In essence, the ability of brands to create a truly seamless and integrated experience relies on their ability to generate a single view of the customer across multiple channels. With this in mind, this expectation gap looks set to remain or grow even bigger as recent research shows that only 15 per cent of retailers are planning to invest in this area in the next 12 months.
Delivering a millennial-ready checkout experience
There are many facets to creating a seamless online retail experience but one element that is regularly overlooked comes towards the end of the customer’s shopping journey and is in fact one of the main reasons for cart abandonment.
Recent research has revealed that 58 per cent of British online shoppers have abandoned a shopping cart due to payment issues in the last 12 months. Clunky interfaces will translate into lost customers.
To succeed online, retailers must also consider an omni-payment strategy to keep millennial customers happy. The front-end of a website may be beautifully designed, with a vast selection of merchandise, but if millennials cannot pay how they want to, products will remain unsold.
When targeting millennials, offering a wide range of payment options is increasingly important, especially digital alternatives as millennials are driving the growth in mobile payments.
But despite the payment process being one of the most crucial in terms of actually securing the sale, research has revealed that some companies have not dramatically changed the way they handle payment in the last 15 years.
It appears that the majority of investment is aimed at improving the pre- and post-checkout experience from marketing campaigns and the online browsing experience to delivery, fulfilment and loyalty schemes. Only 18 per cent of online retailers have prioritised the crucial checkout stage for investment.
Tellingly, the checkout experience is also a deciding factor in terms of repeat visits and ensuring customer loyalty, with 84 per cent of British online shoppers saying a poor online checkout experience would be enough to stop them returning to a particular company’s website or app in the future. Get it right through a simple and efficient checkout process can help convert frequent online shoppers into repeat and loyal customers.
Although retailers have clearly made headway in offering shoppers a consistent cross channel experience, becoming fully omni-channel remains a work in progress.
This is partly due to retail not yet catching-up with shopping habits that continue to evolve rapidly, and partly because new technology continues to be developed apace, increasing the possibilities for consumers and retailers alike, both online and in-store.
The millennial generation represents the future of ecommerce and as this new generation becomes more commercially significant, online retailers must recognise that they will have to continually adapt their strategies to remain relevant to an audience that is increasingly mobile, visual, social and collaborative.
Kevin Moran is chief financial officer for Chase Paymentech Europe.
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