The #1 Thing Holding Back Ecommerce Conversion (And What You Can Do About It)
Consumers today are overwhelmed with choice. Their ability to both find the right products for them and feel confident in making final purchase decisions is at an all-time low.
New brands, product lines and special offers bombard the social feeds and inboxes of consumers on a daily basis. Every new brand message and every new SKU adds up to one critical blocker for your brand: consumers are getting “paralysis by analysis” almost every single time they shop.
Giving consumers confidence in what you offer them is the key to overcoming limited ecommerce conversion – something that often hovers between 1 and 2%. Brands and retailers often try to personalize their way out of this problem, but by using “algorithmic” methods of targeting and product presentation, they’re very often only adding to the work consumers need to do as they make their final purchase decisions.
As confidence suffers, more consumers are choosing to not engage with brands, all while waving their hands and demanding personalized experiences that make it easier to decide what to buy. By talking to consumers in order to provide them with personalized advice, recommendations and the ability to better evaluate the products you offer, you can amplify your ecommerce efforts and improve conversion in ways never before thought possible.
Why Consumer Confidence Suffers
Consumers have more choices than ever before. It’s estimated that the average consumer gets 10,000 branded messages each day, and consumers are increasingly distrustful of the ads they see. There are 1.3 million ecommerce brands in North America alone, and new information sources like influencer marketing have quadrupled in size over the last 3 years alone.
This flow of both information and choice – along with the growth of mobile commerce – has led to upheaval in retail and caused some to question whether the traditional advertising industry even need exist. Consumers are overwhelmed by an environment where every channel they engage with, from network TV to their local micro-influencer, is nudging them towards a new product or brand.
In the beauty industry, 70% of consumers are overwhelmed by product choices and 63% are confused by product claims. Beauty is a leading indicator for many of the ecommerce problems other industries face, but it isn’t the only one. In the apparel industry, consumers take more time when they shop online compared to in-store, and they make more stops in the process of evaluating their decisions.
These online shoppers take more time to evaluate products, do more comparison shopping and, 57% of the time, don’t make purchases on the website where they first began their shopping journey. More often than not, the consumers you work so hard to acquire and get on site are choosing to make their final purchase somewhere else. Failing to properly assist and advise them is a key blocker that gets in the way of you making these critical conversions.
Why Consumers Choose Not To Engage With Brands
While consumers often lack confidence in what brands are offering them, they are also beginning to expect more from the shopping experiences offered to them by brands. 52% of online shoppers reported that they’ve stopped shopping on a brand website due to a poor site experience.
For any digital-savvy brand marketer this, of course, shouldn’t come as a surprise. The early days of the “mobile revolution” have gradually given way to more convenience and assistance than ever before. As mobile penetration has reached its height, voice assistants, messaging apps and connected devices have begun to occupy more space in the homes and lives of the modern shopper.
So, amidst their daily grind, the digital devices consumers use are providing them with more instant, personalized and proactive assistance than ever before. If you got instant responsiveness when you check social media, watch a TV show, message your friends or just want to turn the lights on in your house, wouldn’t you expect the same kind of responsiveness when interacting with a brand that wants to sell you something?
67% of consumers say that connected processes are very important to winning their business, and 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember and provide relevant offers and recommendations. Mobile searches using the term “for me”, “best” or modified by a specific term (e.g. “shampoo for highlighted hair”) have all grown between 60 and 130% in recent years.
These aren’t fast-fading fads. Consumers are taking action to personalize their own experiences, setting the stage for a fundamentally new era of consumer expectations that is a direct response to all the choices they face. What’s more, they’re personalizing their experiences by proactively seeking out the best choices for them – something that traditional tracking, targeting and inference-based personalization simply can’t measure up to.
How Purchase Decisions Become Complicated
While consumers have already navigated a myriad of influences just to arrive at your ecommerce website, that is only the beginning of a much more intense and demanding journey: the process through which they discover and evaluate products, ultimately deciding what’s the right one for them.
This is the make-it-or-break-it moment for all your marketing efforts. The frequency with which your consumers purchase influence your ROAS, your overall ROI and the lifetime value you generate for your brand. Without maximizing the ability of your ecommerce site to perform, you risk throwing your entire marketing plan out the window without knowing if it really works. Yet, more often than not, brands don’t have strong visibility or ability to influence how consumers discover and evaluate products.
By leaving consumers to browse product pages on their own with every possible piece of information displayed, they’re forced to navigate through large volumes of irrelevant information before finding what’s right for them. Do they need to know the dining cashback policies of a credit card when they’re most interested in travel rewards? Do they need to know every benefit of an anti-aging cream when they’re really just looking for a way to reduce the bags under their eyes?
If consumers are always forced to do all their shopping themselves, then it’s only a matter of time before they’re going to take a break. Relying exclusively on their own ability to navigate both the needs they have and how products can address them is simply too much work. In these kinds of situations, expert guidance, advice, recommendations – along with the ability to evaluate products – can shortcut the work required by the consumer and make it easier to sell them more of the right products.
Giving Your Consumers Confidence In Your Products
Conversational landing pages, virtual product advisors and similar conversational AI-based solutions are the best tools you can use to personalize your ecommerce experience and make it easier for your consumers to shop. Instead of leaving consumers to do all the work themselves, these experiences can proactively ask questions, provide recommendations and allow consumers to consider whether products are right for them.
This is even more crucial a service for brands and retailers that offer anything more than a handful of SKUs. The work required to reach a final purchase decision grows with each new option they offer consumers. While offering a wide range of products appeals to a larger number of consumers, offering this kind of assistance can eliminate the downsides that come with the “paralysis by analysis” so many face when they shop.
After asking relevant questions about what needs, problems and concerns consumers have, these solutions can use AI to provide the best possible recommendation to each consumer. After delivering recommendations, these solutions can also help consumers evaluate products by telling them why it’s right for them. By being able to consider products in this way, brands not only increase the add-to-cart rates of their ecommerce interactions, but can generate 30% higher average revenue per user than traditional ecommerce experiences.
These kinds of conversations also generate unique, declared insights that enable consumers to have more confidence and trust in your brand as a whole – no guessing, no assuming, no algorithm-only personalization. Instead of feeling like they’re being watched and followed, you can enable every consumers to tell you exactly what they need and further offer them products that truly reflect those needs.
How Conversational AI is Changing Ecommerce
40% of leaders who’ve deployed conversational assistants have done so for sales and marketing, but for future planned projects, that number is at 53%. The ability of conversational AI to better personalize ecommerce experiences is rapidly becoming a norm that more ecommerce brands and retailers are seeking to satisfy. By 2023, Conversational AI will be responsible for more than $112 billion in annual retail sales, doubling every year from here on out.
So, why not wait out those 4 years? Well, it’s not just the sales that happen through conversational AI that matter, but the sales, data and stronger customer relationships you’ll be missing out on by giving your consumers more confidence in your brand and its products. When opportunity knocks, is there really ever a good reason not to open the door?
Book a Demo with Automat to learn how to talk to your consumers, find the right products for them and sell them more