Is the growth rate of your shoe eCommerce business giving you a headache? Do you want to sell more shoes in 2019 but aren’t sure how? And would you like to avoid the after-sale backlash of many shoe returns by your customers?
If you answered yes, you’re not alone.
Many eCommerce businesses are suffering from returns, with the value of these products estimated to be $642.6 billion per year in Europe , and $550 billion in the U.S. This is money that businesses have to give back to consumers. And while it may not be a direct loss for all, eCommerce businesses that offer free shipping can’t deny the hit.
So, what can be done?
Here at Addi.fit, we’d like to answer this question by sharing the one proven trick we swear by – influence consumer buying decision. If you can spare time to understand why online shoppers make a purchase, then you can sell almost anything. And sell it to as many people as you want.
And here’s how.
Understand the Consumer Buying Decision Process
By definition, this is the journey a shopper takes to get to your products, interact with them, and finally start doing business with you. It goes from the moment a consumer decides they need a product, to the time they make a purchase.
And if, for instance, you misunderstand or ignore an important factor in this journey, your business is bound to take a hit. That’s why it’s possible to have the best online marketing strategy in place and still fail at making sales.
You see, it takes more than a personalized ad to convince a potential customer to place an order. And even if you convince them, a lot of factors will determine who places an order and who doesn’t. But you probably already know this.
In fact, from statistics observed in the 2nd quarter of 2018, about 74.2% of online shoppers abandoned a cart at last minute. They saw the product(s), read the description, and added to cart the products they liked. But the order was never completed.
And this is a perfect example of how a mistake in your consumer’s buying process can impact sales. Lucky for you, we can help with this. In the next section, we’ll discuss the 5 stages of a consumer buying decision process and how it can help to improve sales in 2019.
Here are the 5 stages.
Stage 1: Consumer identifies a need
Successful businesses today are still in the market because they have a need to fill. Just like the way your shoe eCommerce business was created to fill a need in the market. And that’s what this first stage of the process is about.
A consumer will be in their natural habitat when they run into a problem that needs an immediate fix. In reference to shoes, example problems could include a worn out pair, lack of the perfect shoe for a themed event, shoe mishap in the middle of the day, or a new shoe that doesn’t fit right.
And at this juncture, the consumer may or may not know where to begin their shopping. All they know is that they have a need for shoes.
Stage 2: Consumer conducts an information search
Now that a consumer knows they need a new pair of shoes, the next stage is to go shopping. If your business is already a favourite to this customer, they’ll probably go to your website or social media, find the perfect shoe, and then place an order. They won’t need to do any further random searches.
But if they’re unsure of where to start, the next step is usually to search for information. This could include asking friends, family and co-workers for a brand recommendation, conducting an online search for options, reading reviews and blogs on the best solutions, and browsing online stores randomly.
A consumer will then correlate their best options from the search, and proceed to the next stage.
Stage 3: Consumer embarks on the evaluation process
With different brand options in hand, it’s now time for the consumer to evaluate which of the options stands out. In this stage, shoppers will consider the price and quality of the item, ease of purchase, customer return policy, shipping procedures, and customer reviews.
They’ll examine each of these factors in detail before they can settle on the perfect choice. And with shoes, the perfect choice is usually a pair that’s affordable, of high quality, highly durable and the most effective. This is in addition to meeting all the person-specific needs like colour, brand, size, heel size and design.
Stage 4: Consumer makes the decision to buy
Once a consumer has evaluated the options at hand, they’re now ready to make a decision and start on the purchase process. They’ve already decided the brand that’s best for them, which shoe they want, and where exactly to make the purchase.
Now all they need to do is proceed to checkout.
Stage 5: Post-purchase evaluation
The consumer buying decision process doesn’t end at checkout. And this is where most businesses make or break a sale. Once the consumer makes the decision to buy and places an order, how your eCommerce business handles the sale is very crucial.
In this stage, the consumer wants to know if settling for your brand was the right choice. They’ll judge the time it takes to deliver, your customer service, state of product at delivery (does it look like it did on the website?) and basically everything about the process.
So, now that you understand the different stages of online purchases, what can you do to influence consumer buying decision? And how does influencing this decision grow your shoe eCommerce business?
How You Can Influence Consumer Buying Decision
To successfully achieve this, you must learn to predict the needs of your customers (both potential and existing). If you don’t, there’s a chance you’ll lose out on customers. In fact, 50% of consumers say they’re likely to switch brands if a business doesn’t anticipate their needs.
So, how can you know what the needs of your customers are before they tell you? The answer to this is easy. By consulting the 5-stage consumer buying process we highlighted earlier. It’s the perfect cheat sheet to grow your shoe business, and the ideal shortcut to influence consumer buying decision.
And to help you out, here are 6 ways you can influence the decision of a shopper.
1. Package Your Products to Meet Customer’s Emotional Needs
Image Source: Nike Adv
This is in reference to stage 1. We already touched on this, but let’s take a deeper look. Every business in the market has a specific target market. Without one, businesses would be selling blindly and not making as much money as they’d like. Most of them would probably even go out of business.
Ask yourself this: Who’s your target market? What kind of challenges do they encounter? And how can your products solve these challenges? You can even do a quick survey on your existing customers if you’re unsure.
Then using the information you get, go ahead and package your products as solutions to these problems. And the problems don’t have to be physical; they can be emotional or even spiritual. Many consumers today want to work with brands they can connect to at an emotional level.
And we’ll give you a real-life case study. Nike is one of the most popular sports shoes brand in the world. You know that, we know that.
Over the years, the company has launched various ad campaigns, most of which have made global social statements. And while a recent “Just do it” campaign led to protests , we can’t deny the impact the entire campaign series has had on Nike’s success.
You can use a similar approach for your business by tapping into the emotions of your target audience.
2. Make it Easy for Consumers to Find Your Products
Image Source: Seven Atoms
This tip works for stage 2 of the buying process. Because you now know what shoe shoppers are looking for, it’s time to put the products where consumers can find them. To have an eCommerce store that’s well organized is the first step. The rest of the steps include the following;
- Make your eCommerce store SEO friendly . You probably already know this as it counts as marketing 101 for any online business. But are doing your SEO right? Can people find your website if they search for common shoe keywords?
Conduct an experiment by doing the search yourself. If your store doesn’t appear on the search results, then it might be time to tweak your site’s SEO.
- Leverage visual platforms. For a consumer to make a purchase on a shoe, seeing the product is non-negotiable. It’s a physical product and hence the need for visual marketing.
In fact, majority of young shoppers (Gen Z and Millenials) are said to buy more on Instagram and Snapchat, both of which are visual platforms.
- Partner with bloggers to write reviews for your products. 46% of online shoppers want to see brand comparisons before making a purchase. And 65% will look up price comparisons on mobile, while in a physical store.
A review with your name on it and published on a blog with a large following will not only stand out during these comparison searches, but also reach numerous potential buyers.
3. Use Influencers as Part of Your Marketing
Image Source: Puma on Instagram
You may have an ad campaign that hits all the right emotional spots, but if your customers’ reviews don’t match up to your message, you might lose out on many others. Case in point; 81% of consumers will trust the review of a friend, family member, co-worker or someone they know, over that of a business.
While you may not know your customer’s family members, you can match up to this by using influencers. These are content creators with a large following on social media and large readership on their blogs. They command respect across various platforms and whatever product they endorse, many of their followers will purchase.
So, conduct a search for the right influencers in your industry and reach out to them for a partnership. Why is this important? Statistics show that influencer marketing is on the rise . Marketers are realising the impact influencers have on engagement and conversions, and using them to pass on their brands’ message.
And here’s how it works.
Because people have developed a personal relationship with influencers, anything they put up on their platforms becomes proof of efficiency. For instance, Puma uses celebrities like Selena Gomez and Cara Delevingne to market its products. Being that Selena is the second most followed person on Instagram , a simple photo of her in Puma shoes would do wonders.
Many followers would think, “If Selena Gomez wears Puma shoes; I’m also going to wear Puma.” And influencer marketing uses this concept.
So when you hire an influencer (with an audience similar to your target market) to post about your shoe eCommerce business, you’re guaranteed to see an influx in sales. And that makes for a perfect way to influence consumer buying decision. Wouldn’t you agree?
4. Consider Selling on Other Sites
About 59% of shoppers will visit Amazon before proceeding to another eCommerce website. And I’m thinking the same is true with sites like Alibaba, eBay, AliExpress, and The Iconic, among others.
This, without a doubt, leads to other eCommerce businesses suffering the consequences. Businesses like yours. And no one wants to come in last, especially when you believe in your entrepreneur dreams and want to succeed.
So, what can you do? Instead of relying solely on your online store, you can use these larger sites to sell your products. If everyone wants to buy on Amazon or Alibaba, then register to become one of the sellers.
The upside to this is that 22% of consumers will visit a seller’s website before making a purchase. This means, even if a consumer finds your product on these large eCommerce platforms, they’ll come back to your site for confirmation. And at this point, you can nurture them and win their trust.
The downside, though, is that doing so will cost you money in subscriptions, web traffic and customer information.
5. Make Your Customer Experience Unmatched
Image Source: Invesp
One of the many causes of cart abandonment among online shoppers is a slow website or complicated checkout. In fact, according to these statistics , 11% of shoppers will abandon a cart if a website is slow, 14% if there’s no guest checkout, and 22% if shipping costs aren’t clear. The leading cause is high shipping costs at 44%.
So, what can you do? Invest in a fast checkout process, optimize your website for speed and be as transparent with your information as you can be. And avoid additional costs at checkout that were not explained in the description.
In short, a customer should have a seamless experience from the minute they find your product to the time they place an order. This way, other than maybe price, consumers won’t have a reason not to purchase your product.
6. Extend Your Customer Service to After the Sale
Image Source: Social Media Today
We’re assuming that by now you understand the importance of great customer service. But as a refresher, 52% of shoppers will stop buying from your brand if they encounter bad customer service. And how fast you respond to customers’ issues and resolve them will determine if they come back or not.
So don’t get done with your customer at checkout. After the sale, let the shopper know how they can get assistance from your customer service desk. And share all the different ways customers can contact you, and preferably, provide the most convenient.
The point of doing this is to ensure you keep your shoppers as return customers, avoid bad reviews, and make more sales in the end. Speaking of reviews, consumers are 270% more likely to buy a product with 5 reviews than the one without a single review. And 95% of all online buyers will read reviews before they can make a purchase.
So why not influence consumer buying decision by keeping your customers (past and current) happy and satisfied.
The global eCommerce industry continues to see growth year-on-year. In fact, it’s expected that by 2021, the industry will see a global increase in sales of up to $4.5 trillion . And while this is great news for players in the industry, not every business is guaranteed a piece of the pie.
You will need to work extra smart if you’re to grow your eCommerce business in 2019. And as you may already know, many online stores have failed and continue to fail. With the reasons for failure including the following:
- Customers not knowing what to do when on the site
- A Complicated checkout process
- Hidden fees that lead to abandoned carts
- Lack of customer engagement and poor customer service
- Poor online marketing
To protect your shoe business from becoming a victim, there’s a need to focus on the customer. To personalize your content and products so they speak to the consumer’s needs. And that’s why we created this post on how you can influence consumer buyer decision.
So you can implement these tips in your shoe eCommerce business and condition your target audience into becoming loyal customers.
If interested, you can read also this article: How to sell shoes online