How Convenience Improves the Customer Journey
Guest post from the commerce control experts at Linnworks on how to enhance every facet of the customer journey through ease and convenience.
Linnworks connects, manages and automates commerce operations, powering businesses to sell wherever their customers are and capture every revenue opportunity.
Remember when we used to “go shopping”?
While trips to the mall still happen, it’s hard to imagine a time when we couldn’t just shop from the comfort of our homes, workplaces or anywhere we might be.
For most consumers, the emphasis is on convenience. In fact, 76% of consumers say that convenience is their key priority in selecting a retailer and 45% are explicitly more influenced by convenience than price, according to eCommerce trends based on research from Linnworks.
Lack of convenience is also something that drives customers away. 67% of customers have abandoned purchases due to complicated checkouts, while 58% have completely stopped buying from stores that were burdensome to use, according to Linnworks.
Simply put, convenience is mandatory for retailers. Customers are willing to sacrifice cost savings for convenience. And they will leave you in the dust if you don’t deliver. Here are 4 ways that prioritizing convenience can add value to what you offer your customers.
When it comes to enhancing the customer journey, it’s important to consider where it starts. Consumers start searching for products where they want to.
Of course, where a customer starts their purchase depends on who the customer is — for example, 91% of Gen Z and millennials are more likely to start purchases on mobile, while non-millennials are 68% more likely to start purchases on a computer, according to Linnworks. The goal is to be where your potential customers spend their time and make purchasing products convenient on those platforms.
If you think your brand is already doing enough, your customers may not agree. Just because your online store is not complicated doesn’t mean it’s convenient. One of the most overlooked features of convenience is offering customers a frictionless omnichannel shopping experience.
Since today’s consumers shop on many channels, they now expect a seamless, cross-platform experience. One of the most important aspects of convenience for consumers is being able to shop from the same brand on multiple different devices. Whether your customers are shopping on their smartphones, laptops or tablets, commit to offering an eCommerce customer experience free of interruptions or discontinuities. So for example, if a customer puts an item in their basket on an app, they will find that it’s still there when they continue shopping on their laptop.
If you put too many steps between your customers and the product they want, they are more likely to abandon their purchase. In other words, if a customer is willing to pay, it’s best not to turn them off with unnecessary barriers like making them fill out a form or create an account.
There seems to be a trade-off between letting your customers checkout as a guest and requiring them to make an account. Sure, the latter might secure them as a customer and give you data that you can use for marketing, but it’s getting hard to justify as convenience becomes more of a priority.
That being said, another priority for customers is that they don’t have to re-enter their payment or shipping details every time they make a purchase. While the best way to do this is by creating an account, the key is to let your customers choose. Invite and encourage them to create an account for a more immediate payment process in the future without making registration a requirement just to check out.
Choice and convenience come hand-in-hand with flexibility. Having flexibility in regards to payments can go a long way, with an added focus placed on allowing customers to pay in increments or buy now, pay later.
Getting the Product in Customers’ Hands
Nine in ten consumers want free delivery, even if it means a longer wait, according to Linnworks. Likewise, transparency and communication are also valuable traits when it comes to delivery, with 72% of consumers having abandoned a purchase due to a lack of transparency, according to Linnworks.
However, there are still loose ends you can tie up to ensure an uncomplicated delivery process. Much like with payments, your brand should remove all needless barriers, especially in the cases when the customer journey does not end with the acquisition of the product.
This is especially relevant when it comes to returns. Many consumers are buying products online knowing they are likely to return them. In these situations, consumers do not want to have to deal with a customer service representative, so make sure your returns policy is easy to understand and straightforward. If your brand offers benefits like self-service returns or pre-paid return labels, let customers know before they buy.
The final stage of the customer journey also calls for convenience. Once customers are loyal, they don’t want to jump through hoops to reap the benefits of that loyalty. Discounts should be accessible through one click on your newsletter and, if they want to leave feedback, customers should be able to do it on their own terms.
As eCommerce Evolves, Choose to Evolve with It
The extent to which eCommerce is shifting towards convenience can not be understated. Three in four agree that they value it more than they did a year ago, with 78% specifically citing COVID-19 restrictions as an inflection point for their preference, according to Linnworks.
These trends align with the more general shift towards online shopping; 84% of consumers shop online more than they did in 2020, according to Linnworks.
It’s unlikely this shift will reverse. Since the demand for convenient shopping has already cemented itself, it’s hard to see it going back with 38% of consumers now expecting convenience as the standard, according to Linnworks. Likewise, customers are shopping while “on the go” and multitasking, so a seamless omnichannel experience is even more important.
If you embrace convenience, you will encourage customer loyalty. Commerce now comes to the consumer, wherever they spend their time.
To learn more about how Linnworks can help you grow by putting commerce control at the center of your business, click here.
And if you want to improve the customer journey while saving loads of time on managing customer service, it’s time to consolidate your messaging with Replyco.