Most offline retailers will say they have a conversion rate in store of 50% or above. The reality is that it is more like a 20-40% average according to Experian Footfall. Disappointing as this is for retailers, it is a lot higher than the average online conversion rate which sits between 1-5%. It is interesting to compare what it is about the physical shopping experience that is yielding a higher conversion rate and a more rewarding bottom line.
How can you make your website perform more like a shop?
How can you harness the benefits of a physical shop on your website? A big part of the solution is in video. One of the major benefits of a physical shop is the availability of staff to answer questions. Having product details and information explained in lay terms (instead of having to read through reams of technical blurb for example) is one reason why many people will leave their computer screens and venture to a shop.
Video can be utilised in ways that can turn your online environment into a more welcoming, interactive and helpful space for your customers.Basically humans respond well to personal, human interaction – we develop trust in others through judgements made on appearance, body language and choice of words. This can all be communicated in a video whereas with a static website you are left to the creative use of language to convince others to trust you.
Here are some of the ways you can use video to achieve this:
Web presenter videos
A web presenter can provide a welcoming face and an introduction to your online shop. They can point visitors in the right direction quickly, avoiding them leaving because they can’t find what they want. We have seen a single web presenter on the homepage achieve as much as a 200% increase in the conversion rate of a website; average is more like 10-20% increase.
Anticipate what issues your customers might have with your products. Then make a video about it! A product demonstration can show your customers how to use your product holistically, or you can have more specific problem buster videos. Check with your customer services team or whoever it is that speaks with customers directly and find out what their concerns are regarding your product/service and make videos that directly address these concerns.
Reviews and testimonials
Just look at Amazon, Zappos and Trip Advisor. Reviews are important because people do take notice of them. Use video to gather customer testimonials or reviews of your products. These should be authentic (don’t fake them, people are not stupid!).
It is not always easy to persuade a customer to do a video testimonial – the timing must be right – just make sure that everyone in your business who interacts with customers is prepped and ready to ask the customer should they find themselves receiving a barrage of praise from a particular customer. The ask could go like this:
“Thank you so much for that feedback – it is incredibly motivational to hear and will encourage us to do even better. By the way – we are currently gathering customer testimonials via short videos and we would be incredibly grateful to you if you wouldn’t mind spending 2 minutes giving an honest and straight forward appraisal of us on camera?”
“If you wouldn’t mind then we can mail you a video camera that you can use and then post back to us in a pre-paid envelope?”
Of course, there are other ways to use all of these methods more creatively. For example you could have a web presenter giving a product demonstration! It all depends on your website, your products and what your goals are. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when formulating a creative solution.
How mobile is changing habits
If you have a smartphone, it is easy to understand how mobile technology is changing shopper habits. We have all heard the tales of high street retailers going bust and closing stores, moving the main portion of their business online, or simply being wiped out by online competitors.
Imagine you want to buy a new laptop. You pop into Curries or PC World and you take a look at the latest models. You can test drive them, find your favourite and then… buy? That old chestnut is a thing of the past. These days, our next step is to take our phones out of our pocket and ‘comparethemarket.com’. We hear it all the time; “I am going to see if I can get it cheaper online”.
The customer journey has changed dramatically. There is no one route to a purchase. This means there is no one place to target your customers with marketing. Businesses now have to consider the experience of their customers at every potential step of the customer journey.
Why are online conversion rates lower?
To come back to the question, why are online conversion rates so much lower than shops, there are a number of reasons. One reason is the choice afforded to us online. Customers literally surf the net and visit lots of online shops. They compare a lot of factors from website design to delivery time, but the main factor is often price.
It is easier to compare like-for-like online. The alternative is tiring – on foot in a shopping centre! I can’t think of anything worse that wandering around the Trafford Centre for hours on end, suffocated by artificial light. I would probably buy the first version of the thing I was looking for. But that’s just me. The point being, time is less of an issue when shopping online.
Another issue is how people come to an online shop. They often find their way there from reading snippets of information on search engines. What this means is that they aren’t 100% sure the shop is relevant to them until they get there. When it isn’t relevant to them, they bounce off, skewing the stats. This highlights the importance of getting your SEO marketing right.
Online and offline industries can definitely learn from each other. Video is most definitely a solution that online retailers can use to improve their conversion rate – it has been proven to work. Offline shops need to seriously think about how to meet the challenges that are being presented by mobile technology.