Here’s what Chris Field, Fieldworks CEO had to say about the increase of basket abandonment
What’s the worst possible kind of conversation? In my opinion it’s one in which one side doesn’t invest the time or effort to listen and understand what the other person is saying. I’m sure you’ll agree that’s a pretty rude, if not arrogant thing to do. Any business would have to be very short-sighted to carry on like that as it would almost certainly have a serious impact their bottom line.
Unfortunately for online brands and retailers, the latest research for customer engagement company iAdvize suggests this is exactly what has been happening in the sector for some time. Shoppers have been confused by complex product specs, overwhelmed by multiple products on offer and have craved human advice and support to help them make the right purchase. Faced with high levels of pre-purchase anxiety consumers have tried to conduct a conversation with brands and retailers but, as yet, they haven’t found an effective way to do this profitably at scale. iAdvize’s research, involving more than 2,000 shoppers backs up this argument and reveals the breadth and depth of the anxieties afflicting consumers. For example, six-in-ten (60%) shoppers don’t trust online customer reviews, while just under half don’t trust online advice or sales people because their advice may be influenced by commission (48% and 47% respectively). Meanwhile, 42% are overwhelmed by all the options available.
These findings help to explain the high basket-abandonment rates experienced within the sector —especially among high-intent, high-value customers. Brands’ and retailers’ inability to converse cohesively, advise, support and nurture these customers means they’re literally slipping through their fingers, just at the point when they should be nurtured and converted to a profitable sale. Consumer confusion and pre-purchase anxiety has been made worse by recent reports that the majority of online user-generated reviews may be fake, especially in market places such as Amazon. Consumer groups recently claimed that the online marketplace is ‘flooded by fake five-star reviews’, casting a shadow of doubt on the authenticity of shoppers’ online feedback. For example, Which? experts searched for headphone on the site and found 87% of 12,000 unknown brands were from unverified purchases.
When iAdvize asked UK consumers why they left a website empty handed, despite a clear intention to buy a product, they were clear in their response. 60% said they needed more advice when making a complex purchase, while 56% said they needed more support from a retailer. An increased level of confidence would also entice them to spend more and buy more often, greatly increasing lifetime value.
Shoppers clearly crave advice, support and reassurance, especially when considering high-value purchases. The answer is to provide not only the right information but also deliver it using the channels that best suit the consumer. The key to building customer trust and confidence is to develop conversations that deliver the high-quality information that shoppers need, when they need it most. To achieve this, brands/retailers need to adopt a unified and integrated approach to customer engagement, with responsive real-time, expert human interaction at its pinnacle for high-value, high-consideration purchases.