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In our most recent episode of Conversations with CommerceNext, Co-Founder Veronika Sonsev interviews Lucie Buisson, Chief Product Officer at Contentsquare, to discuss CommerceNext’s latest research report. In partnership with ContentSquare and BizRate Insights, the report surveyed 1000+ consumers to uncover new customer insights and how the ecommerce experience and expectations of usability have changed during the Covid-19 era.
Read the recap below or watch the full episode here:
If you’re interested in learning even more, tune into the Marketing Summit Series on February 3rd at 12:57pm where Lucie is joined by Ekta Chopra, Chief Digital Officer at E.L.F. BEAUTY, to dive deeper into turning customer insights into ecommerce growth opportunities.
Be sure to download the report that Lucie references throughout the interview and upcoming session.
How Covid Has Impacted Shopping Behaviors
The report uncovered a few major ways that shopping behaviors have changed since Covid:
- Digital has become a necessity for everyone, older and younger. McKinsey reports that the rapid acceleration of digitalization this year is the equivalent of what would have happened in 7-10 years without Covid.
- Consumers are buying more on mobile, mobile apps and social media. This significant move to mobile accelerated even more for younger generations.
- Consumers made new relationships (23% of people reported buying from new brands) and left old ones behind (16% of people stopped interacting and buying from their existing brands).
Shift in Consumer Expectations
In a year with so much turmoil and change between the pandemic, the economy and an election cycle, people want simplicity—consumers need brands to make their lives easier. These are the three pillars to focus on:
- Seamless navigation
- Empathic and practical content
- Transparency—consumers value privacy and want to know that their data is protected and used to improve their experience
To meet these expectations, use more data to understand what your customers want. Buisson explains, “With digital, [customers] give clues of what they need. The ways they browse and interact with the website are a great indication of what they are looking for.” Using those insights will help to raise the bar and provide a better experience.
Customer Reactions to Brands’ Pandemic Responses
Customer awareness of brand actions was very high. 91% of consumers reported being aware of brands’ responses and finding it important to know how they were responding to the pandemic. Transparency is key here—customers like it best when brands talk about logistics issues rather than ignoring them. Giving updates on delays, why they were happening and what they are doing to address it gives customers peace of mind. Additionally, customers like having information about safety, not only in terms of store regulations but also employee safety. It is important for them to know that they aren’t putting other peoples’ lives at risk by buying a brand’s products. Lastly, having a flexible return policy is also critical to creating a good customer experience.
Most Important Aspects of Customer Experience
Consumers visiting a website are looking at prices a lot. Covid created many economic complications and people aren’t able to afford everything at the pre-Covid price points. Therefore, many people are still looking for promotions and deals. However, an unexpected change is that these promotions and deals are equally as important to customers as the ease of finding what they need. This means that if your navigation is straightforward and creates simplicity in one’s day, the need for a promotion might not be as pressing.
Buisson’s advice is to create digital happiness rather than digital frustration. Most customer frustration comes from performance. People don’t want to waste time waiting for pages to load, and customers are demanding, expecting brands to deliver quick technology. Another area of frustration is pop-ups, as it gets in the way of consumers searching for the products that they need. Having a seamless and efficient navigation will eliminate these issues and create digital happiness.
Focus On The Essentials
Since consumers are unable to shop in-store and ask questions as easily, it is crucial that they have all the product information necessary to feel confident about their purchases.
The survey pointed to a few pieces of information that consumers are looking for:
- Product detail information (68%)
- Product reviews (~50%)
- Product images/videos (40%)
- Side-by-side comparison
- Thorough descriptions
- Size guides and how-to’s
Consumers have to leverage the website to inform their decisions, so providing them with ample information will help ease this process. To keep new consumers online instead of losing them to another brand post-Covid, address ease of use and make sure they can get the information they want, easily, quickly and with transparency.