5 Easy Resolutions Every Online Retailer Should Make in 2015

shutterstock_208278715If there is one thing that we learned in 2014, it’s that your customers are in control. The sales journey is no longer black and white, but rather shades of grey dominated by mobile devices, social media, email newsletters and a variety of other consumer enabled touch points.

Shoppers are savvier than ever and retailers must be relevant, flexible and engaging to capture consumers’ shrinking attention span.

Below are five resolutions for retailers looking to stand out, increase profits and delight their customers in 2015.

1)  REDUCE RETURNS

ASOS CEO Nick Robertson revealed that a 1% fall in returns would immediately add $16 million to the company’s bottom line. To retailers, the cost of returned goods extends beyond shipping and often includes warehouse fees, damaged items and inventory gaps.

Like ASOS, the majority of retailers experience about a 30% return rate. In order to cut the rate in the 2015, retailers should experiment with high and low-tech solutions like sizing software, customer reviews and improved imagery.

“If you don’t have to return something then clearly that is a better experience than having to return something,” Robertson told Reuters. Lowering your return rates means happy customers for the year ahead.

2)  GET PERSONAL

Building relationships is central to brand loyalty. Amazon is a prime example (pun intended) of creating spot-on digital experiences that connect with their customers.

Amazon uses basic, but friendly personalization tactics like “Hello Molly” at the tops of their pages. This doesn’t just remind me of my name, it creates an environment that makes me feel as if they know and even care about Molly the consumer. Taking it a step further, Amazon offers on-site product and service recommendations along with tailored follow up via email, social media and mobile.

Despite the clear benefits of personalized web experiences on conversion rates, only 25% of companies are using website personalization, according to the Econsultancy Conversion Rate Optimization Report 2014.

Retailers looking to get personal in 2015 must become masters of data collection and analysis. Giving customers what they want and personalizing each experience creates an engaging and satisfying experience that fosters brand evangelists.

3) GO MOBILE

Looking to go mobile? You’re not alone. Pacific Sunwear CEO Gary Schoenfeld told Internet Retailer that the company plans to prioritize improving its web business—particularly its mobile sales—in 2015.

“We do recognize our consumer lives more and more through these different channels. Our transition from desktop to mobile, we have had some catching up to do there, which will be a priority further in 2015,” stated Schoenfled in a transcript of the call from Seeking Alpha.

Mobile shopping came of age in 2014 as consumers went beyond research and price comparison and became comfortable with shopping on an app or mobile site. In fact, m-commerce growth is outpacing traditional e-commerce by 200%.

Retailers looking to improve mobile conversions need to focus on context, immediacy and simplicity—getting consumers the content they need to quickly and easily make a purchasing decision.

4) ENHANCE PHOTOGRAPHY

Do your images sell your products? High-quality, professional product photography is essential for e-commerce conversations, but many retailers still try to get by with low-quality and out of date imagery.

Brands that are looking to innovate in 2015 need to be able to recreate the experience of a consumer walking into a store and being able to pick up a product and look at it. They need to build consumers’ trust and confidence in their purchase decisions.

The best way to recreate these real life experiences is to add rich media visual features, such as 360° & 3D spin, video, or zoom.

According to Rob Cassidy, President & COO of eBags, “360° & 3D spins help us convert engaged customers by giving them a comprehensive visual understanding of the product.  It helps them buy more confidently. Once customers are engaged in a spin image, they are 3x more likely to convert.”

5) DRIVE LOYALTY

One of the biggest challenges retailers face online is turning a one-time promotion into long-term loyalty.

“We’ve trained the consumer to really look for deals, [especially after] the recession of ’08-’09,” said Tom Caporaso, CEO of Claus Marketing Group, in an interview with Inc Magazine. “The key now is how do you drive loyalty on a year-round basis, not just around price but around value.”

Show your customers just how grateful you are by offering something a little extra. Create a loyalty rewards program that includes free shipping for return customers or exclusive promotional sales.

Be sure to regularly connect with your community throughout 2015 (and beyond)!  Foster the relationship and boost brand attachment by digitally engaging via email newsletters, on your social network sites or through a mobile app.

Claire McCracken
Claire McCracken
c.mccracken@snap36.com

Claire is a Marketing Coordinator at Snap36. She recently graduated from the University of Dayton with a bachelor's degree in Communications and Marketing. Before working at Snap36, Claire had a marketing internship with a construction company in Chicago.

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