Anyone that tells you that technology does not affect their buying practices is probably saying it on their flip phone or mailing it to you on stationary. Not only is technology changing the way we make purchases, it is altering our entire perception of progressive retail interactions. From inception to the memory of a past purchase, Western society has gone digital.
It Starts With an Idea
In the days before computers, consumers needed to have a general idea of their purchases before heading out to the store. Large department stores tried to have a mix of different items but it was still a labor intensive process that took a bit of forethought. Google and its kin have changed that. According to the journal Information Systems and e-Business Management, older generations may not use the Internet for socializing as much as their younger counterparts but everyone uses it for searching product information. The importance of online product information is inversely related to the experience of the user. Less experiences users, like older populations, tend to value the search information more. One possible explanation for this phenomenon is that sophisticated users do not trust the veracity of the information. This is where a good website comes into play.
A Really Great Website
From the inception of the search to the information gathering aspect of the decision making process, the appearance of the product website is a crucial component. MIS Quarterly has found that the best way to mitigate the effects of consumer uncertainty is to have a well-designed website. For a website to be effective, it needs to have purpose and be visually appealing. Every website should be tailored to the user’s needs. If the site’s purpose is to sell a product, the site needs to answer all of the questions a buyer may have. The layout of the site should follow one of the three well established reading patterns: the Gutenberg, the F-pattern or the Z-pattern, suggests Vanseo Design. These three patterns follow research-based analysis of readers natural eye movement, all of which start at the upper left corner of the screen. It is there that you want your most important message and to the right you will place payment information.
Do Not Make Paying a Chore
Needing to search out the payment options is, at the least, frustrating and can lead to loss of a sale if the customer gives up before being able to pay. Having a well-integrated and simple payment system can increase your sales conversion rate. Look at the Chargify platform to make the shopping experience a positive one where customers can pay, sign up for coupons and continue to receive brand information.
The Importance of Follow-Up
Just because the sale is complete does not mean that your relationship with the customer is finished. According to relationship marketing theory, your company will always be in a relationship with the consumer and it is this bond that creates brand loyalty and reoccurring sales. As a matter of fact, it is the convenience of purchasing from a vendor that has been used before that mediates future purchases. Customers like buying from the same people because it is easy. Since much of your email and social media database is built from voluntary subscriptions, make the ease of purchase part of your central marketing message.