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Connecting the Digital World to the Outdoor Industry

eCommerce Tips for September 2019

Image from the Rampart Range courtesy of Marion Boyce

1. More Shoppers Are Buying Outdoor Gear Online. Is Your Omnichannel eCommerce Ready to Capture This Increase?

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68% of people say they’re looking to do more of their shopping online in the next year. You need to be ready.

Consider this: The percentage of shoppers who have bought sporting goods online grew to over 75% in the first three quarters of last year, a significant growth from just six months prior.

Marketers tend to fixate on where the actual purchase is made, but ultimately, people are looking to meet their needs in the most efficient way possible, whether that means shopping online only or researching online before heading to the store. Regardless of category, make sure your in-store and online experiences are (among other things) integrated, speedy, and helpful.

Everything in your eCommerce ecosystem should be connected to provide customers with an integrated, seamless shopping experience. In other words, customers should feel that online shopping makes it easy to find the right item at the right price.

How do you integrate an omnichannel strategy to serve consumers? Among other things, you should focus on prioritizing a smooth user experience and automating as many internal processes as you can. Read through all the factors you should consider in BigCommerce's 2019 Omnichannel Retail Report 

2. Video Consumption via Phones and Computers

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The folks at Salesforce Research have recently completed a detailed study on the biggest factors changing the way consumers consume media. Our team has created a shorter article, titled The Future of Video Marketing. Some highlights:

Consumers’ options for watching, listening, and reading content have been broadened exponentially via new media and devices. More media consumers now watch video content on a computer or smartphone than on a TV. The shift toward digital consumption is due to more than convenience though — it’s also due to the personalized engagement new media provide. More millennials discover content through personalized recommendations than from traditional ads or publicity.

Millennials and Gen Zers are 3.7x more likely than traditionalists and baby boomers to start watching a TV show or movie on one device and finish it later on another device.

Much has been said about the concept of multi-screening, but the phenomenon isn’t just about shortened attention spans. In fact, data show that multi-screening can deepen a consumer’s engagement with content rather than detract from it. The majority of media consumers (63%) say they search online about content they’re watching, listening to, or reading on at least a monthly basis.

3. In a World of Distraction and Noise, Clarity Wins

Whats most important to consumers in company communications_

One of the biggest roadblocks your business faces is the explosion of noise in today's digital landscape. The competition for consumer attention has never been more fierce. 

How are you effectively securing the attention of consumers in this environment? You need to distill your message down; make it simple for people to remember your product, your service, and your brand. Enter the superpower of Clarity

One way to obtain clarity is to provide your audience with "memory hooks to the brain." Memory hooks are created through:

  1. Statements. Use clear, concise sentences.
  2. Stories. Reinforce your statements.
  3. Snippets. Use memorable keywords and phrases.
  4. Symbols. Reference your stories with images and metaphors.

These building blocks create and reinforce memories. They affect our brain's Reticular Activating System (RAS) — the body's mechanism to filter through sensory input. Without the RAS, we become helpless to sensory overload.

You have about 15 to 30 seconds to grab someone's attention before your message becomes background noise. Symbols and snippets are the quickest shortcuts through the RAS.

Want to learn a bit more? Here is an entertaining 29 minute podcast that provides easy and vivid illustrations for achieving clarity. 

4. What's Your One-Two Punch to Achieve Above-Average eCommerce Growth?

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What is your formula for growing your eCommerce pipeline? Ask yourself these four questions:

  1. How do you drive quality traffic?
  2. How do you drive higher conversion rates?
  3. How do you ensure your promotional strategies drive positive growth?
  4. How are you automating improvements in sales-per-order and repeat customer sales?

Here are some quick tips to improve in each of the above areas:

  1. Improve the management of your owned channels. Data shows that owned and paid channels are the biggest drivers of qualified traffic across all factors.
  2. Reduce friction points across the multiple devices shoppers use to make a final purchase. Fully understand the micro-moments in your shoppers cross-channel journey.
  3. Benchmark your promotional strategies with your competitors in the outdoor industry. Don’t allow your shoppers to be conditioned by waiting for the next promotion.
  4. Experiment with AI tools to improve your engagement with your existing customers to match their wants and needs with your product offerings.

Ready to grow your online sales? Use this eCommerce Ecosystem Architecture Map to help you plot your strategy.

5. Are You Creating Online Customer Loyalty?

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Customer experience really matters in building customer loyalty.

The coveted prize today is to win customer loyalty. Loyal customers not only develop an allegiance to a company and purchase more often, but they also become brand ambassadors, encouraging others to follow suit. Loyal customers who buy repeatedly are more profitable than ones that buy once.

What makes consumers loyal to one company over another? In a major study by KPMG, consumers were asked about the attributes of the companies they were most likely to be loyal to — by far the leading response (by 65 percent of respondents) was ‘provides excellent customer support’. Here are the top ten attributes identified in this study:

  • Provides excellent customer support
  • Exclusive offers for members
  • Has a loyalty program
  • Listens to customer feedback
  • Customized promotions
  • Easy to make repeat purchases
  • Suggests products based on purchase history
  • Is socially and community conscious
  • Recognizes customers across channels
  • Anticipates needs based on customer profile

When shopping in-store, people have certain service-level expectations of staff attentiveness or product knowledge. In an online environment, however, most transactions are conducted with no personal contact or service at all. So when online retailers go the extra mile by reaching out to their customers—with an unexpected personal note or an extraordinary issue resolution, for example—it gets noticed.

Finding ways to provide exceptional customer support online can lead to customer loyalty in an online environment, where it can be difficult to stand out or be remembered. Loyalty will be granted to those companies that make their customers feel like they are part of a community and one where they feel important, unique and valued.

The bottom line is that to win and retain online customers, companies need to find cost-effective ways of providing the service and quality that customers expect while keeping prices competitive. 

Another piece to creating loyal customers is to provide a quality customer loyalty program. BigCommerce has an easy to read guide to use in creating a great one. According to BigCommerce research, a great customer loyalty program is:

  1. Easy to understand; and
  2. Easy to use

6. Are You and Your Retail Partners Increasing Payment Options?

Trends in Mobile Wallet Use

According to a study from Juniper Research almost 2.1 billion global consumers are expected to use mobile wallets for payments or money transfer in 2019 — a 30% growth year over year. While frictionless payments have been a major talking point for big-box retailers for some time, smaller businesses are incorporating different payment tools into transactions including Square, PayPal and Apple Pay.

Already today, many shoppers happily leave their cash, cards, coupons, and tickets at home and rely solely on their phone for purchases. In fact, 60 percent of consumers believe they’ll shop completely wallet-free as early as 2025, according to the 2018 Synchrony Digital Study. Why mobile?

  • A faster authorization process than chip/EMV
  • Flexibility and choice in payment option
  • Better security features than physical cards
  • The ability to transact when a customer has no physical card or cash on hand

Shopify has also upped its game to help retailers with it's "Tap & Chip Reader, Dock, and Retail Stand."

Alternatively, providing an uninterrupted checkout experience that is conducted on a brand's own page—without adding extra clicks, sign-ins, or forms—increases the chance a shopper will convert. Brands should capitalize on technologies that not only provide an optimized checkout experience, especially on mobile, but also offer consumers more ways to pay, thus leading to fewer opportunities for cart abandonment.

We are always here to be a resource and talk with about your eCommerce tips and challenges. You can check out my Complete Guide to e-Commerce Services for Outdoor Brands

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