In my last email, I discussed creative strategies brands can use to manage spikes in web traffic and fluctuating inventory levels. This week, I want to highlight another crucial element of eCommerce that brands should be focusing on during this period of time: the ability to craft simple user experiences for every kind of shopper, even as your business faces new challenges.
Adapting to shifts in consumer behavior
If droves of new users are arriving on your site, it is imperative you simplify the site navigation experience to optimize product discoverability. Due to social distancing practices and stay-at-home orders, more users are turning to eCommerce to secure essentials than ever before. As a result, it’s likely that brands are currently witnessing atypical site behaviors.
For new users, it’s important for marketers to simplify product discoverability on their site, helping them make quick purchase decisions since they are likely unfamiliar with your site.
Even returning site visitors may be exemplifying new shopping behaviors as they, too, are adapting to changes in their daily lives. They may be pressed for time as they balance their professional and personal lives from home. As a result, time is of the essence and retailers must remain focused on decreasing the steps to checkout.
A few approaches marketers can take include the following:
Use strategically-placed recommendation widgets to surface relevant products
A great example of a brand embracing new users on their eCommerce site is The Warehouse, a New Zealand-based department store that sells everything from household essentials to grocery products. They are helping users find exactly what they are looking for by placing recommendation widgets in different locations across the site. For example, using the search drop-down menu, they are showcasing “Recommended Essentials” for users preparing to conduct a search query.
For new site visitors, this surfaces popular products and items deemed “essentials.” Additionally, if a user has an item in their cart, this recommendation placement can display products related to those in the cart.
For returning visitors, this recommendation strategy can be personalized based on a user’s past behavior and affinities, recommending essentials that are personalized to the user.
Showcase relevant categories on the homepage
The homepage is a great page to surface relevant products users are looking for, especially as brands continue to track shopping trends to better understand consumer behavior as the public health crisis continues. A great to direct users toward popular product categories while minimizing the number of steps to checkout is by using a homepage hero banner that displays the top categories at the moment.
Our out-of the-box template for split category hero banners
Mix and match relevant categories on the homepage or across the site
Communicate shipping information
As retailers adapt to changing business conditions, many are tweaking operating procedures in order to continue to best serve their customers. Maintaining a level of transparency and effectively communicating any and all changes will nurture relationships with customers and build a level of trust.
A few ways to do so include the following:
Update users on shipping availability
If availability and shipping timelines shift due to COVID-19, be sure to communicate any changes with customers early on in the shopping journey. One way to do so is by using top or bottom notification banners, as seen below.
Offer contact-free delivery
In line with social distancing practices, it is recommended to limit contact with other people as much as possible. To help users do so, let shoppers know that they can receive their delivery without worrying about coming in contact with another person.
Increase the allotted time frame for product returns
As consumers spend more time indoors and physical retail shops remain closed, it has become increasingly difficult to return purchased items. If shoppers fear they can't complete a return, they may become increasingly wary of purchase decisions. To remove this psychological barrier, brands can increase the window of time a user has to complete a return, easing any reservations they have while shopping on a site.
Read up on other successful strategies that brands are using to help guide customers in our COVID-19 Community group.
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