E-commerce is an evolving industry prone to disruptors, especially since retail is 4,000 years old, and digital is a mere 20. The future of retail is seen in the fast-moving growth of retail technology, and particularly mobile and video. While mobile is nothing new this year, the top mobile trend is to design specifically for your mobile site user to optimize their mobile shopping experience. While video and VR are the new darlings of marketing, the high-level takeaway from their popularity is to create a personalized and interactive customer experience on all platforms. The omnichannel philosophy still rings true today; however, many are starting to take it a step further with the mantra “the consumer is the channel”.
Here’s the two e-commerce trends to keep up with going into this 2016/2017 holiday season:
- Design for your mobile user
Are you aware of the needs of your mobile users? Creating a mobile site, app, and mobile-ready version of your webshop is great, but if you haven’t tuned into your mobile customers’ needs, they won’t be a success.
Make sure your mobile site is easy to use and sale-friendly: collect qualitative and quantitative data to optimize its conversion and pass-through rates by e.g. A/B testing your site, watching actual user sessions, creating online focus groups, etc. The industry has seen mobile grow into one of the most high-traffic channels, and it’s still growing, but conversion rates are not as high on mobile sites compared to other channels, including mobile apps. This is based on customer intent, the ease and speed of checkout, and also if you’re aware of how to leverage your mobile site capabilities. By contrast, mobile shopping apps have conversion rates at 120% higher than mobile browser conversions, and are also higher than desktop conversions.
Takeaway: You need to upgrade your mobile site, and enhance your mobile shopping apps, to achieve success.
Have you considered how your mobile shopping app users are handled during popular sales such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Boxing Day on your native mobile app? Queue-it’s virtual waiting room is available across native mobile apps so that all of your customers have a fair and stable buying experience during peaks – checkout bottlenecks are reduced, and the online queue provides the opportunity to get valuable customer data while they are waiting in line, such as customer signups so that future checkouts can be expedited.
Have your customer insights and customer profitability analysis told you to focus on high-value customers? You can also use the online queue to filter high-value customers – those willing to wait in line tend to have a higher purchase probability, higher transaction totals, and make fewer returns. While the products you promote during peak sales may not be the most high-margin, you can use the online queue page to promote other high-margin products to entice eager customers while they wait.
Queue-it is the only virtual waiting room to offer a full online queue system and 24/7 support for native mobile apps. Make sure your holiday sales, on all channels, are protected from overloads this season.
- Optimize customer experience
The ideal customer experience isn’t just about a smooth or personalized shopping journey anymore – you need to build consumer confidence, eliminate any obstacles in the journey, and create a community out of your loyal customers that you already gained through effective personalization.
- Build trust & confidence while promoting transparency
Building consumer confidence means using the right tools in your mix that promote trust and transparency. Everyone can see through a last minute Q4 push to spike sales, but anticipating the result of that push is the key to building trust, staying true to core brand values, and achieving long-term loyalty (both with consumers and your internal team).
Are you anticipating peak traffic during your popular holiday sales? You have to keep a ‘surfer mentality’ – timing is everything. Using a virtual waiting room system keeps your webshop online during the most extreme peaks, while providing consumers with valuable information and metrics as they wait in line.
Maintaining stability and communication during the customer experience promotes trust, as you’ll always have an accessible webshop, and transparency, as all relevant information around the sale and wait times are positively communicated to your consumers – reinforcing positive attributions towards your brand. Consumers will then feel happier, satisfied, and ready to complete their purchases when redirected back to your webshop from the online queue. Your internal team will also feel comfortable and at-ease before a large sale, as they can be assured that your webshop will stay online and work normally.
- Eliminate obstacles
Eliminating obstacles in the customer experience is crucial to maintaining revenue during popular sales. Obstacles can be found anywhere in the customer journey and are not just blatant webshop failures – they are slowdowns, typically around your 3rd party payment system or on your purchase platform, or around your database locking mechanism that can get stressed during checkout. Preventing slowdowns and failures is fundamental to a smooth and fluid customer journey, and a positive customer experience. Using a virtual waiting room system means that all of your bottlenecks can be avoided, so your holiday sales are pain-free.
- Personalize & create a community
Another way to eliminate obstacles is to use digital services, or apps, that allow consumers to “shop ahead” or have one-click transactions. Using a virtual waiting room system to place customers in an online queue means that you can use the completely customizable online queue page to your advantage: personalize the queue page to be on-brand and promote the sale, provide more information on sale items so customers can “shop ahead”, provide guided recommendations on sale items, or help reduce the transaction clicks by updating product stock in real-time. The possibilities are endless, and are particularly interesting if you combine marketing with your loyal customer base to create and cultivate a community on the queue page that boosts customer engagement.
This can be done not only through the communication metrics provided on the queue page, but also through the use of the queue page itself – you can “deliver delight” to your VIP customers by rewarding those loyal to the brand with a separate VIP queue that lets them enter the sale first, faster, or by offering them insider exclusives seen only on their queue page – or by simply tapping into the community by advertising the queue to bring the customers together for an exclusive promotion that is thoroughly discussed on social media, tying in your social media platforms to the virtual queue system.
Overall, the trend this holiday season is to build your brand culture to create collaborative marketplaces with 360-degree service, and you can use a virtual waiting room system to your advantage. A virtual waiting room helps create a sense of total product immersion, while creating reciprocal, opt-in relationships that deliver value to both customers and your bottom line.