hat do customers look out for when it comes to e-commerce? What should you invest in first so that your e-commerce implementations meet these needs and generate satisfactory returns? Read the article and find out!
The aim of this article is to analyse the shop from the customer's perspective and present those aspects of e-commerce implementations whose improvement translates into the maximum quality of the shopping experience and, as a result, higher profits.
1. Mobile-friendly commerce
5 billion people accessing the internet via mobile devices globally generates more than half of web traffic (Statista, 2023). In Poland, 69% of online shoppers declare that they do their e-shopping via smartphone. For this reason, improving the mobile shopping experience should be a priority for retailers.
Difficulties in mobile shopping
45% of respondents complain about inconvenient form filling and the website's unsuitability for mobile shopping bothers 39% of respondents. Older respondents complain about letters being too small and younger respondents complain about the lack of mobile apps (Gemius, 2020).
Source: Gemius, 2022
What should a mobile-friendly website contain?
- hamburger menu (drop-down menu),
- optimised search engines and categories in the e-store,
- improving biometrics (e.g. payment authentication by facial recognition),
- mobile applications and PWA (Progressive Web Applications),
- self-completion of data,
- voice search.
Source: E-commerce in Poland 2020, Gemius for E-commerce Poland
Modern technology solutions such as Headless e-commerce and Composable Commerce support the improvement of the shopping experience on mobile devices. For more on this topic, see our e-book: "Composable Commerce – a new approach to online sales".
2. Page load speed
The first observation from a visit to an online shop is the page load time. According to research, it is the first impression that influences user satisfaction and thus profits. Pages that open in 1 second have a 2.5 higher conversion rate than pages that take 5 seconds to load (Portent, 2022). Pages that load 12% faster have a 0.5% increase in the number of "Add to cart" operations (Ebay, 2020). In contrast, page loads that are 100 milliseconds longer reduce conversion by 7% (Akamai, 2019). LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) optimised by 31% increases sales by 8% (Vodafone, 2021). LCP is one of the core web metrics that is also a Google ranking factor as of 2021, so optimising it is important to increase online visibility.
Source: Portent, 2022
A prerequisite for successful website optimisation is to diagnose those elements that reduce loading speed. It is worth starting with application monitoring and load tests, as well as conducting a comprehensive audit of website performance. For example, the audit and subsequent implementation of headless technology in the Castorama online shop allowed a significant reduction in page loading time and improved user satisfaction.
3. Attractive design
Attractive and intuitive design in line with UX standards, which define the overall user experience, is the basis for customer retention in an e-shop. Easy use of an online shop is the most frequently cited factor that would make consumers shop online more often (Gemius, 2020). As many as 47% of all consumers in a major international survey say they are willing to pay more if the shopping experience meets their needs every time (Accenture, 2019)!
4 Product Search
As many as 50% of consumers leave online shops because of illegible website navigation (Accenture, 2018 ). High rates of page closures without taking action and short sessions are alarm signals indicating that customers are encountering difficulty already at the homepage level.
Proper organisation of the assortment by categories, subcategories and filters precisely defined to meet consumer needs increases the chances of finding and buying the product. Equally important are smart search engines, which allow the right product to be found quickly. Algolia's AI-based search engine has, for example, been used by Dr Max Pharmacy, which has significantly improved the shopping experience and searches efficiency.
5. User reviews
Reviews and ratings, as well as other user-generated content (USC - User Generated Content), are an increasingly important source of information for customers, considered by them to be the most reliable. In response to the question 'What type of content most influences your purchasing decisions', 79% of consumers in 2019 indicated USC, compared to 60% in 2017 (Stackla, 2019 ). Now, because of the Omnibus Directive regulations, retailers are required to include information on whether the author of the review is a verified user who has reviewed the product after purchase.
6. Product page
Detailed product information is the main motivating factor for around 44% of consumers to shop online (Gemius, 2020). Despite the high popularity of price comparison sites, people looking for product information also regularly use e-commerce sites.
Source: Gemius, 2020
It is on the product page where the customers make their purchase decisions. The more detailed and valuable information they receive, the more likely they are to buy a product from a particular shop.
A well-designed product page contains tailored information, such as:
- technical data,
- information on maintenance,
- a size selection assistant (as offered, for example, by the fashion brand Lancerto)
- good quality photos showing the proportions (handbag or earrings shown on the model),
- videos showing the product in use,
- zoom in on individual product elements,
- user reviews.
The result of well-designed cross-selling is greater customer satisfaction and more profit for the e-commerce owner. Cross-selling techniques increase sales by 20% and profits by up to 30% (McKinsey & Company, 2020). The cross-selling strategy is based on presenting products that are most likely to attract consumer interest using recommendations such as: "Customers who bought this product also bought" or "Often bought together", as well as encouraging them with additional benefits to increase their order threshold (e.g. free delivery or extra discount).
With machine learning algorithms driving recommendations based on customer behaviour in e-commerce, many brands are making the shopping experience more attractive. Zalando's Fashion Assistant allows customers to discover the products chosen for them among its 1.8 million assortments and inspires them through unconventional colour and style combinations.
8. Comfortable delivery and return
Time is counting more and more in e-commerce! The supply chain has accelerated in recent years and next-day delivery is becoming a standard.
In addition to the speed of delivery, flexibility is also important. Customers want to be able to choose the time, date and place of delivery. 43% of consumers in Europe consider additional delivery options to be the most important factor when choosing where to buy online (KPMG, 2017 ). In the Polish market, 71% of customers appreciate the option to have goods delivered to work or to another designated address, and 59% prefer the parcel machine option (Gemius, 2020 ). An excellent alternative to courier delivery is the solution introduced by Castorama in the form of parcel machines - Castomats available 24/7 at each brick-and-mortar shop.
In addition to speed and flexibility in the choice of shipping method, the price of delivery also plays a key role. In Poland, as many as 59% of people are enticed to make a purchase thanks to free delivery with a free return option (Gemius, 2020). A fast and hassle-free return procedure is a guarantee of transaction security for customers, which is why shops are increasingly simplifying their return policy. A great example is the Sportano shop, which allows non-logged-in customers to return goods from the website based on their order number without having to fill in a form.
Customer satisfaction is key!
In the e-commerce industry, keeping up with technological innovations is a must. Investing in the user experience of an e-commerce shop is a benefit for both the e-commerce owner and the customer. The above-mentioned key factors that, from the consumer's point of view, determine the attractiveness of an e-commerce implementation are only a few aspects of the multi-faceted and complex system of online shops, which is constantly evolving in the form of better and better technological facilities.
In the e-commerce industry, not responding to trends means steadily declining customer satisfaction. In the long term, this equates to an exodus of consumers from the e-commerce shop. It is therefore a priority to respond flexibly to the expectations of the modern consumer by adapting to their ever-evolving needs. The customer using e-commerce solutions is increasingly aware and demanding. As research shows, this is also a loyal customer, who will return for the comfort of the shopping process by returning to the shop and, therefore, a greater return on the investment made in optimising the implementation of e-commerce.