Owning an eCommerce business today means figuring out where your customers are going to be long before they know themselves, but hitting that moving target can be difficult.
Omnichannel is where it’s at, and customers are making it increasingly clear that they want to be able to access your shop anywhere they happen to be, whether you’re an online retailer or a brick-and-mortar store.
According to UPS’s 2015 Pulse of the Online Shopper, Smartphone usage is up another seven percent this year, to 74 percent, but other non-desktop device usage is also on the rise, with use of connected TVs at 28 percent and tablets at 56 percent. It’s absolutely vital that your business get a foothold on reaching your customers on multiple devices if your online store is to survive.
Some eCommerce businesses continue to struggle with the idea of cross-platform usage. After all, if their customers can visit them on the web, that should be enough, shouldn’t it? The truth of the matter is that customers often use their mobile devices to research a product before ultimately buying it using a desktop at home or work.
According to Criteo, as much as 39 percent of online buyers have used at least one other device while shopping. They also found that as many as 50 percent of eCommerce transactions involve cross-device purchasing.
UPS found that 24 percent of customers follow their purchases using their Smartphones, too, so it pays to hire a third-party logistics company that provides a highly accessible customer web portal that follows product distribution from the warehouse to their front door.
Apps and the Web
Many eCommerce companies are plunging into the world of apps, and while handy, they’re not an end-all-be-all on their own. When customers visit your site using their mobile devices and are presented with a lackluster experience that’s meant to encourage them to use a brand-specific app, they’re often turned off completely.
“If the user has the app on the phone, let them navigate to the app from wherever they are on that phone. But if they don’t, they shouldn’t hit a dead end and have a bad experience,” Google’s vice president of performance media, Jason Spero said at the Mobile First Summit in San Francisco this November, according to Business Insider. “I think we’ve confused the consumer and I think we’ve confused the marketer about how we discover on mobile.”
Criteo found that apps can convert at rates 3.7 times higher than mobile browsers, but that’s only if the customer finds the app useful enough to download it to begin with. Instead of giving customers an all or nothing choice when it comes to mobile access, eCommerce retailers are better off to give the mobile web shopper the same seamless experience as they’d have in your app or on the desktop site.
The omnichannel experience is the future of eCommerce, even though many retailers are still hesitant to commit to multiple devices because of a fear of being unable to keep up with order fulfillment or inventory tracking. That’s where hiring a third party logistics company (3PL) comes into play — with their help, you’ll continue doing business as usual while still giving customers their ideal shopping experience.