Once the excitement and big sales of the holiday season are over, e-tailers will have to get down to the serious business of keeping the momentum going strong.
So far, much of what online customers find objectionable has to do with complicated buying experiences, and the proof is in the numbers. Online research company Jupiter Communications reports that 27 percent of online buyers abandon at least one order before completion, simply because the experience is too exasperating. Jupiter also found that 19 percent of buyers gave up the sale because of online security concerns.
Although much has been reported about security concerns, Jupiter’s figures indicate that frustration with the shopping experience is more bothersome to consumers than fears about giving up credit card numbers and personal information.
For that reason, it has become imperative that e-tailers explore a few simple options that will help them hold on to those wayward customers who click away before purchasing the goods.
The Mall Experience
Online shopping malls, while an attractive option for shoppers who are looking for variety and easy price comparisons, can now allow shoppers to consolidate purchases and pay for everything with one transaction. If the customer has to pay for individual purchases at each store, the shopping mall concept loses some of its luster in the eyes of the consumer.
Along the same lines, consumers report some impatience with the requirement of filling out endless forms with personal information and passwords again and again throughout the Web. Since America is an instant-gratification culture, the last thing many users want to do is answer the same questions more than once.
That’s where the digital wallet comes in. Users can enter all of the pertinent data once, including credit card number, shipping instructions, address and phone number, and hopefully never have to do it again. It is called a wallet because the consumer can enter a number of credit card numbers and various passwords for different sites.
However, one disadvantage is that technology does not yet exist to allow users to shop at several sites and transfer payment data to all of them at once.
IBM reported last week that it is ready to introduce the “e-Port,” a device it conceived in conjunction with USA Technologies. The e-Port is a non-PC device that features a touch screen, credit-card reader and speakerphone to allow consumers to order from e-commerce sites, vending machines and gas pumps.
The real significance of this device could be its integration into the everyday lives of consumers. To date, e-commerce has been elusive to many consumers who do not yet own a computer. Offline retailers can benefit from the device as well, by offering merchandise online that is not routinely stocked in the store.
The screen will also be able to show rotating banner ads and even display consumers’ personally tailored e-commerce offers.
Ray Of Light
Meanwhile, e-tailers need to take advantage of the unprecedented numbers of unique visitors at their sites this holiday season. By all accounts, this influx provides the perfect opportunity for many online businesses to offer their customers hope for future ease of purchasing.