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Measure twice, cut once: commonly recommended additions to eCommerce
I’ve been seeing a lot of posts lately from various sources all taking about ways customers can increase conversions for their eCommerce sites. Actually… I always see these posts because I go looking for them, but still. Some have some great ideas, and some fall back on “tried and true” methods that people may implement without fully considering the ramifications.
So for this week’s focus I thought I would take a look at some of those go-to strategies you often hear of when looking for ways to increase conversions. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
When looking at each of the potential inclusions, maximising success is incredibly important in order to gain (and sustain!) the confidence of your broader business. We’ll be talking about staffing costs and monetary costs but the third piece of the puzzle is the uptake of any new feature. After all, your staff are the eyes, ears, and mouth of your business. If they aren’t behind you then you’ve got an uphill battle ahead.
With Amazon whispering that they’re planning on being on Australian shores by Christmas and services like Shipster starting to make waves, I know free shipping is something a lot of you are seriously considering. Shipping and handling costs were the number one reason people abandoned their carts according to the Forrester report commissioned by UPS: Smarter Strategies for Free Shipping. It really is no secret it can have a great effect on your conversions.
But before you jump on the bandwagon, don’t forget that free shipping is only free for the customer. While I do think that it is most definitely a good concept to explore there’s a lot of analysis consider:
- What is the average shipping cost for an order?
- How many additional orders per month do you need to take to offset the additional cost?
- Are there limitations to your offer?
- EG: weight, minimum order value, excluded products
- Are there additional charges you may end up absorbing?
- EG Dangerous goods charges
- It’s in an online only offer?
- Should you exclude phone orders to help push a self-service mentality?
Click and Collect
I recently read a post that suggested Click and Collect was a great no cost way to add value to your customers. While I definitely agree with the second part of that sentence… There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.
Depending on your business set up, you may be able to use the standard Click and Collect set up in BPD however; I can promise you there will be a business overhead to keeping it running.
- Who is going to pick those orders?
- Are your stock levels consistent enough across stores to support it?
- Have you considered the potential extra training for store staff?
- Do you have a clear process for verifying the person picking up the order?
- What is a reasonable delay from order placement to ready to pick up?
- Can you meet that expectation?
- What does that extra time restriction do for your staffing requirements?
Store reward programs
Not many of our customers currently do this because the costs with this one are less staff orientated and more direct. Every reward program I’ve come across has a cost associated with it. Often times (depending on your volume and average order) this cost can be worth it but not always.
I wanted to put this one in here primarily because it seems to be one of those suggestions that bloggers throw in without going in to much detail as to what it would actually mean for your business. Don’t get me wrong I am in total agreeance with the concept behind reward programs. It is absolutely important that you recognise loyalty in your customers. After all, loyal customers are your best spokespeople! However, I don’t think that going straight for a full-blown third party program is always the best option.
If you’re looking at something in this space I’d recommend starting smaller. Considering options like User Debtor if you’re in the B2C space can give you a detailed look at users and their spending habits. You can then build reports that show you anyone who, for example, has made 3 or more purchases in the last 12 months and send them an EDM with a custom promo code.
Along that same vein you could create repeating promotion codes to acknowledge customers and encourage repeat spend without investing too much time upfront. This kind of options also gives you a simple way to track the efficacy of the concept for your particular business. Data will always beat out industry trends so being able to start small and iterate on concepts is super important.
I’m really keen to know what you’ve been mulling over. Is there a particular “go to” addition you’ve been considering offering to your customers? Would you benefit from chatting with me to make sure all those I’s and T’s are crossed before you get started? Don’t forget, I’m here to make your business thrive so feel free to get in contact.