Shopping never stops evolving, especially eCommerce. Consumers expectations have never been higher and brands are constantly on the lookout for ways to elevate their online shopping experiences.
And with good reason. eCommerce sales are up by 44% with over $861B spent in 2020 — in the United States alone.
As the demand for online shopping increases, many brick and mortar brands are struggling to transition fast enough. So what is it about eCommerce that shoppers love so much? And is there anything brands should know as they develop online shopping experiences?
Let’s explore the ins and outs of online shopping with the top seven things consumers love, and hate, about eCommerce.
✅ CONSUMERS LOVE FAST, FREE SHIPPING
A major critique of online shopping is shipping. Hidden shipping delays or expenses are a huge turn-off for online customers of any generation, and clever brands are aware of this. Businesses that can keep shipping expenses down (or eliminate them from the consumer-end entirely) and speed up delivery times are more likely to earn repeat shoppers.
✅ CONSUMERS LOVE PERSONALIZED RECOMMENDATIONS
Brands like UNTUCKit and Ted Baker use clienteling to personalize the online shopping experience. Clienteling introduces a one-on-one relationship between brands and their shoppers, much like the IRL shopping space but through text, email, and DMs.
Consider a repeat brick and mortar shopper, and their relationship with the storefront’s beauty advisor. The advisor can recommend products, sizes, and colors in real-time — this brings shoppers closer to the products they crave. Clienteling does this virtually and the more you personalize product recommendations, the better your shoppers’ experiences are.
✅ CONSUMERS LOVE STREAMLINED EXPERIENCES
There’s nothing quite like being a repeat IRL shopper. They know where everything is, they have a relationship with in-store advisors, and they might even get rewards for their purchases. Online merchants who can mirror this in the digital space find success — after all, shopping should be fun and exciting, not painful and challenging.
✅ CONSUMERS LOVE PRICE COMPARISONS
Comparing prices IRL is much harder than comparing them online. With a few clicks, shoppers discover deals, uncover coupon codes, and make decisions purely based on price. It’s thrilling for consumers, so much so that 80% of shoppers say they compare prices online before purchasing.
✅ CONSUMERS LOVE EASY CHECKOUTS
If your checkout process is too long or too hard, you’ll lose shoppers. In fact, 87% of online shoppers claim they abandon their carts if checkout isn’t easy, and 55% of them won’t ever return again. Brands that invest in clear, easy-to-follow checkout instructions invest in their shoppers’ experiences, and it pays off.
✅ CONSUMERS LOVE RARE PRODUCT FINDS
This is especially true for luxury brands and brands with cult favorites. Loyal shoppers live to find limited edition palettes or exclusive offers. This connects brands and consumers for life, and online shopping makes it easier for consumers to check availability across countless merchants from the comfort of their own homes.
✅ CONSUMERS LOVE SKIPPING LINES
Easily one of the most beloved features of online shopping: no lines, no queues, no waiting. Online shopping gives consumers the complete freedom to shop how and when they want, with fewer obstacles between them and the products they love.
🚫 CONSUMERS HATE FORCED EMAIL SIGN-UPS
Imagine a skincare brick-and-mortar storefront that requires shoppers to hand over personal information before they step inside. That storefront wouldn’t be in business very long. Yet online merchants hide website features and products behind email walls (meaning, shoppers can’t access important parts of a website unless they provide an email address). Instead, work on building trust and let your shoppers browse online the way they’d browse in-store.
🚫 CONSUMERS HATE INCESSANT EMAILS
It’s important to maintain your relationship with shoppers. But it’s another thing to spam their inboxes. Shoppers subscribe to email lists because they want updates, announcements, and access to exclusive deals.
What they don’t want is an influx of nonstop emails that don’t provide actual value — it comes across as pushy and invasive. Try to time your marketing emails so that they land in a shopper’s inbox at the right time, not every time.
🚫 CONSUMERS HATE NOT SEEING PRODUCTS UP CLOSE
Apparel, cosmetics, and skincare products look and feel different for every shopper. A particular dress cut may look fabulous on the model in the product photo, but it may not translate perfectly to consumers. This is why shoppers try things on and test — it removes doubt.
So how do luxury apparel and cosmetic companies accommodate this need? The answer is clienteling and live shopping. Clienteling bridges the gap between beauty experts and shoppers because it opens up a direct line of communication. Shoppers who need help choosing a shade, cut, or size can consult advisors with access to the actual product. Meanwhile, live shopping lets multiple shoppers see products in real-time simultaneously.
🚫 CONSUMERS HATE INCORRECT INVENTORY
This is a two-part issue. First, shoppers don’t like when they order a product only to find out that it’s on backorder. Second, they don’t like when they add an item to their cart and it’s marked as out-of-stock upon checkout.
These are issues that in-store shoppers don’t face because what’s out on the floor is what’s available for purchase. Make sure your online inventory is always up-to-date, and take a moment to enact systems that ensure shoppers aren’t disappointed as they pull out their credit cards.
🚫 CONSUMERS HATE DIFFICULT RETURNS
Shoppers get to test products in brick and mortar storefronts — they don’t online. And if returns, exchanges, or refunds aren’t easy for online shoppers, they feel stuck with a product they can’t use. An effective way to remove the risk associated with online shopping is to make returns as effortless as possible, and educate shoppers on the returns process. Transparency is critical here. The more information you can provide upfront, the better your shoppers’ experience will be.
🚫 CONSUMERS HATE DECEITFUL PHOTOS
Consumers only have so many ways to make a decision when they shop online which is why product photos are critical. They have to be realistic and show as much detail as possible.
Put simply, shoppers want the delivered product to match what they saw online — and if your product photos are misleading, this breaks trust and breeds disappointment.
🚫 CONSUMERS HATE POOR-QUALITY PRODUCTS
A major reason why shoppers head to brick and mortar locations is to verify product quality. Whether your business offers cosmetics or apparel, consumers want to test it and see it in action — in particular, this validates higher price points.
Since shoppers can’t easily test this online, it’s up to live shopping experts to demonstrate quality. You can showcase models wearing apparel in real-time, run a demo with different makeup looks, and so on to curate a better online shopping experience.
eCommerce embraces experience
From start to finish, eCommerce is about the shopping experience. Consumers want all the benefits of in-store shopping, plus online convenience: fast shipping, no lines, easy returns, quality products, and streamlined processes.
eCommerce runs like a well-oiled machine if it’s done correctly. And that machine builds lasting relationships and trust with shoppers.
Learn more about how beauty, skincare, and fashion brands partner with HERO® to enhance the eCommerce experience for every consumer.