Adapt your conversion strategies to cross-channel shopper motivations

Paul Tiedt | Sep 25, 2018 Paul Tiedt 09/25/18

When customers experience disjointed channels, they see a disconnected brand. And if the stats are any indication, they’ve been seeing a lot of disconnected brands lately. While 73% of consumers use multiple channels during their shopping journey, only 8% of companies say they currently provide a “very integrated” customer experience (Hubspot). So why are brands lagging behind customers’ cross-channel expectations?

Part of the reason is it’s difficult to build effective conversion strategies without first understanding the customers you’re trying to convert. While we already profiled the 4 main types of cross-channel shoppers, this second post in our three-part blog series breaks down what motivates cross-channel shoppers to visit your brand’s website.

There are a lot of factors driving your web traffic

One of the reasons it’s so critical (and difficult) to make sure your website measures up to customers’ expectations is that it’s essentially an unstaffed digital storefront—open to the public 24/7. It’s telling your brand’s story, relaying important information around things like promotions and store locations/hours, and hopefully moving customers through the purchase funnel. Unlike your physical storefronts—where associates can identify and meet customer needs with a simple greeting—you have to make sure your website accommodates any and every customer intent as intuitively as possible. And there’s a broad range of motivations to cover.

Factors driving web traffic

Notice that the two most commonly reported motivations for website visits—to check availability and to compare prices—indicate that a purchase decision is imminent. That means even if your website is hitting the mark elsewhere, hard-to-find products and subpar search functionality will hamper e-commerce sales.

Cross-channel shopping rates + motivations vary across segments

Of course, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all strategy to something as complex as cross-channel conversion. Just like customers have varying needs, different segments see unique behaviors. For example, not only are customers more likely to engage multiple touchpoints for department store brands compared to specialty retailers by nearly a 2:1 margin, but their reasons for turning to digital touchpoints vary in significant ways.

Cross-channel shopping rates

Whereas specialty retail customers tend to be more product-oriented—mostly using the website to check availability and compare prices—department store customers are more likely to also be more interested in general brand offerings, searching for coupons/promotions and checking for new arrivals. Knowing, and adapting to, those subtle nuances can be the difference between customers reaching your checkout or opening a new tab to navigate to your competitor’s website.

Motivations play a big part in determining whether customers make an intended in-store purchase

One of the more interesting insights from our cross-channel research is how the website experience impacts in-store purchase conversion rates. While we’ll explore those impacts in detail in our final blog of the series, you can see the two most commonly cited motivations (to check availability and to compare prices) also are among the worst in terms of purchase conversion. And they’re actually measures brands can control.

In-store purchase conversion rates

It’s possible some of those customers bailed on intended in-store purchases because items marked as available online were actually out of stock. But it seems more likely that non-purchasers may be visiting your website on their phones because either 1) they’re not seeing what they want on the shelves or 2) they’re seeing it, but looking for a better price point. Brands that consider Buy In-Store, Home Delivery options and price matching could potentially convert these browsers into buyers.

Don’t wait for this whole Amazon thing to blow over—start measuring + acting across channels

E-commerce obviously isn’t going anywhere, but neither is in-store shopping. In fact, a recent KPMG report revealed that when compared to Baby Boomers, millennials are 50% more likely to visit a store during the consideration stage and 30% more likely to buy directly from retailers’ websites. But if you’re going to benefit, you have to measure continuously and act consistently in order to identify and eliminate potential points of friction. SMG partners with 25% of the National Retail Federation’s Top 100 brands—using behavioral data and customer feedback collected from in-store visits and digital interactions to help sync up strategies and increase conversion.

To learn more about our research on cross-channel shopping, download the full report: 3 things every retailer needs to know about cross-channel shoppers

Paul Tiedt | VP, Client Insights
Customer Experience Update