The high street apocalypse is in full swing as 2,481 stores disappeared from Britain’s top 500 high streets during 2018. Top brands such as New Look, Toys R Us and Maplin were among the many victims forced to close high street stores to prevent going into administration (with not all of them succeeding). This apocalyptic wave comes following the uprising of ecommerce/online shopping, which has now been established for over a decade.
Every month new online functionalities are brought out to bridge the gap between browsing and buying online, increasing conversion rates and audience retention. Shoppers no longer need to scour the high street to find the best deal, instead, deals are delivered right to their phone. But it's not just retail stores that are feeling the pinch, banks are also under pressure as online banking begins to surge in popularity.
Breaking News: Instagram US releases new functionality designed to close the gap between browsing and buying online through in-app purchases. The new functionality has been distributed in the US and is set to roll out globally by the end of 2020 after high levels of positive responses.
The future for many brick and mortar centred brands is certainly nerve-wracking and for those with an online presence, failure to meet customer expectations could result in their demise.
What do your customers want?
Studies reveal that online shoppers under the age of 40 favour site experience and speed above ease of returns or loyalty points/discounts as contributing to the primary reason for purchasing online. On the opposite end of the scale, site security, limited payment options and payment security were all influential contributors to negative user experiences (UX) for all ages. This resulted in lower conversions and traffic.
Your site’s overall user experience is what keeps your customers coming back. Having ground-breaking discounts won’t secure you large amounts of repeat customers if their online experience is negative. Site speed alone is one of the biggest contributors to negative UX. According to Google, 53% of visitors bounce if a site doesn’t load in 3 seconds. As brick and motor stores disappear understanding how UX contributes to your site's revenue and how it can be improved will save your brand from digitally disappearing.
Positive UX requires extensive analysis and testing annually. Performing a one-off examination and expecting your site to work perfectly for the next year simply isn’t possible. If you’re an ecommerce site, every day you upload new products, creating brand new customer journeys. All these journeys need to be intuitive, quick and easy for your customers to buy online. This means functional and UX testing. Conducting testing externally will increase your site's overall revenue, build up customer loyalty as they favour your site's experience over competitive brands and won’t use up your internal team's time.