What do people think when they are shopping online? What turns them off, and what inspires them to hit the ‘Buy Now’ button? What can online store owners do to reduce bounce rates and convert visitors into buyers?
There are dozens of factors that drive the consumer. Some say that you need a specific kind of design, others will say that it is mostly a matter of pricing, while many maintain that it is all about placing the right call to action buttons.
The whole area of consumer behavior and it impact on sales is so complicated that most people simply create online stores on the basis of their intuition. But, different people interact differently with online stores and you need a more scientific approach if you want to create an ecommerce website that resonates with all the users.
Here, we take a look at some of the most important and consistent stages of consumer behaviors. Understanding these core behaviors will help you devise better online stores.
Step 1: Search for Information:
The first and the most obvious stage of consumer behavior is search. When the consumer has a need, she tries to find a product that can fulfill the need. It is possible that the consumer knows what she is looking for, but it is also possible that she just has a need and is trying to find a solution in the form of a product or a service.
When we consider this behavior in the light of online stores, most of the consumers will end up on your website through some or other kind of search option. Most users to ecommerce stores come from affiliate website or from search engines. Some come through emails sent by the online marketer, while a small percentage find their product online through social media sites.
By creating content that answer the consumer’s queries and leads her to your website, you can connect with the customers at the very first stage of their search.
Step 2: Analysis of Options and Alternatives:
Getting a customer on your website is just the beginning. Most customers check out more than one online store for the same product. Once they arrive on your store, they verify if the products that you offer meet their specific requirements.
For instance, a consumer planning to buy a smartphone online will check if you have the color she wants. Also, she may want the device as a part of some specific promotional offer floated by the device manufacturer. So, if you are running an online store, it is a good idea to give detailed product descriptions – it should be easy for the users to take a quick look and confirm that you offer all that they need.
Step 3: Decision to Purchase:
Online shopping behavior reflects the physical world more closely than most people think. At times, you go to a shop with the intention of buying a product, while at other times, you are simply looking around. In the same way, an online customer may simply check out your product and check the same on other ecommerce websites. This is where you need to be competitive. By offering free shipping, enough payment alternatives, and competitive prices, you can persuade the consumer to buy from your web store.
It is also possible that certain users are waiting for the price of a product to drop before buying it. They may be waiting for the product to come in more colors or new features before buying it. Or, they may be unsure of where they should really spend money on it. In order to make sure that you do not lose such customers, you must all the shoppers to monitor products and send automatic email updates regarding the products. Shooting emails to customers that have abandoned the carts at the last moment is also a good idea.
Step 4: Act of Purchasing:
The last thing you want is to convince a user to buy, but then let them sulk away from you store simply because you don’t support the payment option of their choice. So, it is imperative to study the most common payment options that your target audience utilizes, and to provide support for them. At the same time, offering a Quick Pay option, saving card details and highlighting an easy returns policy can help nudge the users to make the payments and buy the items.
Step 5: Post-purchase Assessment:
Any ecommerce website that wants to build customer loyalty needs to focus on post-purchase assessment. Customers hate companies that take their money and then provide bad services or delay the delivery of products. And, if you offer top-notch after sales services and support to customers, they are most likely to come back to your web store for more.
Ecommerce store owners must create a mechanism to ensure reliable after sales services. You can also survey your customers and ask questions like:
- How did you find our website?
- Why did you choose to buy from us?
- Did you have a satisfactory customer experience?
- Are you happy with the condition and quality of the products?
- Did you find enough options on our stores? Is there something you needed but could not find?
- Would you like to refer us to your friends?
This will serve a dual purpose: it will help you find out areas of improvement, and it will show the users that you care about them.
While it is not possible to understand and predict every quirk and behavior of individual consumers, there are some facts about consumer behavior that are well known. By creating an online store that helps the customer at every step of the buying process, you can increase your sales and inspire loyalty at the same time.
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