If I see another thinly disguised marketing post telling me how to max eCommerce growth optimization, I am going to have a virtual hissy fit. Many of these articles are the work of affiliate marketers, hoping to pick up kudos from the suppliers they mention. I think I will have a rant anyway.
While I may have time for some sites like Gilt, I am not going to put the cart before the horse, or the car before the battery. I am going to let the truth out of the stable and this is the reality.
A Massive 91% of U.S. Retail Sales Are Still Off-Web
That’s according to U.S. Census Bureau News who to the best of my knowledge is not trying to sell anything out the back door. Moreover, they have a 90% confidence level for their result for the second quarter of 2017. And with 2018 around the corner, better get your eShop ready yesterday.
That’s about as good as it gets in the numbers game. So what does this tell us?
It tells us the vast majority of U.S. consumers, still hold on to the mindset of buying stuff in stores. Old habits die hard. I put it you, the best way to increase eCommerce sales is to work within this paradigm for at least a while longer. This has nothing to do with wishes and horses: it’s how the world works.
So How Does Three Dimensional Retail Go About Its Business
- First, it decides the product range, and the market it wants to trade in.
- Then it sets up an attractive store with all the products on display.
- Next, it has knowledgeable employees able to explain things politely.
- Fourth, it advertises diversely in the marketplace to attract shoppers.
- Fifth, it creates a welcoming environment with good products and prices
- These efforts reduce shopping cart abandonment by selling organically
While I agree this is a somewhat over-generous description of many shops, the proof in the pudding is, the model works for 91% of U.S. retail. How many small ecommerce websites do you know that do all these things well?
Cognitive Dissonance: How to Avoid It in Customers
Humans - In fact, all forms of life as I know it - steer their way through their buyer’s journey by seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. We train riding-horses that way, and dogs to jump through hoops. The pleasure principle is behind employee incentives, and the reward of profit. It follows, we are going to avoid the things we do not like, whatever we do.
Cognitive dissonance is the absence of a harmonious experience. Discomfort caused by conflicting opinions leads to mental and physical stress. For example, when our favorite baseball team loses disastrously, we rationalize this by finding a third-party reason.
Disillusionment is also the prime reason for abandoned shopping carts, whether in a store or on the web. Let’s imagine a brick and mortar store attracts our attention, with flyers advertising quality cups and saucers at an enviable price. The images are so glamorous they convince us to buy while stocks last. When we get there, we find a tatty building down a side street. Ah well, we tell ourselves knowingly, that’s how they keep the prices down.
However, our cognitive dissonance increases when we realize they are selling factory seconds with wobbly saucers, and the sales clerks could not care less about the problem. When we find the checkout queue is long with only one cashier in attendance, we abandon our cart. We walk out the store with nobody bothering to entice us back.
Let’s Use This Knowledge to Grow Our eCommerce Growth Optimization Rate
‘Optimization’ means making the best possible use of a resource. When SiO speaks of search engine optimization SEO for instance, we certainly don’t promise our clients will vacuum up every order. However, we do promise to present them in the very best light possible.
Let’s move forward to discussing how to use the brick and mortar example to improve eCommerce growth optimization.
Kent Hamilton, writing in BigCommerce says we are fortunate when we convert 2% of ecommerce inquiries to sales. I believe the path to this lies through eliminating cognitive dissonance at every point of the journey. When a lead pops out the funnel, they must place their order because it is the natural thing to do.
1. Sell the Right Things to the Right People
Common sense tells us we should not Carry Coals to Newcastle, Take Owls to Athens, or Sell Ice to Eskimos because they already have enough. If you want to increase eCommerce sales, you must have a product your target market wants at the right price, and there is a process involved in getting your leads to join the dots.
2. Convince People You Are For Real
Internet users generally visit ecommerce sites to freeload information. They are naturally suspicious of sites that try to confuse them, dupe them or apply too much pressure. Reduce shopping cart abandonment by keeping everything reassuring. Make your ecommerce shop a nice place to spend the next few hours.
3. Become the Solution People are Looking For
Welcome customers into your space by offering real value. Online people shop because they want to save money or time or both. Improve your eCommerce optimization rate by simplifying your visitor's life every step of the way: they should know what, where, when, how much in a blink.
Be Honest About What You Sell
By all means, present your products in the best light. Use quality images and great descriptions that establish the need and then resolve it. Never deliver anything inferior. A few negative words on social media could cost us far more than a refund. Have a transparent, free returns policy.
Embrace the New Ways People Shop
From easy navigation on mobile to add-to-cart shortcuts without going to the product page and accepting all kinds of payment methods (even Bitcoin). Going the extra mile to remove obstacles and frictions is the best tip we could share.
Improve Your Shopping Cart Experience
Since only one to two percent of leads make it to checkout, it makes sense we should do everything we can to reduce leakage. Do you remember the second-grade cups and saucers in the tatty store, and how the long queue frustrated us? Unify the process, and make it as fast and as trustworthy as possible.
Know Who Your Lost Buyers Are
Allowing people to shop incognito is a great way of encouraging trust, but it's better if you know who they are. Offer shopping coupons to those who register, and include a small gift with their orders. With their info, you will be able to get them back in case they changed their mind mid-purchase.
Too many businesses focus on new customer acquisition, thinking that once sold to forever faithful. That is far from the truth. A shopper needs love and nurturing to become a promoter. Send exclusive offers, encourage referral, ask for their opinion.
Use Data Metrics to Continuously Improve
Several measuring tools complement each other perfectly: Moz, Google Analytics and your HubSpot CRM (or any other you picked) are a good start to avoid lost data. Once you start identifying winning behavior patterns, you can focus on what needs improvement.
It is hugely important to keep innovating for greater success. But tried-and-true tactics should not be neglected. Fix only what is broken, and don't reinvent the wheel.
Speaking of metrics... How is your marketing investment doing?