Rick Rolling in a Offline Shopping World

 In Ecommerce

It really shouldn’t be any mystery – online shopping is simply dwarfed by offline shopping, even in a day and age where annual e-retail sales are surpassing the $300 billion per year marker in the U.S. This represents an increase of 14.7% year-over-year, accounting for one of the healthiest growth rates in ecommerce history.

And still, most consumers are not buying the products they want online. In fact, the latest census shows that e-retail represents just a small slice of the retailing pie at 8% of total annual sales overall.

So what gives? Why are the vast majority of consumers still anchored to the offline shopping experience, and what can retailers do to help spur online sales moving forwards? We’ll show you some definitive ways that you can Rick Roll your online sales by making some simple changes now.

Retail Generates $3.2 Trillion Annually

A recent Forrester report found that the annual worldwide retail haul is about $3.2 trillion. That’s roughly 30% of the U.S. economy. Yet just a meager 8% of this, or about $300 billion, give or take, is going to online retailers during the present day and age.

There are, in fact, a plethora of reasons behind the consumer mindset as it relates to online shopping. We’ll cover the most prominent reasons so that you can make small changes to your operation to generate more sales.

Privacy, Security Top Consumer Concerns

In a recent ripen ecommerce survey, 16.9% of respondents cited security and privacy as the stoking of their primary concerns with online shopping. A lot of stores bog down customers with pesky and repetitive newsletters, reminder emails, pop-ups, retargeting and even spam.

What’s more, it seems like every week we are reading major news headlines about how another massive data breach occurred that compromised the identity and security of millions of people.

Rick Roll Says: Add a security badge to your website that assures shoppers that your site is hacker-tested and hacker-free. Assure your customers that you do not sell, share or rent their personal information, ever.

Clearly state your privacy policy and allow prospective customers to easily find it on your website. Make sure that anyone you are sending emails to has opted-in and are double verified. Do this, and you can separate yourself from spammy ecommerce merchants whose sordid tactics frustrate consumers.

Offline Immediacy Is Appealing

Unsurprisingly, people do not want to wait for the products to ship to their homes that they buy online, especially if they are able to procure those very same products from a brick and mortar retailer. In fact, 29.9% of people surveyed say they want their items right away.

Rick Roll Says: Look to expedited shipping options like those offered by USPS for Priority Mail and Express Mail. These items, provided they are within the weight limit, are delivered within three business days, regardless the zones they cross. There are discount USPS options available that can save you and your customers money, too.

While you likely can’t offer same-day shipping, like Amazon offers, three-day shipping is fast enough to lure in most customers. What’s more, 67% of shoppers want an expedited shipping option, but 78% of them typically choose the economy shipping option, which is 10 business days by ground.

Shipping Costs Are Large Factor

Shipping prices have forever been the bane of discontent for online shoppers and retailers combined, says Business Insider. In fact, 87% of shoppers have said that they’ve abandoned a shopping cart in the past year simply due to the cost of shipping alone. It’s a solid reason why 14.4% of those polled say they prefer to shop in-store instead of online: to avoid paying shipping fees.

Rick Roll Says:
There are in fact ways that you can profit from offering free shipping. One way is to set a minimum order threshold on free shipping. For example, you can mandate that in order to get free shipping, customers must place an order of $50 or above.

This helps you better protect your bottom line because you know that even if you are paying out on the shipping, the minimum orders that are coming in offset that cost and help you still turn a healthy profit.

Ability To Touch, Feel Products

In a study that was conducted by RCC, partnered with the NPD Group and MasterCard Canada, in an online survey which garnered 3,337 responses from panelists between the ages of 18 and 64, it was found that the primary reason consumers buy offline as opposed to online was due to the ability to touch and feel the products first.

Rick Roll Says: While you obviously won’t be able to let people touch or feel the products that you are offering in your online store, there are some other ways that you can help secure the sale and improve consumer confidence and purchasing options.

One of the proven methods that the most successful online stores use to beat the odds is excellent imagery. Make sure that you are featuring high-resolution photographs of all of your products as viewed from multiple angles. In addition, offer zoom-in features, too, so that customers can look at the intricacies of the products that you offer. Doing so can help you improve conversion rates exponentially while also helping you reduce the rate of returns.

Setting A Brand Example

When customers do place online orders, what are you doing to attract future sales from them? Providing excellent customer service and convenient shipping options are just a few ingredients in the recipe for success. But in order to assure that they continue to enjoy the online shopping experience your store offers, you’ll have to take things a step further.

Rick Roll Says: Make shopping at your store a one-of-a-kind experience. Lure shoppers in by creating the “unboxing effect” with your packaging. The truth is that simplified yet elegant packaging has a subconscious appeal that helps your shoppers subliminally recall your brand and tell others about it.

By properly branding your packages and making them standout, you will win over more loyal, long term customers, who will in turn tell others about your store as well. When customers open an elegantly packaged item, they remember what they saw for a long time; and they are far likelier to make a future purchase as a direct result, too.

Consumers Want Hassle-Free Returns

Are you aware that 6.5% of consumers polled like to shop locally because they want easier returns? What’s more, 81% of consumers want a simple and easy way to return a product that they’ve purchased online. Since over 67% of customers read your returns policy, and since 65% of the time returns are not their fault, you’ve got to take proactive measures to assure that they are confident that returning a product at your store won’t be a hassle.

Rick Roll Says:
Offering hassle-free online product returns actually helps you create a revenue stream. It tells your customers that returning a product at your online store will be as simple as making the sale was. Furthermore, it helps generate increased revenue streams because your most loyal shoppers make the most returns.

Look at the cost you absorb in returns as a marketing expense, something that you are investing in the long term, repeat business of that satisfied customer, and the countless other consumers they will share their purchasing experience with. Understand that you are competing with 49% of retailers that are already offering free shipping and free return shipping. Make sure that you put your store in a position to succeed by following suit.