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The retail industry operates in an increasingly digital world. Research undertaken in 2017 tells us that 77% of UK adults said they had purchased goods or services online, compared to 53% in 2008. And, of those mobile shoppers who had bought something online, 93% said they had purchased from UK sellers.
Around four out of five UK adults—approximately 37 million people—now have smartphones, meaning the vast majority have the ability to browse and buy wherever they are. While the younger generations have grown up knowing nothing but the ability to shop online, older people are gradually changing their habits in order to embrace e-commerce.
According to KPMG research, baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are now the generation that spends the most money online, while Generation X consumers (born between 1965 and 1980) make around 20% more purchases than millennials.
So, with people of all ages venturing online to spend their money, what should companies do to attract, and subsequently retain, consumers? Here are five things all retailers must provide to meet customers’ needs and keep them coming back.
Like all customers, mobile shoppers are voluntarily giving you attention. It is the role of the retailer to make them feel welcome and wanted. This means simplifying the purchasing journey and giving them all the information they need to make decisions. Learning what they like to buy and finding ways of preempting their shopping decisions will make the experience far easier and will likely lead to customer retention.
Functionality is key. Basic things like having a search function, making all pages easy to navigate, and supplying all relevant information can make a huge difference. Also, a dedicated app can make the shopping experience easier for the consumer and allow the retailer to send push notifications and build a relationship.
Mobile users want you to understand their individual needs, tastes, and interests. When they arrive on your site, make sure you remember them from previous visits. Show them the latest version of a line they browsed in the past, for instance. Or, if you launch a sale that matches their past purchasing habits, send them an email, and perhaps offer a discount code to entice them. Direct marketing in this way can be incredibly effective.
It’s not enough to get mobile users to "like" or "follow" your brand; you have to give them reasons to keep paying attention. Offer them exclusive deals from your social media, or simply post content that they genuinely want to engage with. Establishing a connection with your audience is vital to your long-term success; it can set you apart from your competitors and will encourage customer loyalty.
The recent expansion of next-day—or sometimes one-hour—delivery services is changing customer expectations. More consumers now want instant gratification, and this is something many retailers are embracing.
However, research by Deloitte has found that 88% of shoppers still prefer free shipping to fast shipping, so this is also something to consider. The key, as always, is giving your consumers what they want. If a customer visits your site but cannot find exactly what they want, they won’t wait for you to improve; they’ll simply go elsewhere.
Originally published on May 21st, 2018, last updated on June 22nd, 2022.