It takes skill to navigate the eCommerce landscape
E-commerce is a rapidly growing force in the modern economy. Even apart from the boost to online shopping that the COVID-19 pandemic provided, more consumers than ever before are invested in the digital experience. According to Statista, eCommerce sales exceeded $5.2 trillion USD in 2021 around the globe. (It's also noteworthy that smartphones accounted for about 70% of those visits to eCommerce stores.)
Of course, along with increased revenue opportunity comes increased competition. In an incredibly crowded eCommerce landscape, it's all too easy for shoppers to breeze past the crucial step of actually completing their purchase, as opposed to simply putting items in their cart.
Reasons for conversion failure may vary. Pricing is always the number #1 issue, but it's not always the deciding factor. Some shoppers are simply frustrated at how many hoops they have to jump through just to buy that darn thing they want. Others may get distracted away from their initial purchase and never come back.
So we have a bit of a paradox here: mobile users love shopping online; they love discovering new products (especially via video content); when they find something they like, they want to find out more about the brand and ultimately purchase the product. Yet, the industry-wide average shopping cart abandonment rate for eCommerce hovers around 70% (or 69.57%, to be precise). What gives?
The key to understanding the disconnect between the popularity of online shopping and the woeful rate of cart abandonment lies in two vital truths:
- Modern consumers have higher expectations and shorter attention spans than ever before.
- The more time a consumer has to think about an emotional purchase, the more likely he or she will lose that initial sense of inspiration.
High expectations, short attention spans
Customers today not only want instant gratification, but they expect brands to provide it. Google's description of what it terms "micro-moments" (that is, "intent-rich moments when people turn to their phones for answers or solutions") dovetails nicely with this trend: people want to learn it, watch it, buy it, and do it right now. Obviously, eCommerce brands that don't cater to this type of thinking are bound to lose business to brands that do.
The flip side to this coin is how easily distracted the modern consumer can be. With so many messages competing for a stake in the attention economy, an intent-rich moment can quickly come and go without any action being taken. (As a simple example, imagine that you suddenly feel a craving for pizza. Just as you're about to look up a nearby pizzeria and call in an order, you get a text from a friend inviting you to eat at a Thai place. Poof! Moment gone.)
This two-sided challenge (of meeting customer expectations while catering to short attention spans) has frustrated thousands of marketers. The solution is to close the loop between discovery and conversion as quickly as possible — that is, in the length of a micro-moment. Which is, of course, easier said than done.
Promoting snap decisions
The second key element to keep in mind is a dilemma that's as old as marketing itself: how to prevent consumers from spending too much time thinking about their buying decisions. Not to be too cynical here, but "inspired-by-the-moment" purchases are the lifeblood of many eCommerce stores. Interestingly, Business Wire has reported that 85% of online shoppers aged 18-34 have bought a product after seeing a video about it... a statistic which fits neatly into the concept of impulse buys as "the products that consumers aren't looking for, but buy anyway."
With most potential purchases, there's a battle raging in the consumer's mind between logic ("I really don't need this product") and emotion ("If I buy this, I'll feel so much better") — and time is not on emotion's side.
There's yet another factor to consider: inspiration. Successful brands inspire customers to buy things. They plant that emotional "seed" in the user's mind and heart that motivates them to take action. For instance, short video content can be a powerful method of not only capturing viewers' attention but also pulling on their heartstrings. While the inspiration factor is a huge part of effective marketing, it can also be a tricky one. Again: time is of the essence.
How to respond to shopper demand
One of the keys to driving eCommerce conversions is, simply put, to shorten and smoothen the purchasing journey. Customers want it; brands need it. (In fact, one study found that interest in shoppable content is increasing: 23% of consumers overall and 30% of millennials want access to links from videos and other ads that will allow them to purchase a product directly.)
Take shoppable video Stories as an example. If a shopper watches a Story in the app and like what they see, they may be able to click on the item and instantly get redirected to the product's detail page. But could there be extra friction points that slow down the customer's purchasing journey? For example:
● Do they have to enter payment details?
● If they want to go back to the app to explore other Stories, will they have to repeat the process all over again?
● Is it possible they’ll get distracted before finalizing the purchase?
Once again, the key is shortening the purchasing journey as much as possible. One solution would be to make use of Storyly's in-Story checkout feature: it empowers eCommerce advertisers to create a sleek, streamlined conversion process for apps, including an instant cart builder and checkout platform directly within the Story format. Plus, the integration of Apply Pay and Google Pay affords exceptional convenience for shoppers. Combined with shoppable video Stories, this feature has the power to create the shortest pathway from inspiration to purchase.
Less customer frustration? You bet. More sales as a result? Absolutely.
In summary, there will always be ways in which companies can optimize the eCommerce experience for customers. But reducing friction should be a top priority for any brand. If you can create a frictionless and inspiring mobile shopping journey — while swiftly closing the loop between discovery and conversion — you can expect to see your revenues soar.