The Master Report: Are you closing the deal online?

This was a sponsored post by iClick Interactive under the Master Report series. 

It isn’t breaking news. An effective e-commerce website, obviously, creates an easy online shopping experience. Over the years, we have seen e-commerce brands work very hard to create well-designed categories and product pages, with clear navigation between different categories, along with beautiful product shots.

But despite these efforts, e-commerce brands still struggle to hold onto the consumer in the final moments of sale, and ensure a lower dropout at checkout. A study by Baymard Institute last year said the average cart abandonment rate currently sits at 68.8%. This essentially means two out of three shoppers are not making that final purchase, despite all your marketing and UX efforts.

Ritika Verma, planning director at Geometry Global Singapore, said the last leg of the shopping process is where e-commerce companies should be putting their best foot forward. While many things can deter the consumer from that final point of purchase, one common problem was working with only a handful of payment providers.

“Certain brands have tie-ups and partnerships with only certain payment providers. This can be limiting to certain shoppers,” she said.

Verma said according to a number of surveys, only 14% of online buyers use PayPal, against a strong 73% who declared they would rather use a credit or debit card. She said by not giving consumers the option of other payment methods, e-commerce brands can lose a potential shopper.

Another issue she highlighted, which creates friction, is asking for too much data at the end of the journey.

This can lead to frustration and dropouts.

“If it is a new user, let them complete the purchase through a guest checkout option. If it is an existing shopper, ask them to remember their login details and password. With programming, some stores can recognise the existing shopper through their email IDs and can shorten the sign-in process,” she added.

Also, making the entire process transparent, and highlighting the stages of the steps, with indicators of progress, can help manage shopper expectations, she explained.

There are many ways to boost the e-commerce conversation rate to sales, but Rita Marini, senior director of marketing strategy and programmes for the APJ and Greater China region at SAP Hybris, said overall, brands should just keep it simple and transact the way the customer prefers to for conversion rates to increase. Much like Verma, she said e-commerce sites must ensure a payment-friendly system with different payment methods.

Other examples she cited included that e-commerce brands should ensure the checkout process is smooth (in one page, require only for what is needed); and be "snoop-free" where they don’t require a shopper to sign in using social media or create an account loaded with information they may not want to provide. A guest sign-in would also be helpful for new customers, she added.

Andrea Baronchelli, chief marketing officer of Lazada Singapore, who faces similar challenges for his brand said the company is now taking short-term tactical measures and has a long-term solutions to address this. He said one immediate short-term solution is in the form of in-app pop-ups and push notifi cations, which prompt customers with a message reminding them of the abandoned cart.

Meanwhile, a long-term solution involves ensuring customers visit Lazada with the intention to make a purchase. Apart from offering plenty of choices and deals, he said the brand attracts customers by throwing in a free returns policy.

Singaporean consumers, he said, tend to look for the cheapest deals when they shop. Hence, in acknowledging this, Lazada said it offers daily discounts for its products which are currently totalling more than 20 million. All these initiatives are targeted to offer its customers an “effortless” shopping experience, and increase its repeat customers and brand loyalty, amid operating in a very competitive environment.

For Baronchelli, the most important aspect for the company is definitely maintaining a high customer loyalty. This happens when the customer has a stress-free shopping experience.

“In doing so, not only will customers come back to shop, they will also recommend us to their friends – letting our customers be our ambassadors helps to increase our customer base,” he added.

SAP’s Marini said being able to quickly react and adapt to changes in buyer behaviours in real-time would be what decides the winners and losers of retail.

“Today’s online shoppers are now moving targets – the new purchase journey no longer follows a single linear path, but is defined by a multitude of choice and options. The reasons why customers abandon a cart today may not apply tomorrow,” she said.

As such, e-commerce players need to stay nimble and on top of the trends.

More tips below from iClick Interactive: 

Enhancing the shopper experience: A perfect retail experience for Chinese travellers

Reaching Chinese shoppers via digital channels hasn't been easy for retail marketers in Southeast Asia. While it maybe threading on unknown territories,  perhaps it is time for marketers to level up in their tech game as Chinese shoppers are open-minded and forward thinking when it comes to adopting technology into their daily lives.

Enhancing the shopper experience: Case Study - Estée Lauder's programmatic ad campaign

Reaching Chinese shoppers has never been more challenging for brand marketers. What's more, reaching Chinese female outbound travellers posed another challenge. This Case Study between Estée Lauder and iClick Interactive showcases the possibilities of raising brand awareness and interest more effectively through a multi-dimensional campaign.