The Performance Beacon

The web performance, analytics, and optimization blog

What today’s customers want from online retailers

Today’s e-commerce retailers spend a considerable amount of time and resources just to gain insights into one very important factor: What is it that customers want?

Customer demands have considerably shifted in recent years. Now, consumers want more than just the ability to purchase items and sign up for services through online portals. They are also looking for increased personalization as well as an end-user experience that is efficient, enjoyable and successful.

In order to figure out the answer to this critical question, we examined several recent studies that shed light on three key things today’s consumers are looking for from their favorite e-commerce brands.

1. Mobile capabilities

“Studies show online shoppers are driven to connect with retailers on the mobile platform due to ease of use and additional discounts.”

Mobile capabilities have become an integral part of e-commerce, enabling consumers to research, shop and make purchases from their handheld hardware from nearly anywhere – including within retailer’s brick-and-mortar locations. According to a recent study from PricewaterhouseCoopers, online shoppers are driven to connect with retailers on the mobile platform due to ease of use and additional discounts. However, many users feel uncomfortable with the way brands leverage consumer mobile devices for location targeting.

The survey found that over half – 52 percent – of survey participants opted to utilize online channels because they saw more discounts and specials, lowering the ultimate price of their purchases. Another 47 percent chose to shop online because e-commerce allows for round-the-clock transactions, whereas brick-and-mortar locations have specific service hours during which purchases can be made.

The study also discovered that online shopping allowed consumers to do their research before finalizing their transaction with a specific brand. For instance, when looking for a certain product, shoppers can check competitor prices through online channels. This is a capability that 45 percent of survey participants enjoy.

At the same time, however, the study also discovered that only about one-third of those surveyed saw the benefits of mobile phone location targeting. Although this enables retailers to offer specific coupons and deals when users were near a store site, many customers found it invasive.

2. Cross-channel offerings 

In addition, PwC researchers found that online channels weren’t only used for making purchases. In fact, more than half of survey participants – 65 percent – noted that they only research and browse for items online. After examining the products through e-commerce channels, these consumers head to brick-and-mortar locations to carry out their transactions to avoid shipping costs.

This illustrates how online channels – including a company’s website and mobile app – can be utilized to connect with different types of customers,  including those that prefer purchasing products in-store. In order to ensure that all customers have an enjoyable experience, however, retailers must guarantee the robust performance of their available channels. One of the most beneficial ways to do this is through performance and load testing, which can allow brands to gain insights about their online presence and bolster the performance of their websites and mobile apps.

“Customers will spend more with a brand when their shopping experience isn’t just the run-of-the-mill.”

3. A personalized shopping experience 

In addition to prioritizing online and mobile channels, recent research shows that personalization is now a main goal for many brands. In fact, a study from MyBuys showed that customers spend more when their shopping experience isn’t run-of-the-mill.

In particular, the survey found that more than half – 53 percent – of consumers will make higher value transactions with retailers that utilize past browsing or purchasing behaviors to recommend products.

“Consumers want consistent personalization everywhere they shop and on every device they use,” noted Rita Brogley, MyBuys president and CEO. “By incorporating more tailored content and offers into their marketing strategies, retailers can improve brand loyalty, boost conversion and increase sales. Consumers engage and shop more when they receive a truly personalized shopping experience across all channels.”

How SOASTA can help

This trend also shines a spotlight on the importance of providing an enjoyable user experience across all Web and mobile platforms. In order to successfully offer a custom shopping experience, retailers must ensure that the performance and page load times of their websites and apps are up to par. By testing these platforms with the industry-leading solutions from SOASTA, companies can see exactly where performance problems are occurring, and can work to mitigate these issues. With a robustly performing website and app available, businesses are in a better position to provide the personalization that today’s customers are seeking.

To find out more about website and application performance testing, contact SOASTA today.

SOASTA Marketing

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SOASTA Marketing

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