Don’t let subpar ecommerce experiences hurt in-store conversion rates

Charlie Moore | Oct 25, 2018 Charlie Moore 10/25/18

In the age of cross-channel shopping, no touchpoint exists in a vacuum—and customers have elevated expectations for integrated brand experiences. With 73% of consumers using multiple channels during their shopping journey, single-channel excellence is no longer enough. And that’s putting an unprecedented amount of pressure on retailers to revisit every touchpoint with a critical eye toward how effectively it moves customers through the purchase funnel.

To help brands understand the connection between two of their most critical touchpoints—e-commerce channels and brick-and-mortar locations—we used SurveyMini® to trigger visit-detected surveys to nearly 16,000 consumers about their cross-channel habits following an in-store shopping trip. Having already profiled the 4 main types of cross-channel shoppers and explored their segment-specific motivations, this final blog in our 3-part series breaks down how website performance impacts in-store conversion.

There’s a direct correlation between website satisfaction + in-store conversion

The biggest headline: a bad e-commerce experience lingers long after customers close out their browsers. Our study revealed 80% of customers who were highly satisfied with a retailer’s website purchased as much as, or more than, intended during their in-store visit. While conversion rates drop significantly for customers who were merely satisfied with the website, they take a nosedive for less-than-satisfactory e-commerce experiences.


That should set off some major alarm bells for retailers, because our study also showed that 72% of cross-channel shoppers turn to the website before their in-store visit. That means if those digital interactions didn’t meet their expectations, you’re facing an uphill battle to win the sale before they even walk through your doors. 

Purchase conversion rates vary across website visit types

While there are obviously a lot of factors impacting purchase conversion rates, there are some interesting correlations with the timing of the website visit. The 72% of cross-channel shoppers that visit the website leading up to the in-store visit most likely do so to prepare for their shopping trip. It makes sense then that they convert at the highest rate, with 36% purchasing as much as intended and 20% purchasing more than intended.


What’s really interesting is that group of customers who bailed on an intended purchase—particularly those who visited during their in-store shopping trip (read: on their phones). Of those mobile visitors, 19% purchased less than intended and 22% did not make an intended purchase. The truth is, cross-channel shoppers are just as likely to turn to your website in the store as they are to interact with an employee when they need help. Set up your mobile-optimized website to drive conversion by:

  • Enabling customers to easily purchase out-of-stock items for home delivery
  • Providing detailed product descriptions + authentic customer reviews
  • Prominently displaying new products, coupons, + ongoing promotions

CX scores show a lot of runway for improvement across segments

With digital interactions clearly playing such a pivotal role in customers’ purchase decisions, one would think retailers would be doing everything they can to build a differentiated e-commerce experience. In reality, our study showed roughly half of customers gave top-box ratings on most measures and across all segments.


So where should brands focus improvement efforts? That depends on how customers typically use their websites. Customers who use website visits to browse in preparation for an in-store visit point to Look + Feel of Website and Helpfulness of Product Descriptions as the key drivers of the e-commerce experience, while those looking to actually buy online cite Speed of Placing Order and Product Availability.

No matter where your improvement efforts are aimed, it’s critical to do everything you can to ensure customers’ cross-channel journeys end at your checkout and not your competitor’s. Our behavioral data showed that 52% of customers who bailed on an intended in-store purchase visited another retailer that same day.

You don’t have to be the next Amazon—just don’t let a competitor be the next you

There’s no denying e-commerce has turned the retail industry on its head. But customers aren’t expecting your website to break the mold. They just expect to experience the same brand whether they’re visiting your stores or hitting your website. To gauge how well your brand is doing, put systems in place to measure the e-commerce experience. Whether it’s using a feedback tab to collect unsolicited input or site intercept/pop-up surveys to target specific metrics, the best way to meet customers’ cross-channel expectations is to measure them.

To learn more about SMG’s cross-channel research and how the results could help shape your brand’s strategy, check out the full report: 3 things every retailer needs to know about cross-channel shoppers.

Charlie Moore | VP, CX Solutions
Customer Experience Update