Roadmap to Checkout: Putting Visitors at the Heart of the Buying Experience
We all see the shift happening in eCommerce right now but how is the buying experience itself being affected? New ways to shop online are emerging and the market is more competitive than ever, but one thing persists – the customer knows best.
You, me, we’re all seeing the same things.
LinkedIn is ravaged with ‘eCommerce is growing exponentially!’ posts.
Tech blogs preach how ‘the pandemic is pushing digital to new levels!’
Sales pros educating all of us ‘in these unprecedented times!’
The story is everywhere.
While all of these points are valid, we’re craving actual solutions.
Instead of prognosticating over what online sales are going to be in 2024, how will the buying experience adapt to meet the demand of its’ shoppers today?
What can brands do right now to ignite their online shopping and outsmart their competitors?
Let’s first take a look at what the landscape currently looks like.
eCommerce competition hits new high in 2020
Now more than ever (doing my best impression of ‘unprecedented times’), brands need to work hard on separating themselves from the competition. Nonetheless, remaining innovative while battling everlasting competition is easier said than done.
According to BigCommerce, 48% of online product searches in the U.S. begin on Amazon. Couple that with the reality you most likely aren’t the only store selling in your vertical – and you begin to understand just how competitive selling online is.
To stand out, your site experience has to be intuitive and engaging. As a brand, you want to evoke a positive response in your shopper. It can be a multitude of things. The ultimate response is providing the shopper with the perfect product(s) they love.
However, providing them with the perfect product might not be enough these days to keep them coming back. Your brand needs to connect with its shoppers in a way that other brands don’t.
How tech makes online shopping more fun
86% of customers with great purchasing experiences will likely buy from the same company again.
Thankfully for eCommerce brands, there are myriad companies out there pioneering new and cutting-edge digital products to help guide the shopper on their journey to purchasing. This is what we will call the roadmap to checkout.
Here are 5 products that deliver a brand experience, not only ahead of the curve but delivers results now.
Google’s new push into video-selling to take on Instagram and TikTok just might have what it takes to compete in the space. As described by The Next Web, Shoploop “is like a telemarketing channel for influencers.”
While that might sound like a headache, the functionality and strategy of the application could provide massive upsides for sellers. Shoploop videos are, at maximum, 90-second video clips with creators detailing specific products.
Keeping a 90-second limit keeps the core focus on the product that is being reviewed. Like on most platforms, creators can then be followed, and their videos shared. If a user on Shoploop likes the video and/or product, they can either save it or be linked to the item’s website to make a purchase.
Google isn’t new to consumerism. They have Google Shopping, YouTube with millions of product review videos, and Google Ads as a stronghold competing against Facebook Ads. Put these all together and you’ll find that it makes plenty of sense on how Shoploop is formed.
Having your product promoted in Shoploop is one way to drive real time social backing and an efficient way to drive traffic to your site. While the app is currently only servicing the beauty space such as makeup, skincare, hair and nails; the potential for all verticals seems undeniable.
Everyone knows the concept of Instagram and Snapchat stories. AMP’s Web Stories provides any company the opportunity to build flawless stories. When used in eCommerce, Web Stories can give shoppers a sense of belonging to a brand while facilitating a more confident road to checkout.
Adding Web Stories to your eCommerce site can be an immersive way to promote the meaning behind a product or your brand. It will also reduce a site’s bounce rate and capture important data points.
Web Stories can demonstrate a number of captivating segments shoppers would find exhilarating. Examples could range from how products are sustainably made, the specific product’s practical use, or can detail the history of a brand and what you are purchasing from.
Sprinkled in these Web Stories can be call to action buttons to take the shopper to a product page; or if found on another medium, to your site.
Companies can develop Web Stories to show their shoppers inspiring videos, imagery, with text overlaid (if needed) in an easily digestible manner. Per AMP’s website,
“Web Stories are built with visually rich media…images and videos expand to visually fill the readers’ screens, providing a smooth and fully engaging experience.”
You can then continue on to adding facts and figures that drive home information you want to convey. The use of short audio files can also be applied to any page, whether this be music, soundbites, or narration.
The use of Web Stories appropriately guides the shopper through a process of connecting with not only their potential purchase but the brand itself. See an example here.
Fashion is changing significantly these days. An industry bogged down by high-return rates, sustainability issues, and extreme competition creates a tough landscape for many. Coronavirus was just an added cherry on top.
Forma, a ‘tryon technology’ that allows shoppers to see themselves in clothing digitally, is providing a new way for consumers to shop for clothing helping to alleviate many of the issues the fashion industry sees currently. On the road to checkout, shoppers build confidence by seeing themselves personally in clothing items from a brand’s catalogue.
Forma contributes positively on the road to checkout in a couple ways; as an app and by integrating into eCommerce sites (see example).
Within the Forma app, brands can submit their clothing where users can digitally try on items on photos of themselves, friends, or family. A user is able to mix + match tops from different brands to shop multiple brands at once- ultimately becoming a stylist in the process. If a user wants to purchase an item or explore a brand more deeply, the item on Forma will link out to the brand’s website.
When integrating onto an eCommerce website, a brand ultimately has their own in-house digital dressing room. Here, shoppers can again upload a photo of themselves to try on clothing throughout the site.
A brand can also supply a range of alternative models that shoppers can choose from if they would like to see an item on someone who more accurately represents their ethnicity or body size. With Forma integrated, brands are seeing increased engagement, conversions, and time spent onsite.
Shopify AR (Augmented Reality)
Imagine being able to see how that new couch would look in your living room before actually bringing it home? Shopify AR wants to give customers the power to bring online shopping to life and make it more immersive.
It’s like turning an eCommerce store into a video game.
By helping shoppers get a truer sense of the size, scale, and detail of a product, Shopify merchants can increase buyer confidence. Not to mention, it makes the whole shopping experience more fun and engaging.
TikTok has exploded this year, and with so many new stars on the platform, it’s only natural that viewers will want to buy their stuff.
Now you can with TikTok Shoppable Feed by Vop, available on the Shopify App Store.
The app lets TikTok people curate their feeds, tag products, and even have a dedicated feed page. They can also pull videos from any hashtags and when influencers are using or wearing their product.
Elevate your customer experience today
With a world gone digital, and everyone able to now sell online, as an eCommerce brand you need to have a compelling, relevant experience on the road to checkout to ensure your customers will return.
Here are a few questions that should help you get started:
- Is shopping on your site engaging (even fun)?
- Can visitors ‘try’ your product before buying?
- Have you explored selling on social media?
- How can you make shopping more individual?
- Are you tracking the most relevant data?
While it has never been more competitive to sell online, there has never been a better time to explore emerging technologies that will put your visitors at the heart of the buying experience.
The first step is to figure out what really draws people to your brand, then you can start expanding it further. What do your customers like to see? How do they want to pay? What kind of emotions do they feel when browsing your site? The more answers you have, the more you increase the chances of standing out from the crowd and winning customers.
Having an eCommerce site by itself isn’t enough to make a splash anymore. Unless you are Drake (he’s a famous rap artist, you may have heard of him). Then you can start a candle line and, I imagine, it’ll do just fine.
About Lichota Seidewand
Lichota is the Head of Business Innovation at Forma. Having a passion for globalization and people, Lichota enjoys working in high-paced digital roles that solve unique problems with technology. In his spare time, he spends his time being outside and active. Whether that is skiing, surfing, or traveling – you can always find him on the move.