Of course, people acquiring any commodity must somehow seek it. However, today, we summon our “milk cow” almost effortlessly by simplified click ‘n ship schemes that have increased in speed as well as potential scope.
This is mainly due to the never-ending advancement of high-tech gadgets that are the functional equivalents of handheld mega-retail outlets. You can literally shop anywhere, anytime and anyplace on planet earth-thanks to handy smartphone apps!
A few of the shopping facilitators include, but are not limited to the following:
• User-friendly mobile e-commerce websites
• Active social media engagement & ratings
• Mobile payment systems via smartphones
These and other high-tech tools should be the new mantra of every business strategy, too. But this begs the question: What technology has your business deployed lately that meets the needs of the digitally enabled omniscient shopper?
For example, consumer behavior is rapidly changing with the use of mobile payments vis-à-vis retail POS devices by resetting their expectations and replacing old habits. According to an article published by Retail Customer Experience, which cited a 2015 MasterCard study, The Emotion of Safety and Security Survey, “56 percent of Americans use mobile digital payments via app or website or plan to try them soon.”
If your business relies on e-commerce to generate sales of any kind, it’s time to consider responsive web design, which bridges the usage gap between stationary PCs and mobile devices. And if your business doesn’t accept mobile payments, realize that it is the fasted growing payment scheme over the next five years, according to a recent article in Forbes.
Indeed, an all too common error of omission that many e-commerce businesses make is the strong tendency to forget that their online efforts, just like all places of business, are changing dramatically, too. The most probable cause of that widespread and potentially fatal thinking is the intangible nature of virtual enterprises.
How many stores can you name that remain open for business 24/7/365 – come rain, shine, sleet or snow? Except for fewer big name retail chains that can be counted on less than one hand, such establishments are nonexistent. Why? Few can afford the exorbitant overhead of maintaining non-stop commercial operations.
However, that’s precisely where a competitive edge lies in e-commerce-24/7 convenience! The reality of successful round-the-clock operations is a boon to many businesses. The trick, however, is to know what works and what does not. A prime culprit that never fails to sabotage all other efforts is a bad website design that does not facilitate a great customer experience. This is what and why Amazon is doing so well. Think about it.
Here are some basic facts about buyer habits.
E-commerce site visitors don’t like spending mere minutes let alone more than a few seconds looking for what they want – or maybe even desperately need. On the contrary, potential buyers strongly favor e-platforms that are easily navigable with user-friendly layouts that make it a snap, or rather a click, to locate everything they seek.
Nor do they want to play guessing games about prices or product specs and features. A clear itemized listing of all such data is the ideal format. Even better, the universally appreciated side-by-side comparison enables at-a-glance evaluation of which options best suit each prospective buyer’s unique needs and budget.
Live chat is still another well-liked website feature among visiting potential buyers. The ability to consult knowledgeable sources immediately for answers to questions and clarification of any concerns is a valuable asset for e-commerce operators.
With many consumer products, product reviews are often the best way to drive sales by word of mouth. This not only presents the testimonies of actual customers, but it can also create a positive buzz for products that consumers might share widely, which becomes a more global phenomenon called world of mouth. This is the best kind of marketing when people are saying nice things about your product or service.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. CEO and president Doug McMillion offered solid confirmation of buyer behavior in a recent quote from Walmart’s news portal that disclosed, [Walmart’s] “plan… is: [being]… the first to deliver a seamless shopping experience at scale.” He went on by expressing that, “However customers shop [in stores, online, mobile, or any combination thereof], – it will be fast and easy.”
Did you get that? Please direct full attention to the last two words in the above quote: “fast” and “easy.” Both terms represent the operative idea and ultimate objective of all e-marketers.
In fact, a primary goal for any prudent e-marketer is to make shopping fast and easy, and that may be good enough for a competitive advantage, but if at all possible, make it a bit of fun, entertaining, and educational for customers, too.
This envisioned outcome is very realistic, as vividly illustrated by a quote attributed to Wal-Mart Stores president and CEO of Global eCommerce Neil Ashe, “24 million consumers use the Wal-Mart app each month… and the app ranks among the top three retail apps.” Ashe continued by revealing that, “[Walmart] is providing services that consistently remove friction to make shopping in our stores easier and more convenient.”
If I was to reduce this article to one sentence, here it is: Digital is the new normal. I’ll leave you with this thought to ponder. Is your marketing stuck in “analog mode” all the while your customers increasingly use digital tools to search and find what they need?