Online retail has exploded over the past decade, leading to the expectation of every company having a website. While online business has proven very effective, they still encounter some obstacles when getting consumers to make the purchase.
Depending on your industry, a common problem for product based companies is the fact that consumers cannot try on or feel the products that are being sold. This leads to high return rates, unsatisfied customers, or even plain lack of sales. Statistics show that over 90% of shopping carts are abandoned before checkout. Solving this problem with products could result in many more purchases.
Certain clothing companies have begun implementing solutions to this problem. They have done so through commenting methods and virtual try-ons. Commenters have stated their height, weight, or measurements to give other buyers a better idea of what sizes will best fit them. Despite this, it is still open to problems seeing as each consumer may have a different concept of what “fits”. Companies such as Metail.com try to eliminate this bias by implementing a 3D avatar fitting room experience.
Metail allows consumers to input their height, weight, and hip, chest, and waist measurements and in return creates an avatar with 95% accuracy. The software then displays the customers’ avatar in different clothing items so they can see if things like the waistband falls properly or the length of the sleeves are correct. Although this is a fairly new concept, it is hoped it will decrease return rates amongst consumers. So far it has received lots of positive feedback.
Now vs. Later
Another limitation online businesses face in comparison to brick and mortar stores is the delivery time. Companies such as Amazon typically showcase lower prices in an effort to drive people to wait for the product to arrive. Some companies offer free shipping, upgraded two day shipping, or other online only offers to get consumers interested in ordering online and waiting versus going to a store and getting the item immediately.
Due to the fast paced technology world it appears shipping will not likely be a problem in the future. Give a couple more years and companies should have drone deliveries developed. Recently Amazon.com brought light to this delivery method with a public announcement on Cyber Monday predicting its likelihood for 2015. It would mean deliveries with ordered products within 30 minutes and without having to leave the house. This could be a game changer for the online world. Just with this announcement, Amazon received nearly 600,000 mentions on Twitter all within the first half of Monday. If that is any indication of how popular this delivery method will be, it is sure to be a success.
"Statistics show that amazingly, over 90% of all online shopping carts are abandoned by the user before they reach the checkout."
Trusting the Company
Some of the smaller online businesses struggle with gaining the trust of consumers. In order to make the sale most clients want to know a little about the company and their reputation. When it comes to relaying credit card information or addresses for shipping, customers are still slightly hesitant to hand their information over without some sort of assurance.
For the most part, this issue has been taken care of. There are many companies out there that are offering security services and internet monitoring. They offer a stamp to vendors to put on their site. This allows consumers to know that the company is taking some measure to ensure their information stays secure.
Additionally, we are in a very social day and age. No longer do customers just quietly complain to friends about a bad company experience. If something goes wrong it is all too easy to jump on to social networks and blast the company for any mishap. With website commenting, reviews, and social channels it is now easier than ever to get an idea of the company’s reputation before making a purchase.
Ensure that your business has reviews on popular sites such as Yelp, Google, and some social media channels. The most effective in the retail industry has been having testimonials on the website itself, along with commenting enabled on specific items being sold. This commenting shows that the company is enabling unbiased opinions to provide their feedback on the product being sold.
While having an online business can have its issues, solutions appear to be right around the corner. Since online businesses are much newer than brick and mortar stores, kinks will be worked out over time. The fact of the matter is, with our current technology and innovation speed, problems are quickly being resolved.
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