superior online experience to customers. Yet just 22 percent of consumers feel the average retailer understands them, and only 21 percent believe the marketing communications they receive are “usually relevant,” a joint study by IBM and Econsultancy found.

A holistic view of customer experiences across channels is the key to success in the holiday season and beyond. The vast volume of data that customers generate across e-commerce, email, mobile and social platforms is rich in potential for retailers to understand interests and behavior and deliver the right message at the right time over the right channel. Fully understanding your customers also requires a grasp of their experiences when navigating your main e-commerce site, and mobile sites and apps. Retailers with the ability to monitor and analyze obstacles that customers encounter on their digital journey can react swiftly to correct problems and optimize the experience.

Customer Experience on Cloud, provides a unique analytic platform that equips you to understand your customers and cater to their needs. Gain vital insights. IBM Digital Analytics provides rich analysis of cross-channel activity and powerful marketing attribution capabilities to help you better allocate your marketing dollars. A cloud-based solution, IBM Digital Analytics delivers powerful ad hoc reporting, comparative benchmark data aggregated from industry peers and the ability to turn insights into personalized marketing actions in just a few clicks

Optimize the digital experience. IBM Tealeaf Customer Experience solutions deliver real-time insights into problems that customers experience with websites and mobile apps. Available in both cloud and on-premises versions, qualitative analytics in IBM Tealeaf lets you pinpoint the root cause of issues in transactions, navigation and browsers. IBM Tealeaf delivers actionable insight into why customers are struggling on particular touchpoints before serious damage is done to revenue and customer satisfaction.

Engage seamlessly across all channels

Customers no longer think in terms of channels. They expect a smooth and rewarding experience whether interacting with websites, mobile devices or apps, social media, email or in physical stores. Siloed channel-specific applications, however, make it difficult for retailers to meet those customer expectations and deliver a personalized experience. For retailers, top challenges in omni-channel campaign management are to personalize messages based on behavior across channels, and to make adjustments in real time based on new information.

Create exceptional mobile experiences

Customers are intolerant of subpar mobile experiences. More than 60 percent leave a mobile site or app after a poor experience and don’t return, an IBM study found.

With the continued proliferation of smartphones and tablets, and competitors investing in innovative means of mobile engagement, the pressure is on to create exceptional mobile experiences that delight on-the-go customers.

At the same time, retailers have rich opportunities to capitalize on the marketing potential of the mobile channel. SMS and location-based messaging and mobile apps tuned for marketing can help retailers build and sustain a dialogue with mobile users, and incent store visits. IBM delivers comprehensive solutions that enable you to make the most of the mobile channel.

Optimize mobile experiences. IBM Tealeaf CX Mobile enables retailers to apply Tealeaf’s powerful customer experience management solutions to mobile websites and apps to detect customer struggles, mitigate impact and quantify revenue implications. Delivering full visibility by capturing user information and touch-screen gestures such as tapping, swiping, pinching, zooming, scrolling and device rotation, Tealeaf CX Mobile helps retailers deliver the exceptional mobile experience that customers expect.

Engage the mobile customer. IBM mobile customer engagement solutions enable marketers to build stronger customer engagement through targeted mobile marketing. With Mobile Push Notification for mobile apps and Mobile Web Push for mobile websites, you can create multi-step, automated programs and campaigns using multiple mobile channels, including push messaging, SMS and email. The mobile solution is fully integrated in the IBM Marketing Cloud, helping modernize the way you communicate with mobile customers.

Fuel innovation, productivity and results

Especially during the frenzied and hyper-competitive holiday season, marketers can’t afford to spend needless time analyzing, creating and executing campaigns. The speed of the retail business and consumers empowered by mobile devices and social media put a premium on easy access to real-time insights and automation to move from analytics to action in a matter of clicks.

Data source: IMB 8th Annual Online Retail Holiday Readiness Report

Maya Roeland

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