Your e-commerce customers want to make better informed decisions

Things aren’t looking the best for the UK economy. News emerged yesterday  that 19,000 shops have closed this year, 12,000 of which were independent retailers while nearly 7,000 major retail branches also succumbed to the downward tumble. That’s about 12% of UK retail space lying empty and fruitless.

Are people no longer seeing shopping as a viable pastime? If people intend to spend their money they want to spend wisely on things they’ve carefully thought about. While the high street retail world is struggling, online sales continue to grow despite the tough times. It’s not a perfect world – there is some evidence that the growth is starting to slow with online sales growing 12.3% this year – half of last years growth. Mike Petevinos head of consulting for retail Capgemini said “While online is clearly showing signs of being affected by the recession, it is still faring better than the high street as consumers look to online to help them make better informed decisions during tough times.”

This is a key point that continues to rear its head. Consumers are looking to make better informed decisions. Sites like moneysavingexpert have grown substantially since the recession began to take hold – people are clearly looking to spend their money wisely. Something that can and must be taken into account in your e-commerce store.

money-saving-expert

Evidence suggests that online ‘window shopping’ is on the increase; more customers are browsing but conversion rates have fallen to just 5%, compared with between 6% and 8% in the past two years. It’s a signal that online retailers need to work hard on new ideas to close online sales; customers are around but they’re reluctant to get their wallet out. There are certainly challenges to fight through, but with a big dose of creativity there’s nothing a business can’t survive. Knowing what customers are looking for and then reflecting that in the user interface of your site is a crucial step. It’s relatively simple if you’re running a  virtual store, it’s easy to adapt to changing conditions. How can you turn the fact that people want informed decisions into more sales for your online shop? Integrating new functionality and content to make your products more attractive is a simple affair if you’re using Magento or a custom own e-commerce platform. Generate some functionality and feature ideas on how to make your products appear more buyable to weary consumers and then promote these new features prominently on your site. Of course if ideas aren’t your thing, they’re definitely ours – we’ve got more ideas than we know what to do with.

If customers want to know more about the products you are selling, work hard on your blog. Aggregate news about your product, give honest and impartial advice about what you’re selling, the prices available elsewhere, and how best to use your product. Connect with other people in your niche, review other products, review other retailers, review everything and be prolific. Your readers will trust your honesty and come to respect your niche expertise. Gaining the trust of your customers is crucial and a blog with plenty of great content is a fantastic way to do this. If you’re new to blogging and need some tips on how to gain traffic and an audience, contact us.

Finally, if people are shopping less for leisure and are looking to make informed purchases on specific items, it’s vital that your site is ranking highly for that term in Google – so get working hard on your SEO or hire someone (us) to do it.

Times are difficult but online retail is still doing well – well enough to convince some analysts that it could be the saviour of the UK economy. If you’re not already involved, get your online presence developed.

Phil Harper - Social Media Consultant
  • http://www.electricbiro.co.uk Rob Stevenson-Leggett

    Check out http://www.skinnipopcorn.com for informed movie reviews driven by twitter.

    I think we’re going to see a lot more of this.

  • http://www.electricbiro.co.uk Rob Stevenson-Leggett

    Check out http://www.skinnipopcorn.com for informed movie reviews driven by twitter.

    I think we're going to see a lot more of this.