In May, the Harvard Business Review reported that consumers are not seeking a relationship with brands they love online but instead are seeking coupons, discounts and comparative shopping.
This may come as a shock to online brand managers who, according to the Decision Simplicity Report, often assume consumers want a relationship and are simply seeking information to remain informed.
In person relationships remain key for consumers actually in your retail shop, hotel or business, but online it is an entirely different story.
The Harvard Business Review researchers said most businesses are over stimulating customers with too many shopping options and making shopping decisions more difficult rather than easy.
Listen up, because there is an answer. Use the Decision-Simplicity approach explained by Harvard Business Review to create a simpler online decision making process.
Decision-Simplicity means to “keep it simple stupid,” essentially giving consumers only what they seek with a few key approaches.
How an e-commerce website’s checkout is built truly affects a consumer’s experience and the likelihood that consumer will shop with your website again. An e-commerce site, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a website that sells products online with an online payment system.
Brands that scored in the top quarter of the study were 86 percent more likely than those in the bottom quarter to be purchased by consumers.
The rising volume of marketing messages and complicated decision making process pushes consumers away.
The report gives three effective tactics for simplifying online checkouts to boost sales.
Minimize the number of information sources consumers must touch as they move towards a purchase
Provide trustworthy product information including outside sources
Offer tools on your website allowing consumers to compare products (like Verizon, Sprint and AT&T do on their sites for cell phones and calling plans)
The first point is to simplify information and be courageous enough to provide just what the consumer needs not every single fact about a product.
Make sure information is trustworthy. For example, a site posting reviews from the company’s own Yelp account would deliver unfettered information while Consumer Reports might provide expert opinions. Manufacturer information may give way to important detail, but uncensored reviews encourage sales.
Marketing trustworthy information could be fun. Post unfettered product reviews online or run a contest for the best YouTube video product review.
Offer comparison tools like those offered on Travelocity’s website, where consumers can compare one product with another and draw their own conclusion on which is the better buy. This empowers the consumers to make the decision and may help decrease product returns.
View the full Harvard Business Review Article: To Keep Customers, Keep It Simple by visiting http://goo.gl/l6qll. You are welcome to provide comments and tips online at http://goo.gl/vznfn.
Camden Smith, owner of DREAMFly Marketing LLC, has more than eight years expertise in branding and marketing strategy and 13 years in public relations. Formerly a WINK-TV reporter, Smith is an award-winning PR strategist and lives in Naples with her husband. Visit Smith at http://dreamflymarketing.com