Challenge for retailers is to balance sites with richer content, making them responsive across every device while being efficient to navigate.
Understanding the trade-off between complexity of technology and simplicity of experience online is a battleground for strategists and marketers alike when it comes to attracting Generation Consumer. This is according to Tryzens, provider of digital commerce and retail managed service solutions, which has conducted research into the priority and relevance of eCommerce features.
The Research, UK Online Shopping Consumer Preferences, is a detailed report exploring the choices, experiences, preferences and behaviours of 1,000 UK consumers based on gender, age, income level and region.
Andy Burton, CEO, Tryzens, stated: "Unlike a physical store where it is harder to factually understand customer behaviours, the ability to monitor customer journeys online in minute detail provides a wealth of opportunity to improve experiences and, therefore, sales.
"There is an on-going balancing act that has to be performed by retailers as they seek to augment an eCommerce site with richer content. Purchase influencers such as reviews and social media, and well as customer benefits such as loyalty, promotions and personalisation are useful "value-adds" but must be built upon rock solid foundations where websites have simple navigation, responsive designs and relevant delivery and payment options. Simplicity and efficiency will always trump complexity online and as such it is essential that all add-ons must be seamlessly integrated into an ecommerce site to reduce friction in the buying journey and ensure as quick a journey as possible with timely page loads."
Key findings include:
- 99 per cent of women and 97 per cent of men state that clear and easy website navigation is their top priority when shopping online
- Price came in at 97 per cent for women – ranked second, and yet at 94 per cent for men and ranked third. Men ranked effective search engines at 95 per cent and therefore second in terms of priority
- Free delivery came in as the fourth most important feature for both men and women, at 94 per cent
- In the next tier of priorities are the use of discount offers and a range of payment options, as well as a variety of delivery options and promotions being common online and in-store
- Ratings, reviews, loyalty schemes and personalised content then rank afterwards, with click and collect and live chat at the lower end of the rankings
- When it comes to delivery options, price is the most important at 74 per cent, followed by direct delivery to home or office at 56 per cent. This ranked higher than delivery to the same location at a prescribed time, with Click and Collect ranked 5th at 33 per cent
"It is interesting to note that with the success of Click and Collect in the UK, improving sales and (to a lesser degree) margins, the opportunity still exists for retailers and delivery firms to differentiate by providing low cost and anytime delivery to a home or office. Consumers are clearly prepared to pay for delivery if the cost or hassle of collection from a store is offset by a reasonable delivery fee," added Andy Burton.
Continuous improvement in the evolution of sort and filter options on websites is the number one concern for Generation Consumer looking for enhancements on eCommerce sites. This suggests that this basic level of functionality is still not intuitive enough in enabling them to find the products they seek that meet their specifications.
Consumer priorities typically change once the products are found, as they look for evidence that the product they have found is relevant and of good quality. This is demonstrated by the fact that Generation Consumer is also looking for improvements in consumer and professional reviews.
"It should be no surprise that the basics of retail need to be played out online. Retailers must create services that make products easy to find, simple to purchase and easy to return if there is a problem. Get that right and the power of additional rich features can vastly improve customer experience and engagement. Where retailers have physical stores it is also advantageous for the customer experience to be consistent both online and in-store, as it is clearly still a consumer preference to see or try products before they buy if they have the opportunity in the majority of cases. A well-executed omnichannel strategy provides the opportunity for more positive touchpoints to influence and build loyalty with the customer" concluded Andy.