Women are the world’s most powerful consumers, with a global income projected to hit $18 trillion within the next five years. They manage 85% of all consumer purchases and are more likely than men to buy online. In fact, women are heading to the web for the bulk of their purchases: 63% of women shop online for clothing and accessories, 54% for beauty and personal care and 59% buy electronics and technology from the web, according to research by PopSugar.
Because of their purchasing power, women are redefining expectations of the online shopping experience, requiring retailers to optimize for mobile, offer personalization and create compelling content to be in with a chance at winning their dollars. Here’s how those three strategies are shaping online shopping — and how retailers can get onboard.
Shopping From Anywhere, Anytime
Most of today’s online shoppers choose to browse and buy from their smartphone. In fact, more than one-third believe that mobile shopping is the best way to shop and that it will be even more prevalent within the next two years. These shoppers have come to expect a frictionless user experience while shopping on the move, but that expectation comes with plenty of challenges for retailers.
To keep shoppers’ attention throughout the buying process — and counter a disappointing 54% bounce rate associated with mobile use (Nosto’s Magento 2017 Year in Review) — retailers need to ensure that their sites meet the rising demand of mobile shopping and keep shoppers engaged. This is done by optimizing speed, using powerful images and ensuring a user-friendly interface, including detailed and personalized product offerings and easy payment processes.
Outdoor retailer Helly Hansen is a powerful example of mobile done right. It offers a user-friendly interface for mobile shoppers that includes detailed and personalized product offerings, language options, payment methods and shipping rules for their 35,000+ products. This optimization led the brand to a 68% increase in its mobile transactions.
A Warm (And Personalized) Welcome
Online shoppers expect retailers to provide a truly 1:1 shopping experience, knowing their purchase history, preferences and unique tastes and delivering to meet them. Businesses are losing out on $756 billion annually by not offering shoppers onsite personalization, according to a 2017 Accenture report. As many as 41% of women surveyed by PopSugar believe that personalized product recommendations will soon be the norm.
Providing a custom shopping experience has a powerful impact: customers spend twice as long on a web site, have an 18% higher order value and a mammoth 133% higher conversion rate, according to Nosto reports. Creating customization from vast aggregates of customer data can be daunting, but retailers that leverage artificial intelligence (AI) can create behavioral profiles from big data sets — including a shopper’s location, individual tastes and preferences, price sensitivity, brand affinity and purchase history — for every shopper. That powerful, unique data can be leveraged to display products and automatically updated content that best reflects shoppers’ preferences. Customers feel understood and appreciated.
Handbag and accessory brand LeSportsac shows customers recommendations as they browse, based on real-time behavioral data that reveals what they’ve already shown an interest in. This has contributed to a 2.4X increase in the site’s conversion rate, as customers see more of what they like and are inspired to buy more often.
Compelling And Creative Content
Online shoppers can be fickle, jumping from one site to another before making a purchase. Abandoned cart rates of just over 75% are painful proof of this. In addition to offering a user-friendly site with intuitive and personalized navigation, helpful content is key to keeping customers from abandoning potential purchases. The lifestyle brand Volcom welcomes new customers to its site with a 15% discount, redeemable by entering an email address. The warm welcome and incentive to buy helps to establish customer loyalty, while also feeding the brand’s subscriber base.
Today’s retailer can use machine learning algorithms to deliver the most relevant content and personalized recommendations in real time to each shopper. In doing so, they can increase conversion rates while also reducing the likelihood of product returns, ultimately boosting their bottom line.
Skincare brand Kate Somerville is an example of a retailer leveraging creative content to engage customers and boost sales. The brand incorporates detailed product information, high-quality photography and video, user reviews and product recommendations on its product pages. As a result, the skincare company has seen a 14% increase in revenue.
The Keys To Their Wallets
Female shoppers will continue to flock to online retailers to satisfy their shopping needs. Retailers that can respond to their expectations by making their sites mobile-friendly and by providing enticing, personal shopping experiences will undoubtedly gain their loyalty and crucially, increase their profits.
Jim Lofgren is the CEO at Nosto, a global leader in e-Commerce and mobile personalization.