There is a lot of competition on the net. It is becoming increasingly difficult for online retailers to attract (new) customers and retain existing ones. It’s becoming increasingly critical to know what makes your target audience tick, what they want and where to reach them. The high-turnover target group of heavy online shoppers is particularly interesting. These customers shop online every week, cover more than 50 percent of their purchases online, and represent ca. One third of the total German online sales volume. Amazon is churning out its own heavy online shoppers, the Heavy Amazon Shoppers, u. a. with the help of the unique customer loyalty program Amazon Prime. And how will people shop in the future?? Young, Internet-savvy smartphone owners, the smart natives, give us clues about this.
How can you attract these customer groups, where do you need to target them and by what services and extras can they be inspired? These are the questions addressed in the new study by ECC COLOGNE "Whom will you inspire tomorrow? The DNA of Heavy Online Shoppers, Heavy Amazon Shoppers, and Smart Natives" in collaboration with Hermes, offering guidance for online retailers on customer engagement, marketing, and after-sales services.
The right customer approach via relevant media
Online shoppers are creatures of habit. 71 percent of online shoppers buy from stores they are already customers of and frequent regularly. Engaging online shoppers requires targeting them through the right mediums. Search engines or email newsletters can lead customers to the online store. Heavy online shoppers and smart natives are more likely than average to become aware of online stores via online banner ads or TV commercials. TV spots, banner ads and social media, however, have more of an indirect effect. TV and social networks can be used to spread brand messages of all kinds. Users can be developed into loyal fans with exciting content, brand stories or viral spots. In online stores, the possibilities for emotionalizing brands and products are generally limited in view of the focus on the product range.
A look at the media usage behavior of online shoppers shows: Even though traditional TV is still the number one medium, its importance is declining. Streaming services and time-shifted TV are already consumed significantly more frequently by heavy online shoppers, heavy Amazon shoppers and smart natives than by the average shopper. Social networks, on the other hand, are an integral part of the customer journey, especially among smart natives. 77 percent of young smartphone owners use Facebook daily, 36 percent YouTube and 30 percent Instagram.
Mobile optimization is a must
Particularly in online retail, detailed product descriptions, appealing product images, 360° views or product videos are important for preparing the purchase. A good display for the PC/laptop is no longer sufficient, especially for young and online-savvy shoppers. For example, 25 percent of heavy online shoppers who browse other online stores before making a purchase use their smartphones to do so. 38 percent of smart natives use their smartphones to read product reviews before making a purchase, 57 percent check social media channels before making a purchase via smartphone. The results show: Mobile optimization is no longer optional, but mandatory, especially for young, online-savvy target groups.
Convenience and speed in shipping and delivery required
Shipping and delivery is a key success factor in online retailing, which contributes greatly to customer loyalty. Customer orientation must therefore not end after check-out. Today’s and tomorrow’s customers are particularly enthusiastic about services that guarantee fast, reliable and convenient delivery. Service expectations are rising, especially among heavy online shoppers& Co. Amazon is setting new standards in delivery speed and service that other online retailers will have to live up to. More than 45 percent of heavy Amazon shoppers already expect delivery the day after they place their order or even on the same day, which is a record among German online shoppers. There’s still a gap between desire and reality: actual delivery times are often longer than customers would like. Online retailers must catch up in terms of delivery speed if they are to retain their customers over the long term.
However, it is not only speed that is required, but also flexibility. When ordering online, customers want to be able to decide for themselves when and where the parcel will reach them. Parcel notification, time window delivery or the selection of a preferred delivery location are therefore considered useful by almost three quarters of consumers. Heavy online shoppers also want to be able to change the delivery location after placing their order. 60 percent of heavy online shoppers therefore rate rerouting a delivery as a useful service.
Transparent customer communication inspires
Customers want to be informed about the status of their online orders at all times. Transparent and informative customer communication builds trust and gives customers a sense of control. Currently, online shoppers receive an average of 3.9 pieces of information (z. B. order confirmation or shipping confirmation) in 2.6 individual notifications. At the same time, ca. 90 percent of online shoppers satisfied with this frequency. The most useful features rated by online shoppers are order confirmation, information about the expected delivery date and shipping confirmation. Less desirable from the consumer’s point of view is information on shipment preparation or a request for feedback. Online shoppers prefer to receive notifications via e-mail, with 73 percent preferring to read them on their PCs. Heavy online shoppers and smart natives, however, already use their smartphones much more frequently to check notifications about the status of their online order.
Surprise with shipping packaging
Shipping packaging should first and foremost be safe, environmentally friendly and economical. But customers can be delighted by services you didn’t expect. Beautiful packaging can be the icing on the cake of an online order. Appealing packaging material or a surprising arrangement of the goods inside can create a positive shopping experience. Heavy online shoppers in particular appreciate attractive packaging.