With eCommerce, marketplaces (Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping), apps (proprietary, 3rd party) and social commerce (Facebook, Instagram); online channel opportunities and threats are growing by the second. A common success factor amongst high-growth Informed Retailers is that they focus their investment in only one or two online channels, where their target audience is active. On these channels, they work hard to create relevant, timely and personalised communications, and once they have mastered these channels, they then move onto the next one. The three areas we have seen retailers get the most commercial gain from are;
- Availability – are your products available where shoppers expect to buy? How much is overstocking and understocking costing you?
- Traffic – can shoppers easily find your products within the category?
- Conversion – better sites to boost conversion.
1. Inventory Availability
Holding inventory for one channel only (online or store) is outdated and creates out-of-stock situations and lost sales that are easily avoidable. Today’s retailers need to have an omni-retail inventory and supply chain management system, opening up their stock availability for all outlets and channels to access.
A range of traffic generation opportunities are covered in the marketing section later, but one specific practice to call out is the importance of promoting your online channels to in-store customers. A time-limited offer on a receipt or branded collateral such as a unique ID gift voucher can allow you to track which stores are referring customers online. Rewards can then be provided to the team at that particular store for referral generation.
3. Conversion Optimisation
With higher cart abandonment rates in Australian compared to overseas markets; it’s clearly an area that needs improvement. In a recent study, 57% of Australian respondents said they discard their carts sometimes, or all the time, compared to 41% of European respondents and 47% of North American respondents. Fashion and Footwear are amongst the worst affected; 67% of Australia shoppers said they abandon their cart sometimes or all the time. (1)High shipping costs, delivery times, poorly designed websites and out-of-stock items are some of the reasons as to why customers abandon shopping carts. 53% said discounts and promotions influence them to purchase, yet this is a double-edged sword for retailers.(2) Whilst discounting does reduce cart abandonment, it’s not a sustainable long-term strategy. The following are the most common eCommerce practices Informed Retailers use. Many of them appear simple but are often not executed well, if at all. Remember that your webstore needs to be user-friendly, fast and as frictionless as possible — not only for your customers but also to ensure it’s optimised for search.
- Site speed optimisation for SEOand usability
- UX/UI optimised across all devices
- HTTPS to avoid Google site securitypenalties
- Intuitive search and filtering
- Security and full range of payment options (including Buy Now, Pay Later and Integrated EFTPOS)
- Detailed product information (including manufacturing data)
- Product videos and multiple high-quality imagery
- Accurate, easily accessible sizing references
- Clear shipping costs available on the product page (not after several clicks)
- Accurate stock levels available on the product page (not after several clicks)
- Replenishment notifications
- Extensive, tiered delivery options
- Flexible returns policy
- Live chat and phone support
- Personalised recommendations
- Lookbooks and collections
- Site-wide loyalty program sign uppromotion and incentivisation
- Loyalty point display for repeat visitors
- One-click orders(for previous purchasers)
- Brand storytelling
- Social proof (recommendations and reviews)
Whilst these practices require investment from a time and resource perspective, not providing them will be detrimental in the long-run as other players continue to raise the bar.
Score your business in each of the critical areas of practice to identify strengths, weaknesses and potential blind spots.