The eCommerce Expo is a leading event for retailers that want to keep abreast of all things ecommerce in the UK and beyond. This year’s virtual event did not disappoint, with great insights from industry bodies like the IMRG and top brands including Adidas, Aspinal of London, Eurostar, Lenovo, Snapchat, TripAdvisor and more. Our Senior Marketing & Communications Manager Angus attended and here’s his key takeaways for retailers this year:
There’s a new consumer in town:
In the last five years retailers have been told that digital consumers’ expectations for ecommerce experiences have only gotten higher. They’re more digitally literate, expect uniformly fantastic online experiences and are purportedly more speculative, with one bad ecommerce experience often leading shoppers to go elsewhere next time: 76% of shoppers now report its easier than ever to take their custom elsewhere.
A key takeaway from multiple talks is that brands are seeing a new digital consumer since the onset of the pandemic and this one is entirely different to its “millennial” counterpart. The new consumer has at best not felt the need to shop online before and at worst actively avoided ecommerce before the onset of the pandemic. Now out of necessity these people are online, they shop very differently and critically for online retailers they require an entirely different ecommerce acquisition approach. They’re also valuable: Over $40 billion was added in online spending in November-December 2020 alone.
While the digital consumer we’ve built our online experiences around expects better personalization, the new consumer can find it creepy, and also often be overwhelmed by the information provided. Equally they can be pickier and less driven by impulse than more digitally literate shoppers. They’re also discovering brands in a different way: They don’t stop searching at Page 1 of Google Search results and rely on word of mouth far more for making online purchases than their peers. With 96% of UK consumer who tried a new brand in lockdown saying they’d buy from it again investing in your experience now matters more than ever.
And the consumers you already have are changing how they shop
On top of the new less digitally savvy consumer, there are also two key profiles to keep in mind: High-Consideration Shoppers and Impulse Buyers. A key theme in talks was the increasing nuances in online shopping behaviour.
High-consideration shoppers weigh a lot of factors before they make a purchase: price, but also online experience, shipping and product information. Almost 85% of shoppers now use online research to support purchases, up from 76% in 2019. They’re also socially conscious, with a boom in shopping local, eco-friendly options both in terms of products, manufacturing and delivery logistics, and looking to support more diverse business, be they BIPOC-owned and/or female-founded.
On the other hand you’ve got Impulse buyers. These people can be shopping on a whim and/or know exactly what they’re buying. So they go straight to the point, often completing checkout using ApplePay and are far less inclined towards returns than shoppers that don’t have checkout streamlining services like PayPal activated. For them its all about speed, in one survey of Gen Z consumers, almost 60% admit to having made non-planned purchases “in the moment”.
SEO and UX Teams Will Work More Closely in 2021
Retail SEO and UX teams are running into one another in their pursuit of perfecting the customer experience.
Search teams are keenly aware of the emphasis Google puts on load time and the perceived usefulness of a website. UX teams are also aware that consumers want a great website, that’s easy to use and crucially works well on mobile.
A beautifully defined website though can have a negative impact on search if the website takes too long to load. Fashion giant ASOS was held up as an example of what happens when good UX intentions have bad SEO outcomes (tl;dr they changed their website and it caused major losses in top 3 rankings for 60k search results).
So a key theme for 2021 is going to be these SEO and UX teams working better together. Consumers do want great websites and won’t wait for them to load, but they also want the information they need to make an informed purchase decision.
Analytics should lead how you shape your experience: If you’re dealing with impulse shoppers they don’t need your whole home page to load before they make a purchase and in a similar way, higher consideration shoppers might be happier to wait slightly longer for those beautiful high definition images to load on the product page.
They key thinking is to have SEO in the room when you make UX changes and vice versa for the best outcomes.
The bottom line
The eCommerce boom of the past twelve months isn’t going anywhere and retailers are either already in posession of the tools they need to succeed or are well-placed to acquire them. The game may be becoming more advanced all the time, but the wholesale movement of goal posts isn’t an entirely accurate reflection of the whole picture either. Instead retailers need to continue invest in their ecommerce experience, look at how they’re acquiring customers and make sure they make the right choice in technology partners to augment their own expertise where relevant.
For Connexity’s part, we’re delighted to support retailers in their customer acquisition efforts, ensuring that they provide a seamless path to purchase for those customers every time. Keep an eye on our blog to continue to stay abreast of the latest ecommerce trends.