E-Commerce Optimization
Research

Solutions to Shifting Demands

It’s Time to Raise Your Online Retail Game

E-Commerce Optimization provides solutions to shifting demands

 

Overview

We live in dramatically changing times, and nowhere is feeling the seismic forces of change more than retail.

The evolution of technology and the global pandemic has changed consumer demands and behavior. Convenience, safety, time-efficiency and evolving demographics drive demand for E-Commerce. Of course, E-commerce was growing pre-pandemic, but the latest data from IBM’s Retail Report suggests the pandemic accelerated E-Commerce penetration by five years in just five months.

This dramatic shift has huge implications for brand manufacturers who have, until now, focused their merchandising efforts on their biggest sales channel – brick-and-mortar retail.

Now however, with up to 60% of consumers planning to continue their new online shopping habits post pandemic, the center of gravity has shifted permanently.

In this new digital world, brand manufacturers must ensure their products are correctly presented not only in-store but across all E-Commerce platforms…but this is easier said than done.

The pressure for industry leaders to expand digital presence and increase in-house expertise can feel impossible to accomplish.

E-Commerce represents a significant source of current and future growth for the Consumer Packaged  Goods industry.

Despite significant improvements, the CPG industry is still behind well established online categories  such as books, apparel or electronics. Consumer Goods  companies need to learn and evolve as they strive to expand into online shopping effectively. 

Advanced E-Commerce research provides the insights needed to optimize all aspects of the e-shopper’s experience — including product presentation — to increase conversion rates and drive business growth.

This guide has been written to present the case for E-Commerce research. It explains the different types of research approaches and technologies for brands to compete in an increasingly online retail world.  We hope you find it useful.

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So, what is E-Commerce Optimization Research?

The goal is obvious: to increase shopper conversion with an optimal ROI. 

Here’s the challenge: attaining the insights needed to decide how to focus optimization efforts when launching a new website, refining an existing site or optimizing your brand to the online environment. This is where manufacturers can bring insights to retailers that help both their brand and the overall shopper experience.  

A shopper-centric approach is needed to tackle this challenge and achieve this goal. E-Commerce user experience (UX) optimization is a multi-faceted,
advanced research technique that provides deep insights and key metrics to optimize these areas and assist E-Commerce decisions.

E-Commerce Optimization Overall Shopper Experience

Overall Shopper Experience:

Goal: Identify ways to improve or remove any barriers to shopper conversion rates — these can include layout, visual design, content or functionality.

  • What are the pain points preventing shoppers from making a purchase?
  • Are there sources of frustration at a particular stage of the process?
  • Are shoppers having difficulty navigating the website?
  • Are particular elements of the website under-utilized or missed all together?

E-Commerce Optimization Overall Product Experience

Overall Product Experience:

Goal: To ensure product presentation is optimized to suit the new buying environment — this can include visual as well as content-related.

  • What is searched and does your brand even show up?
  • Does the packaging and product visuals have Stopping Power?
  • Is your brand easy to find and readily recognizable?
  • Is product information engaging and easy to understand?
  • Is product presentation optimized for all responsive views: desktop, tablet and mobile devices?

When the answers to these questions aren’t known for established brands and innovations, it creates many issues for user experience, resulting in decreased conversions. E-Commerce shopper insights can address these questions so the overall shopper and product experience are optimized.

Who Needs to Use E-Commerce UX Research?

Let’s face it, the world has changed, and there’s no going back — all that’s left is to evolve and move forward. 

Customer behavior has changed. E-shoppers want to quickly get “in and out” of an E-Commerce store — with the brands they want at a reasonable price, a positive experience, and a smooth delivery or pick-up process. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? 

Well, the existing grocery store packaging may or may not translate well into the online environment. 

CPG retailers and manufacturers that strive to create a positive online shopping experience and increase conversion rates must consider the existing user interface and what is best suited for the grocery industry to succeed in the future.

To effectively adapt in-store executions to this new shopping reality, leading CPG retailers and manufacturers rely on E-Commerce User Experience Research to find opportunities and overcome challenges to succeed online.

Why Invest In E-Commerce UX Research?

E-Commerce is an evolving and growing environment — CPG manufacturers and retailers who successfully transition from brick and mortar to E-Commerce
will succeed.

Simply adopting traditional in-store solutions for this new environment is likely to result in lost leadership, lost sales and an unprofitable outcome. Without the benefit of multiple points of exposure, physical packaging, product interaction or traditional in-store promotional activities, how can a product be best presented online?

This requires different solutions to create an easy, engaging E-Commerce experience to motivate and secure online purchases.

Still unsure if E-Commerce Optimization Research is worth the investment?

Are you confident that you understand the e-shopper process, experience and potential challenges of customer behavior in this environment? 

These are some typical online shopping stages of users and how each needs to be optimized for success.

E-Commerce Optimization Search and De-Selection

Search and De-Selection: 

If your product does not show up in the search function, then you’re not even in the game. That’s where keyword and SEO optimization can help with this. On the homepage or landing page, shoppers solely rely on the package to quickly identify and narrow down their choices from various other options. At this first stage, it’s critical that packaging communicates your brand and varieties since the packaging is only portrayed as a thumbnail visual.

E-Commerce Optimization Product Comparison and Selection

Product Comparison and Selection: 

On the product page, shoppers review and compare relevant benefits, claims and essential product details. Shoppers know where to find this information on packages in-store quickly, but replicating this online requires a different approach to provide relevant information effectively. Also because of filters in the search functionality, often the shopper decision process is a couple steps down from a regular purchase decision hierarchy. 

E-Commerce Optimization Confirmation and Fulfillment

Confirmation and Fulfillment: 

On the check-out page, shoppers confirm and complete their purchase. The process must be clear and easy at this critical stage, or you risk losing the sale. Other risks can result in dissatisfied shoppers. For instance, since shoppers can’t physically interact with the product, it creates a challenge to select the correct format or size, which leads to risks upon delivery.

Do you fully understand the role of packaging online and how to optimize it for success?

E-Commerce Optimization Thumbnail Image vs. Product Size

Current packaging isn’t likely to translate well into the E-Commerce environment, which means the following must be considered:

  • Can shoppers find and readily recognize your brand?
  • Can shoppers easily see and understand your product features and benefits?
  • Will the execution be successful amongst the growing mobile shopper segment?

Have you considered the realities and challenges of online shopping?

While these do not cover every consideration when selling online, addressing these items through well-thought-out and actionable research will further your  learning and significantly increase the likelihood of success.

E-Commerce Optimization - VisibilityVisibility

Web-based experience levels the playing field. Without the benefit of shelf context, smaller competitors can now get just as much attention as more prominent brands. This prevents large brands from dominating categories, placing smaller brands, or even niche products, on equal footing. 

E-Commerce Optimization Thumbnail Visuals Thumbnail visuals

Online packaging has significantly downsized. The small “thumbnail package” size makes the brand name, product features and product comparisons difficult to see and read. If shoppers can’t quickly find your brand and easily understand the benefits, you risk the loss of a sale to other competition.

E-Commerce Optimization How Much Information is Too Much Information?How much information is too much information?

The online environment provides unique opportunities to engage shoppers through images and relevant product benefits and features. However, you must strike the right balance because shoppers aren’t willing to invest significant time shopping fo