Why agility and convenience are the keys to success this holiday season

Chris Pope
By Chris Pope | 17 December 2014

Connected consumers are everywhere. They’re living their lives across channels via mobile, social, email, and on their smartphones, desktops and tablets. According to the latest IBM Benchmark report, Australia set a new Click Frenzy record this year with online sales up 27.7% from 2013, to cash in on online bargains.These days, the connected consumer drives and impacts businesses in a way that dictates both its success and failure.

With the final Christmas shopping blitz just around the corner, retailers should be taking notes from the Click Frenzy to prep and groom their online channels in order to provide their consumers with a truly personalised experience and drive purchase intent. So what have they learnt?

For starters, mobile traffic reached 43% this year during Click Frenzy, so it’s important to keep in mind the experience and accessibility that the customer receives this holiday shopping season. For retailers, this means offering convenience and relevant communication at any stage of the user’s journey both in-store and online. Let’s take a look at a few examples:
Showrooming, for example, impacts a retailer if a consumer chooses to look elsewhere when comparing prices on a specific item. If the retailer does not have a built in solution for price comparisons in-store or online, the retailer may have lost an opportunity to convert that consumer to purchasing the item, having turned their attention to a different vendor.

It’s no surprise mobile is making a huge appearance in this year’s holiday season – it has brought a whole new variation in the way that content is presented and consumed. Figures showed that consumers are increasingly opting to browse on smartphones and buy on tablets, so for retailers who want to give their consumers the option to purchase via mobile this season, content has to not only be digestible but formatted correctly for a particular screen size, and the tablet transaction experience needs to be just as good as online. For example our customer Sunbeam, an Australia small kitchen appliance supplier chose to go responsive with their website so they can provide a consistent experience across devices.

The main thing to remember is that creating a completely unique user experience is critical. More specifically, how can you surface the product that consumers would want to see in a very visual, touchable way? There is a wide variety of data available that can be used to make a more convenient experience for the consumer, and that’s what most consumers indicate they want – convenience.

Speed and flexibility are extremely important when it comes to converting consumers to purchasers. But that conversion is not done without some hard work on the retailers’ end. They need to be extremely knowledgeable of the context consumers are in, understanding the experience they want to have and serve content that they want to engage with timely.

Additionally, retailers should keep in mind how online search can be used to drive purchases. The old adage that people won’t buy what they can’t find remains true. Simple changes to faceted search can make an old interaction paradigm completely new and touchable by, for example, using a slider for the category instead of a clickable list.

But no matter what the season, it’s always important to keep these tactics in mind when reaching out to consumers. Their behaviour dictates who sees a given product, how they feel about that product and ultimately, if they themselves or others should purchase it. Breeding loyal customers means you need to offer a completely unique, tailored online shopping experience.

Chris Pope
EPiServer APAC

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Media rants: Chris Mitchell on digital evangelists and mobile pant dropping

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