Online shopping: ease of use and security over immersive and experiential
Despite an increased need to stand out from the crowd in the online shopping market, retailers must not jump to creating unique, experiential experiences for customers, until they can guarantee basics such as ease-of-use, speed and security are established and unflawed. This is according to James Allen-Lewis, development director at Sonassi.
A recent KPMG whitepaper revealed experts expect to see a shift to more immersive and experiential online shopping services as a result of the pandemic. However, Magento’s UK Consumer preferences Report – conducted between June to July – has found that ease of use is a deciding factor to 56% of UK consumers, as well as quick load time (41% of consumers).
Allen-Lewis explains: “The pandemic has resulted in businesses investing heavily in their ecommerce infrastructure, whether they had an online offering previously or not. Ecommerce stores are consequently battling for their share of consumers wallets and, to stay ahead of the curve, it is likely many will re-evaluate how to innovate in order to offer a preferable online experience over their competitors.
“While there is no doubt shopping via ecommerce stores will become far more immersive, the worry is many retailers still do not have the basics right such as security, speed and ease of use. For example, at the end of June Magento 1 reached end of life and despite this, over 200,000 ecommerce stores were continuing to operate on Magento 1, opening themselves up to substantial security risk and credit-card fraud.
“If retailers do not ensure their site is easy to use, fast and secure, regardless of whether they boast engaging videos and sound notifications, consumers will simply look to competitors who offer reliability and security, coupled with an immersive experience. With a ‘second wave’ of Covid-19 still a realistic prospect, it’s likely consumers will go back to being as reliant on online shopping as they were back in lockdown and therefore ecommerce stores must be prepared for a potential sudden increase in traffic.”
Allen-Lewis adds: “The retailers offering an unfaulted online experience, enviable page load time and an incredibly intuitive interface, still need to tread carefully around tactics such as video and sound. While both methods can be leveraged to create emotional engagement, both can also hinder the shopping experience and therefore it is important that ecommerce stores let the customer get to the content they want to and give them a choice. Failure to do so is likely to frustrate consumers and push them to look for alternative options that support their desire for greater control over their shopping experience.
“While it is important retailers are doing all they can to engage with customers at this challenging time, those that survive and thrive in the current climate will be those that offer unrivalled speed, usability and security,” concludes Allen-Lewis.