Shopping online can feel completely overwhelming for consumers when options feel infinite. The paradox of choice can even deter sales, which is why e-tailers need to be strategic when expanding their inventory and building their shopping experience.
Choice paralysis can occur when consumers are presented with too many options that are difficult to compare, which can result in the shopper becoming overwhelmed and avoiding making a choice altogether. With over 3,000 customizable SKUs available at all times, my company Eyebuydirect balances an abundance of options for customers by integrating UX (user experience) strategies that make shopping decisions feel swift and seamless. This is possible through personalization strategies at every touch point that tailor the options presented to each guest, so they don’t have to choose between every style available — just the ones we already know will fit them correctly and they’ll be interested in.
While 25% of consumers search and purchase in just one online session, the average purchase typically takes much longer — around 15 days and over six sessions. As Ellen Garbarino and Julie Edell point out in their recent article, asking too much of your customers’ time and energy can lead to a negative experience that, in turn, can affect your ability to convert.
To guide as many customers as possible to an online shopping experience that is quick and stress-free, here are three strategies brands should employ.
1. More niche options.
While it may seem counterintuitive to constantly provide new options, at Eyebuydirect we release small collections about one to two times a month. This allows us to be constantly innovating to meet niche user needs and preferences. We know that 92% of people own between one and five pairs of eyeglasses and 70% of people own between one and five pairs of sunglasses, showcasing the need for variety in eyewear.
Offering variety and dropping new styles each month has dramatically increased engagement and revenue for our company over the long term, confirming what we already knew to be true: keeping a fresh assortment available in addition to core collections appeals to shoppers and encourages return visits.
2. Know your customer.
The next step is to help guide the consumer to the options that you know they will be interested in. For both new and returning customers, it’s important to ensure that shoppers receive personalized suggestions, that their prescription is saved at checkout and that we are consistently recommending new styles and sizes we know will work.
Using visually similar product recommendations with the help of AI to present styles similar to ones a customer has been searching for creates a seamless, memorable online shopping experience — and one that customers are more than happy to return to when they’re craving a new look. Although benchmarks vary from company to company, most ecommerce businesses see somewhere in the range of 25% to 30% of customers return. But at Eyebuydirect, 60% of customers are repeat customers, demonstrating the benefit of creating a personalized experience from start to finish.
3. Give guests the power to make an informed purchase.
Beyond personalized merchandising and recommendations, it’s important to help the customer feel empowered in their own decisions, further decreasing the fear that can lead to decision paralysis. Style quizzes, comprehensive size guides and virtual-try on technology are all tactics that online retailers can employ to help guide their guests to a confident decision. In fact, people who interact with the virtual try-on feature at Eyebuydirect have a 35% higher chance of purchasing.
The Seamless Experience
Personalization at every touch point is what brings customers back time and time again. It’s what helps a brand truly understand its customers and foster loyalty. It comes down to personalized merchandising and recommendations, comprehensive options for every niche style type, artificial intelligence to recommend the right products and giving the power back to the customer to make the right choice for themselves.
By implementing these strategies, brands will be able to more effectively guide their shoppers toward purchase and even keep them coming back for more.
Branden Maes is the Senior Brand Marketing Manager at Eyebuydirect, where he also leads the company’s social media and influencer programs. Over the last two years he has helped double Eyebuydirect’s social media following to 3.1 million and become the first among its competitive set to embrace TikTok. Currently his focus is on growing brand awareness to make Eyebuydirect a household name. In previous roles, Maes led social media and advertising operations at the technology company Active Network, with large clients in the endurance apparel and sports industries across the U.S.