By focusing on creating streamlined user experiences, merchants should look to reduce friction wherever possible in the shopping experience to win business and make lasting impressions with consumers. Recent survey data shows consumers want to be able to pay using their preferred method and to get information about products and orders via online chatbots.

Casey Bullock, general manager, global ecommerce, North America, Worldpay

Casey Bullock, general manager, global ecommerce, North America, Worldpay

As technology continues to reinvent just about everything we do, businesses are facing a deluge of behavioral changes from their customers. Whether it’s a consumer’s expectations in store or the demand for convenient user experiences online, merchants have an opportunity before them to find new ways to engage their customers.

From a consumer’s perspective, time is a valuable resource, so convenience is key—but privacy is still top of mind. By focusing on creating streamlined user experiences, merchants should look to reduce friction wherever possible in the shopping experience to win business and make lasting impressions with consumers.

Merchants who are transparent about their data and privacy policies can give comfort to shoppers and build on loyalty.

Worldpay has recently released a new report aimed at understanding the key frustrations and points of satisfaction in a consumer’s shopping experience. Using that data, I have highlighted a few notable trends that can be used to develop a comprehensive playbook of tactics merchants can take to enhance their customer experiences.

Minimize the number of steps to completion

A significant factor leading to cart abandonment is a poorly designed checkout experience. Whether a site forces a potential customer into creating an account, or there are too many steps to make a payment, this kind of friction accounts for 26 percent of cart abandonment, according to Baymard Institute.

advertisement

Luckily, there are a number of unique solutions available now, such as Amazon Pay, which lets buyers use the payment and shipping credentials already stored in their Amazon account across the web, so they no longer have to enter data repeatedly. The faster a customer can check out, the more likely they are to complete the purchase online.

After credit cards, eWallets are tied with debit cards as the second most popular payment method for U.S. consumers shopping online. Offering a variety of payment methods is key, as one in five consumers report abandoning their online shopping cart because they were unable to pay using their preferred method, according to the 2018 Worldpay Global Payments Report.

Another deterrent for consumers is having to manually enter address and payment information, making the overall transaction experience feel clunky or frustrating. Digital wallets in particular offer relief from this particular challenge.

Offer 24/7 personal assistance

An emerging tool that shows great promise in delivering top-notch customer service online is a 24-hour chat option where customers can ask questions about products, check their order status or even get recommendations tailored to them based on their shopping history. 59 percent of the U.S. consumers surveyed told Worldpay they have used a direct chat function when shopping online. Millennials were twice as likely as Boomers to have used one.

While these services can be run by a team of people, artificial intelligence is quickly becoming the norm where natural language processing and consumer analytics can make it impossible for a customer to tell the difference.

advertisement

Protect data to win loyalty

Consumers have become increasingly sensitive to the way in which businesses collect, store, use and protect their data. However, that doesn’t mean merchants should avoid asking for private information.

Consumer willingness to share is highly reliant on the type of data being requested. Over half of consumers are willing to trade personal data for incentives such as a $5 gift card, 10 percent off their first purchase or access to exclusive pricing on future purchases, according to Worldpay’s survey of U.S. consumers. For instance, capturing an email address to build out a robust mailing list full of past customers will enhance your email marketing efforts.

Further, merchants who are transparent about their data and privacy policies can give comfort to shoppers and build on loyalty.

Deliver on time and on budget

Major ecommerce players have also been driving consumer expectations when it comes to delivery—gone are the days of shipping fees and extended shipping windows. In our survey, 63 percent of respondents cited free shipping as very important to them when choosing an online retailer.

But it’s not just about free shipping; merchants should strive to be able to have items out the door within 24 hours of an order to keep a leading edge against online competitors. Without timely and affordable (if not free) delivery, merchants risk losing out on an abundance of business—3 out of 4 consumers report abandoning an online checkout after seeing high delivery charges added.

advertisement

In today’s culture of convenience-oriented consumers, offering a seamless shopping experience is essential to success. Merchants vying for consumers’ attention online have many strategies at their disposal to reduce as many obstacles during the transaction as possible. Consumer expectations are sky high and rising, and if you don’t deliver on convenience, your competitors will.

Undeniably, the task of integrating new tactics and technologies to meet consumers’ increasingly high demands is daunting, but it doesn’t have to be painful; and removing friction from the digital shopping experience will most certainly work to merchants’ benefit, demonstrating a commitment to quality that pays dividends over time.

Worldpay is a global payments processor.

Favorite