31227  multichannel_marketing
Published: 03 June 2014

Increasing conversions when selling product online is all about reducing friction for customers in the sales process. Buying online should be a seamless, user friendly experience. Especially within the homes and gardens industry, the product offerings can be vast and complex. There are some key tips for improving the user experience and increasing conversion rates.

Understanding your individual customers
What are your users doing and how are they reacting to your site? To change the user experience you really have to know your customers inside out. Knowing your customer from every conceivable angle will enable you to personalise their experience to their needs and wants, resulting in an increase in sales. Gather data.. constantly! Use your existing customer data to analyse what makes each individual click and buy online. By putting the customer at the centre of the experience, you are able to focus on them and adapt content and UX to create cohesive personal experiences that increase engagement, loyalty and sales for your brand. Customers are looking for more and if you do not deliver by constantly adapting your user experience, you will not achieve an optimum rate of conversion.

Cross channel consistency
When offering a complex choice of products, there needs to be cross channel consistency, especially between the off and online experience. Delivering this can be a challenge. At least 50% of customers engage with your brand via a minimum of two touch points to research and purchase products (Endeca Technologies, 2011).

By understanding your customer’s typical engagement pattern with your brand, you can create a perfect purchase path using all the available channels- website, social , mobile. If in store, a customer is looking to purchase a shed for their garden, they will base their decision on final shed choice using multiple criteria such as size, material, design and cost. If a customer is able to go through this process in a store, why not give them this option online…simply? You will successfully engage a far higher number of customers with adaptive experiences that allow them to follow any path they desire.

By optimising every touch point - instore, online, mobile devices – success will be greater. Retailers who focus on multichannel integration see an average of 48% increase in online sales and 25% increase of profitability, not to mention a typical increase In  customer satisfaction of 36% (Forrester Research, 2010). Customers hold consistency across touch points as the most important feature of multi-channel experiences when purchasing expensive household and garden products.

Facilitate Personalisation
Another example; when purchasing a sofa online, if the customer selects their choice of design, the web page can/should at least display all the additional options such as colour and extras that the customer can use to tailor what their sofa will look like. Add to this other furniture or soft furnishings that would complement their selection and this is offering a personalised approach through a combination of available selections so that they feel the product they eventually purchase is one of a kind- special to them. This can be emphasised in the messaging and content on the site. They view only what is relevant to them and it creates a unique experience. A good amount of work needs to go into the initial wireframing and Information Architecture of sites that offer this level of personalisation. Also it is always advisable to carry out plenty of Beta stage ‘real life’ User Experience testing to ensure the paths through the content actually work for users. This will reduce the risk of irrelevant experiences that will lead to frustration and abandonment.

Stand Out
In any sector, one of the best ways to differentiate your online offering from the competition is by offering outstanding service levels and as much flexibility for customers as possible. Free returns, favourable delivery options etc. Feature added extras on your site that show you want to provide the very best such as wish lists, favourites, product guides and user reviews. Interaction with user generated content increases the likelihood of buying by 70% (Econsultancy, 2010), so interact with your customers.  Ask for feedback, encourage comment and reviews. It is all about going to extra mile. Allow the customer to explore every opportunity that is available by presenting helpful information that the customer can use to make a purchase. Helpful relevant content early on in the customer journey will give the customer confidence to convert.

In conclusion, a tailored experience for every customer shows that attention to detail they need to feel confidence and make that purchase.  Show you are a brand that cares about their experience and understand how it needs to work. Know your customers, know your business and know your competitors. This will be the start of your journey to increasing your conversion rates.

Successful Customer engagement and conversion strategies for Home, Garden & Retail businesses

On the 1st July, We are running a FREE EXCLUSIVE event at private members’ club The Hospital Club in Covent Garden.
The event has been created specifically for senior marketing professionals within homes and garden brands. Whatever the size of your organization, this event is tailored to helping you boost sales through intelligent digital marketing.
Further information and registration details can be found here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/intelligent-digital-marketing-for-home-garden-focus-on-the-customer-tickets-11645950351

2012 Customer Experience Trends Survey, Endeca Technologies, May 2011
Global eBusiness and Channel Strategy Professional Online Survey, Forrester Research, November 2010
Econsultancy, 2010
All references from: http://www.oracle.com/us/products/applications/web-commerce/experiences-that-engage-convert-1504951.pdf


Nick Towers

Co-Founder & Joint CEO

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