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Which Factors Influence Online Shopping Behaviour?
By Vsourz - 20 May 2021
The way customers shop has drastically changed from what it was just two decades ago. The advent of the Internet and growing familiarity online has led to more people shopping virtually. But further to that, customers now have a range of choices for how they interact with brands and make purchases, which offers an unprecedented level of convenience.
In order for your eCommerce business to succeed in this evolving landscape, it is essential to first understand online consumer behaviour and then meet the needs of users. Understanding these behaviours requires some insight into the factors influencing the way people shop online. You can then leverage this valuable intelligence to optimise your platforms for conversions.
Which Factors Influence the Way People Shop Online?
As cybercrime continues to rise in terms of frequency, sophistication, and damage caused, people are taking extra care when shopping online. To ease consumer concerns and increase the likelihood of your eCommerce store even being a consideration you need to have robust security features in place. This includes:
An SSL certificate for establishing a secure connection between your website and users. Customers will typically look for the HTTPS prefix in your website address and a little to the left of your URL on an Internet browser.
A firewall to create a wall between two networks, which only allows authorised traffic to come through.
Hire an expert eCommerce website development company to ensure optimal security for your online store.
User-Friendly UX & UI Design
The UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) must be user-friendly in order to maximise the performance of your ecommerce store. Make it as easy as possible for visitors to navigate your website by including elements such as clear CTAs, breadcrumb trails, and easy search functionality.
As a general rule of thumb, the less clicks it takes to reach any part of your website, the better. Keeping your overall design clean and simple will save you from leaking leads before they buy.
Mobile-friendliness is now a ranking factor that search engines like Google use to rank websites. This is because more people than ever before are now using mobile devices to browse the Internet. As such, it’s important for retailers to provide a consistently user-friendly experience regardless of what devices customers may be using. By making your website mobile responsive, you can reap some of the many benefits that mCommerce delivers.
Content Strategy & Quality
Your content is another element that has a big impact on a consumer’s behaviour towards online shopping. This covers everything from your written content to any media including visual, audio, and audiovisual content.
Written content needs to be SEO-friendly to increase your traffic but also optimised for conversions once leads land on your website. All media must be of a high quality and serve a purpose. File sizes should also be compressed as much as possible without compromising on the aesthetic to avoid slowing your website down, which results in some customer drop-off.
Speaking of website speed, a 1-second delay in page loading time can result in a 7% drop off in conversions. This demonstrates the importance of a website that is super fast since literally every second counts. As a result, you should spend less time and effort adding elements that might look pretty but add no real value to your ecommerce store and more time optimising your online shop for the critical element of speed, which has a bigger impact on performance.
The Brand Story (About Us)
Ecommerce merchants often overlook the importance of the ‘About Us’ page. However, it is a key page that enables you to build trust with potential customers. Anytime someone navigates to your ‘About Us’ page, they’re most likely considering some type of conversion such as buying, signing up for a newsletter, or working with you. This is an excellent opportunity to tell the story of your brand and people in an engaging way that leads your site visitors towards a conversion.
Even with more and more companies trying to limit the amount of contact customers make with their business as a cost cutting measure, the importance of customer service will never go away. Most people still want the option of communicating with a real person when they need to. This includes before making a purchase for reassurance, during the shopping experience if they need assistance, or after becoming a paying customer for post-sale support. Failing in this regard will result in negative eCommerce consumer behaviour.
Answers to FAQs
While customers do typically prefer human interactions (virtually) as a confidence booster in your brand before buying, it’s also a good idea to answer your most frequently asked questions and present them clearly on your site. This adds a layer of convenience for both customers who get easy access to the information they need without having to contact you and also frees up time for your customer service staff to handle other pressing customer enquiries.
Social proof is a concept, which states that people will generally follow in the footsteps of others. The rationale is that if so many people are doing it then it must be right. In terms of eCommerce, you can build this type of credibility and trust in your brand through consistently positive authentic reviews. Do not filter out any negative reviews though. It’s been shown that many customers tend to consider businesses, which only have 5 star reviews as disingenuous.
For whatever psychological reason, a lot of people cannot stand that small extra charge that is added before completing checkout. It can literally be the difference between clicking “complete order” or abandoning the shopping cart completely, which happened in over 85% of online shopping orders overall in 2020. Keep shipping costs as low as possible and offer free shipping when customers exceed a certain order value to increase your conversion rates.
More people than you think check the returns policy before proceeding to buy a product online. It is one of the reasons why a company like Amazon has managed to scale to the level it has today. By implementing an easy returns policy that gives customers a decent amount of time, for example, 14 or 30 days to change their mind, you will have successfully alleviated one of the major roadblocks to buying products or services virtually.
Evolve with Changing Consumer Behaviours to Drive Conversions
With so many factors influencing online shopping behaviour, it’s important for ecommerce businesses to understand and adapt to the evolving demands. Setting up your website with this in mind will enable you to maximise conversions.
A leading ecommerce website development company like Vsourz can provide the strategic direction you need and enhance your performance online. This can either be achieved through a performance audit to improve on your existing online presence or conduct a complete overhaul of your ecommerce store.
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