In a recent white paper I was reading, a brilliant question was asked and then researched by ‘RichRelevance’ & ‘Bazaarvoice’. The paper was called ‘The “New” Rules of Engagement for Today’s Empowered UK Shopper‘ and its actually pretty darn good.
I am going to take their research and focus on one key area which I felt was skipped over, why a purchase was made offline (and not online), then port it to help you SMASH every-single-one of these reasons.
The Question That was Asked:
Thinking about a product or service you researched online and purchased offline most recently, why did you purchase that product offline?
I’m going to now tackle each of these with you and give you examples on how you combat these, to SMASH them to pieces and give you workable suggestions that you can implement into your business right now, today.
55% – I wanted to see the item before I purchased it
This was the biggest reason found at a whopping 55%. Quite frankly. if your customer is thinking this, then you are failing as an eCommerce business badly.
That’s a pretty harsh statement, but I stand by it. Why? Because you should know better! It has never been so easy or cheap for you to add photos, video, specifications &interactions to your products and services.
You must categorically remember that this is a flat screen (ignoring 3D) and the customer cannot touch the product or service you are offering, so this simply equates that it is your role to ensure that the customer is left without a single doubt on what he/she is going to be receiving.
47% – I wanted the product immediately
Now there are some things that people need right away, nappies when you’ve run out etc… but the majority of goods & services can be delivered almost always next day and this is again your ‘job’ to deliver and to make this delivery option clear to a buyer.
When can I get this item?
When can I get this item?
When can I get your item?
40% – I did not want to pay shipping costs
I’ll share a personal experience here, Amazon, I buy lots of books and I mean lots, almost every single day I am scoping new books to be read. I choose Amazon for three reasons when it comes to books, these are:
- I trust them, explicitly
- I like free delivery & don’t mind waiting
- They can deliver to multiple addresses
Now my point here is that ‘I like free delivery & don’t mind waiting‘, now if I want an item faster then I will pay for it. So here with Amazon I have options, have postage included or for sensible prices, upgrade to expedited offerings.
If you’re an eBay seller, then there are weightings in the best match algorithm to boost you up the results, but I’d suggest still offer two more services above these and promote them heavily in your listings.
36% – It was more convenient for me to buy this product offline
You must make the interaction of, payment of, everything of, delivery of your product and services as simple, as easy, as convenient as your customers want them to be. This is achievable by a collection of several individual plans coming together as one.
I heard a quote recently that sums this up:
“You cannot improve one thing by 1000%, but you can improve 1000 little things by 1%”
Jan Carlzon, CEO SAS 1981-1994
25% – I knew it would be easier to return the product if I purchased the in the store
If you’re customer is saying this and you’re a 100% eCommerce business, then you are again failing, probably in multiple contact points.
You must make the interaction of, payment of, everything of, delivery of your product and services as simple, as easy, as convenient as your customers want them to be.
20% – I knew that I could not be home to receive the delivery
This is a valid question, the vast majority of people work for a living, which means they typically go to an office (losers). This is dead easy for you to tackle, offer delivery to work addresses.
This might send a few eBay sellers I know in to panic, but come on, fraud is not that rife and on the bright side I know where they work now! Also thinking out of the box, you could give them instructions on how to verify their work address in PayPal…
16% – I found the best price offline
This better be in your retail outlet.
16% – I needed to talk to a salesperson about the product
Email, Skype, Phone, Fax, Live Chat and on and on and on and on and on… Since day 1 our[humans] greatest ability has been to be able to communicate. You could easily add your phone number and contact details at the end of the description(s), add a clear call-to-action button for life support, do what eBuyer does and have a reviews AND a product Q&A section.
I have several other suggestions on this topic, I’ll save these for another day. Or you could just phone me and I’ll spill them, but I need to see what I am working with first on how best to deploy them.
11% – The product was not available for sale online
Woooohooo find out what this was and get it on line. I want to know what this was, any ideas?
9% – I redeemed a coupon in the store
This better be in your retail outlet, provoked from a media campaign. You have a media campaign don’t you?
5% – I prefer buying products offline.
I’m actually amazed people still choose this one. But if you do not have a retail outlet, then this should be a consideration on your road map.
Although I openly admit, I love retail stores, I love isle-ends, I love to be marketed, I like to take in and try analyse why a shop is laid out the way it is, why banners are placed where and when, to see the stocks alter with the seasons. I think that’s just me.
The survey results should not be any real surprise on what was said, just the numbers attributed to each one. Thankfully ‘I am not comfortable buying online’ was 0%, so at least there was a 100% audience.
Its extremely important that you put yourselves in the ‘shoes of the customer’ and ask yourself “If I had this concern/query does my current site/listing/item/description/marketing not only answer all of the above concerns, but smash this into dust to allow the customer to convert to become a buyer?” Think about, your buyers are. Take action now!