We’re working with a lot of savvy eCommerce brands in online retail that are first to the table when it comes to using software to improve their online sales conversions. Some have whole teams dedicated to it.
What’s great is that they’re already setup to quickly run experiments proving how our real-time social proof product can increase sales conversion immediately.
However, as we talk to senior, board-level directors, there are more strategic areas where social proof product messaging is helping the business to manage some major e-commerce challenges.
Here are five:
1) Your basket abandonment rates are too high
No eCommerce site has 100% conversion, and retailers are also struggling with consumers who use the basket as a calculator to pick and sort their shopping before they checkout fewer items. This consumer behavior has seen some retail sites top out at abandonment rates running at between 60-80%. This is far too high, when tools are now available to bring the rate down and conversions up.
We find that when customers have seen social proof product messages when selecting their product shortlist, abandonment rates are lower and final checkout totals are higher.
Depending on the product you’re selling different messaging may techniques work. If for example, it’s an on-trend fashion item, messages about the quantity left in stock, or how many people have bought it in the last hour are proven to boost consumer confidence measurably. Or if you’re selling a practical four-slice toaster, we know that showing star ratings near the product is an effective way to nudge consumers to complete the sale.
2) You need to shift long tail products
We know that selling must-have gadgets while they’re trending, or before a negative press article scuppers sales, is important to your financial results.
We’re also aware that you have a wider product catalogue to keep selling, keeping stock management efficient, and making sure out-of-date versions are sold rather than discounted.
We work with retailers who attach social proof messaging to every single item in their portfolio, making the case to buy even the most mundane light bulb. Equally, we work with these retailers’ marketing teams to tag, merchandize and promote any item, category or campaign that they need to drive.
Social proof is known to be powerful to sell seasonal products, or for technology that’s about to be updated.
3) Big ticket items aren’t moving
We’re still in times of relative austerity.
Consumers are very careful with their cash, with year-on-year growth in the quantity bought for retail sales at 0.9%. That’s the lowest growth on the year since April 2013 (UK Office of National Statistics, May 2017).
Research shows that while we’re happy to treat ourselves with small luxuries or to buy in times of absolute necessity, people are more reluctant to shell out on expensive items or packaged holidays.
Given that people visit a site, multiple sites or a product details page more often when they’re unsure about an item, the so-called ‘bursty’ nature of online browsing is also bad news for e-tailers. A recent joint paper called “The Empirical Economics of Online Attention” (University of California, Harvard Business School and Indiana University, 2016), found that people generally go online in small bursts, before dinner, before bed or heading into work. This makes grabbing consumer attention even harder. Attracting customers is no longer as simple as putting on a sale.
Checking a page multiple times is very common when the item is expensive or a holiday, which is why it’s important to give consumers maximum information and incentive to buy when they’re on-site.
Social proof messaging is designed to give the consumer as much product information as possible. It markets big ticket items effectively, gives customers more reasons about why they’re right to choose the big ticket item, and why the price is right (ratings, reviews, product trending information).
Using behavioral trend information like ‘32 people have bought this in the last week’ and ‘51 people give this item 4 stars,’ gives shoppers the extra on-site support and third party reassurance they need to justify buying a major item. Telling customers that 1,500 people booked in Turkey in the past week for example, tells them they’re choosing a popular destination and that they might get a bargain.
4) You’re competing for consumer attention
The same 2016 study also found that we devote more or less the same time to online activity each week. If something new comes along, we don’t extend our online time, but we shift our attention to the new site at the expense of old sites.
In this framework, loyalty becomes a sensitive subject. Ecommerce sites are frantically competing for consumer attention as website browsing has become what the researchers call ‘filler activity’ – something that’s done in between offline activities like the kids’ homework or cooking.
In these short windows of attention, social proof messaging equips e-tailers with the ability to deliver information directly to customers to engage them before they jump offline.
It’s very important that the messages are customer-focused, which is why we test hundreds of message combinations to understand what works best for a retailer to reduce buy time and to increase overall conversions.
5) The cost of returns is killing your margins
Fit-related and quality-related returns cost retailers millions in lost revenue and operational expense every year. People also return items because they’ve bought the wrong version or because it’s incompatible. The list goes on.
We’ve formed partnerships with software provider like BazaarVoice and to draw on powerful credible, crowd-sourced information like quality reviews, fit reviews, ratings and purchase history to convince shoppers who’ve wavering about whether a product is right, to make the right choice, first time.
The UK and international retailers using our product can’t be wrong!