Footfall is decreasing across many retail sectors, making even the smallest brick-and-mortar sales invaluable. Customers are conditioned to frictionless shopping experiences online, and physical stores need to provide a similar shopping experience — anything that gets in the way of a customer choosing and paying for a product leads to cart abandonment, especially in the real world.
Size, colour, preference, and personalisation are all things that prevent a customer from checking-out if the right item isn’t available when they’re in-store.
Creating an ‘endless aisle’ shopping experience fixes this issue by presenting all possible product options digitally, letting the customer purchase exactly what they want regardless of if it’s available immediately. Customers can either pick up in-store at later or have it delivered somewhere else.
Nutella recently turned this kind of hyper-personalisation into more than just a sale saver, creating customised products that customers loved to talk about.
For customers that have a clear idea of what they need, self-service touch points offer the quickest path in and out of the store. Often these iPad kiosks only offer product information, but thanks to improvements in point-of-sale systems, and the advent of contactless payments like Apple Pay, customers should now be offered ways to check themselves out.
Moving customers from decision to purchase as quickly as possible is what eCommerce is built upon, and we’re seeing far more “Buy Now” buttons, like Amazon’s one-click buy system, which lets customers purchase products without going through a normal, lengthy checkout process.
Retailers are learning from these online shopping interactions and implementing them to create omni-channel experiences. UK fashion retailer Oasis, with digital partner Red Ant, have made their mobile application totally transactional, letting customers purchase from within the app, even whilst shopping in-store.
Real world cart abandonment is most prevalent in the time between a customer walking away from the sales assistant, products in hand, and finding their way to a checkout counter. Customers begin to second-guess their choices; the memory of the brilliant service experience they had moments before, fades with every step.
Helping the customer make a confident purchase decision is a shortcoming that online stores are still trying to overcome, whilst real-world retail has spent decades crafting face-to-face experiences that are genuinely helpful.
Installing simple, scalable POS systems in more places enable customers to purchase at the zenith of their experience, which goes a long way to offsetting post-purchase anxiety, giving staff the opportunity to finish the customer journey with something other than currency exchange.
Many purchases require more thought than just one trip to the store, making the sales journey, regardless of how frictionless it is, still lengthy. For these kinds of interactions retailers should be converting customers in ways that aren’t transactional, but still move them along towards purchase.
UK furniture retailer, Heal’s, is using a wish list feature to help customers keep track of products they like, regardless of if they are ready to purchase. As most of the items in Heal’s are sizable investments that may take further research at home before a final decision is made, it makes sense for in-depth product information to be available to them at any time.
Wish lists, carts, or any other type of preference record keeping system, give customers the opportunity to checkout at any time, as well as giving retailers remarketing opportunities to try and help the customer make a purchase decision.
Any single improvement from those listed above will make a difference to the amount of product left behind in-store, but with the combination of self-service and easy checkout, and the ability to choose from every product on offer at any time, retailers can have a real impact on reducing cart abandonment.