Influencing the decision to purchase
Having decided on a preference for one brand, product or service over another, the customer will then look to purchase – the third stage of the customer journey. However, even at this stage ‘moments of truth’ still exist and much can go wrong if the interaction is not managed correctly.
Brands should ensure the path to purchase is as easy as possible, providing a suitable amount of information on products or services, and an easy to navigate system are crucial as busy customers can easily look for alternatives if a service isn’t meeting their expectations. Using browsing data can help brands to understand how consumers use the site to make improvements and even, which products or services users are most interested in. Sending incentives to encourage customers to purchase, such as discount vouchers or offers on the products they like is a tool that can be easily integrated into sites and are excellent tactics for converting sales or driving footfall into store to complete a purchase.
Reasons for abandonment
Despite seemingly having made the decision to purchase an item, research suggests roughly 70% of online shoppers abandon items in their baskets – and for many reasons. One report has indicated that a lack of transparency on total cost is the number one reason for abandonment, with consumers discovering shipping rates to be higher than expected. Having the option of free shipping for first time buyers might be a consideration for brands, or alternatively, offering product and store locator features on the site will allow the consumer to instead go into store to pick up the item for free. In fact, increasingly most consumers now expect this to be an available option when it comes to selecting the method of obtaining their purchase. Such is the case; John Lewis announced early in 2015 that volumes of ‘click and collect’ sales had over taken home delivery for the first time.
Payment methods not communicated upfront was also sighted in the same research as being a hindrance, with consumers often not wanting to or having time to create an account in order to make a purchase. Being able to offer a guest checkout option or the ability to register via an existing online account (such as Facebook or PayPal) in this instance is advantageous. Ultimately, providing ‘options’ when it comes to the purchase stage, which suit the customer, is the best way to ensure the conversion from preference to purchase.
Tools to drive sales
Online appointment booking is a useful tool for encouraging customers ‘over the line’. Easy and hassle free, in-store consultations with a knowledgeable staff member will not only help to build a personal connection, but will drive footfall to a physical store and encourage purchase. Real time online booking that is available 24/7 can provide a convenient option for customers keen to buy your products/services without being merely limited to open hours.
In our final post we will examine how implementing the tactics we’ve discussed throughout can help to drive loyalty from customers.