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Ho-Hum - Consumers Find Ecommerce 'Old School'

(Posted on Apr 8, 2014 at 03:34PM )
Picture Consumers are bored with the online shopping experience and want something new. But online and pick-up-in-store options are no longer a novelty for consumers. They want more.

Budgets are shifting to improve the experience of Web sites and ecommerce systems. Management and delivery tools continue to gain traction with brands, because many want to improve their customers' digital experience before the major year-end holidays. A Forrester Research study reveals that 45% will focus on content management, 26% on ecommerce platforms, 23% on digital asset management, and 21% on testing and optimization 21%. The study surveyed 148 digital customer experience professionals about their strategies for the next 12 to 24 months.

On-site search requires an even better experience than traditional engines like Bing, Google and Yahoo. If there's any doubt that consumers are fed up with the experience, the white paper, Your Site Experience Is Old School, from Compare Metrics tells all. It analyzes site navigation tools and online shopping experiences in an effort to explore how to double the average order size of Web purchases and highlight opportunities for retailers. The basis for the paper comes from a study done with the eTailing group earlier this year.

"Consumers prefer to browse vs. search," said Garrett Eastham, CEO of Compare Metrics, making the distinction of looking through the merchandise and action of discovery vs. the tactical act of typing in a keyword looking for something specific. "The more relevant the inventory the more likely consumers are to engage and make a purchase."

The white paper reveals that shoppers often go online for inspiration. They believe it's more efficient searching through the Web site than racks and shelves in the physical store. This gives them an opportunity to make a purchase as well as to find design ideas.

In fact, 67% of consumers go online to browse and window shop for fun. Some 90% of shoppers spend the majority of their time shopping online when they know exactly what they want. When it comes to discovery and navigation of Web sites, consumers gave the experience five out of 10 points.

Some 73% of consumers said Web site category filters eliminate products that consumers wanted to see. Shoppers are also becoming less tolerant with inefficiencies in on-site search. Some 4 out of 10 consumers don't trust it, and 64% said they would rather have simplicity in the search process.

The white paper suggests increasing the sites' "wow factor" by focusing on commerce-driven content, as compared with pure editorial content, available naturally on the site rather than outside, the shopper's chosen discovery path. Make it easier to find products. Some sites are two complicated, have too many options and load slowly. Most of all, don't limit products or only show best picks. This will alienate those with a different taste in product. Consumers will close the browser and go on to the next retailer with an easier ecommerce system.

By Laurie Sullivan, writer and editor for MediaPost