A lot of things look different in 2021. With an uncertain year that fueled the acceleration of online adoption, the increased interest in services like Click & Collect, and the understanding of the importance of robust last-mile solutions, customer expectations have come a long way.
Do customer expectations look different in 2021? Aside from retailers’ expectations providing a secure, fast and reliable online presence, a momentous change has been customer loyalty. “Customer loyalty looks substantially different this year,” said Mac Wang, Head of ANZ at Stripe. “Australians moved online in spades throughout the pandemic, which not only shifted their shopping habits but also broadened their exposure to more brands.”
The initial announcement of the pandemic sent shockwaves through businesses. Those that had already built an e-commerce platform had to rely solely on it to survive, while other businesses that had to pivot were forced to learn the ins and outs of e-commerce over the span of a few weeks. “With more online shoppers, comes increased online competition — between March and June last year, Stripe supported an additional 10,000 new businesses on its platform in Australia, indicating just how many companies tuned into the online economy throughout the pandemic,” Wang explained.
In-store conversion rates are far different from online. Cart abandonment rates online are approximately 75 percent, with three out of four shoppers failing to commit to a sale. How can retailers overcome this? “A key area to support customer loyalty is making the “cart” near-invisible,” Wang explained. “Consider ways or tools like Stripe, to make this experience as seamless as possible; accept seamless payment methods like Apple Pay and Google Pay, autofill customer details from their browser, especially if they’ve shopped with you before, and ensure the actual act of checking out is as simple as hitting ‘checkout’.”
New to E-Commerce? Check This Out
For retailers that are new to the e-commerce game, how can they increase overall customer loyalty? While it may seem as though they are behind in the development of loyalty, Wang explains that they actually have an advantage. “For new retailers, they’ve got a clean slate to deliver a high-quality customer experience from the beginning of their online journey,” he told Power Retail.
Back to Basics
For retailers fresh to the e-commerce scene, they need to focus on the basics and not overcomplicate things. Keeping a ‘sharp eye’ on the checkout experience is imperative. Using tools like Squarespace, Shopify, Magento, or BigCommerce are great starting points to leverage the right tools for growth and loyalty.
The Secrets to Successful Subscriptions
“Secondly, consider your business model as a way of attracting customer loyalty. Another option is to offer your product or service as a subscription,” Wang explained. “The subscription model saw a significant rise in interest while COVID-19 took a hold of the retail industry, and of the 15 percent of customers who receive subscription products, 35 percent subscribe to three or more services. It’s a great model to safeguard you and your business from the fluctuations of today’s economic climate, and there’s a healthy array of subscription services worth considering.”
What has changed after the pandemic? Well, what hasn’t changed? As Aussie shoppers adapt to the online world, it proves that the country can adopt new practices rapidly and without friction. “Customers have become more accustomed to shopping online than ever before, which also means ‘shopping around’ for similar products on different sites, and this is only going to continue to increase as we welcome more entrants into the market,” said Wang.
So, what is one thing that retailers need to understand about customer loyalty in a post-pandemic world?
“With more options available than ever before, customer loyalty is going to be key to maintaining market share, a strong market presence and driving results. Without this, businesses won’t have the resources to continue to innovate in the digital space,” Wang explained.
Like this story? Click here to find out more about Power Retail E-Commerce Intelligence or here to sign-up for the free weekly Pulse Newsletter for more essential online retail content.