The Google Retail Team recently posted an article discussing retail stores on the internet. According to the post, online retail makes up nearly 10% of all retail transactions, increasing from 8% in 2009 to 9% in 2011. This number is expected to increase to 11% of total sales by the year 2014. Online retail growth is also expected to take a dramatic upswing by the holiday season.
According to Google, “Consumers make purchase decisions based on brands and experiences. For consumers, a website is the portal to the brand. How (device) and where (location) the brand is accessed is a matter of specific need for information at a unique stage in the purchase cycle. The challenge for all retailers is that expectations for a seamless transition throughout the funnel are high and rising. Persistence of experience delights the customer.”
What is driving the retail industry today?
- Saving Money – A down economy forces consumers to save money and spend more time researching a purchase to acquire the best value. According to Google, shopping related queries are up 25% and deal related search queries are expected to grow 195% this holiday season as compared to last year.
- Mobile Compatibility – Portability is and will be the wave of the future. Smartphones tablets, laptops and other portable devices are now being used for more than just phone calls and photo sharing. Online retailers must make it easy for consumers to find information about their products, regardless of their location, with the use of mobile applications and functionality.
- Convenience Beats Immediacy – Consumers are more concerned with convenience than with the instant thrill of acquiring a desired product immediately by driving to a physical location and purchasing an item. Buyers are web savvy and they know how to research, track and locate an item and get it delivered to their doorstep as quickly as possible. According to Google, “Click and deliver often sounds better than park and wait in line.”
Google offers these tips for retailers:
- “Align your business around a single customer across many channels rather than a channel by channel experience.” Focus on your audience and the identity of your customer more than trying to satisfy a larger demographic across your many web properties and profiles.
- “Build exceptional connected experiences across devices that let every unique individual know your brand understands what interests them at that right moment.” Focus on connection and what your customer expects and desires at every turn.
- “Ensure that your brand can deliver what a customer is looking for regardless of the device, location or time.” Your main goal is to create an experience for your customer. Creating an experience will force you to take an in-depth look at your target audience and your customers’ pain points as well as assess how well your web presence is solving those problems.
A seamless transition with a focus on the customer outlines what Google views as a highly successful online retail experience.