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As our world continues to become a much smaller place, the ability to buy goods online from other countries is on the rise.

One valuable target group for UK online retailers are US customers shopping on their sites.

We’ve used our own data to explore the shopping behaviour of this particular customer group to help UK ecommerce companies maximise the revenue opportunity these shoppers bring. 

Buying habits of US shoppers

Our data has shown that despite US customers on UK sites only making up 4% of total visits, they are extremely valuable; spending up to 3.88 times more than the average UK customer.

To put that into revenue terms, that equates to a market size of around £11bn per annum based on current stats.

However, the challenge with this group is that whilst they make up 4.12% of total traffic they only make up 0.68% of conversions. Obvious reasons for this could include no onsite functionality to display the price in dollars or perhaps restrictions on international shipping.

Given the time zone difference, US online shopping peaks at 3:00am on UK websites, compared to 6.00pm for UK customers. Also, whilst UK shoppers peak on a Sunday, Friday seems to be the big spending day for the US.

Geographically, they are a homogenous group too, with the top 10 visitor locations being dominated by New York and San Francisco in particular. 

In order to take advantage of this lucrative customer base, UK online retailers need to ensure that their websites are set-up accordingly.

Here are six tips for maximising conversion rates with US shoppers...

1. Be engaging 

Did you know that 80% of visitors to your website will never come back? It’s therefore important to engage potential customers as soon as they land on the page or you’ll risk losing them forever.

US consumers will need a completely different experience to UK consumers so it’s important that relevant information about the brand and products suitable for that market are highlighted upfront.  

2. Be fast  

Fulfilment can be one of the main reasons for consumers not converting. To combat this, make sure delivery times are clearly visible in order to manage customer expectations.

If you have a compelling delivery option such as free delivery if you spend over £50 or you offer free returns make sure potential customers are aware. 

3. Be best of British 

US customers love the idea of quintessential Britain so play on our heritage by encouraging people to engage with content that talks about how and where the products were made.

It’s also important to capitalize on Britain’s national events when customers will be keen to pick up some once-in-a-lifetime memorabilia. For example, the Royal family or the Olympics.  

4. Be local

It’s important to combine online and offline content in order to create a succinct multi-channel experience.

If you have physical stores in certain US cities then encourage your online US customers to come and visit you in store by using city level targeting. 

5. Be helpful

Customers are creatures of habit and may struggle to navigate a new site if the layout and functionality is not familiar. If customer feedback indicates that users are struggling deploy navigational sign-posts to help them find the products and services they’re looking for.

For example, Farfetch ensures that filters are market specific and offer their US and UK customers a chance to search for the right size according to the metrics they’re used to. 

 

6. Be persuasive

Lastly, don’t give people an excuse to leave. No matter how personalized and engaging you make your site between 60-80% of visitors still drop off at the checkout so you need to find innovative ways to re-engage them before they leave.

Offers should always be the last resort to protect the bottom line. Other tactics include delivering targeted messages such as free shipping for the next 30 minutes.  

Ian McCaig

Published 4 April, 2014 by Ian McCaig

Ian McCaig is Founder at Qubit and a contributor to Econsultancy.

29 more posts from this author

Comments (1)

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Mark Deacon

Some good, practical advice, however would caveat that targeting based on one attribute such as location doesn't give the whole picture of a shoppers individual needs.

For example a male, mid 20's, new customer in New York will, most likely, behave differently to that of a female in her mid 30's who shops with your brand once a month.

Would definitely agree that brands known for 'British Heritage' like Ted Baker, Jack Wills and Clarks should play strongly on that.

One other point..

Offers should always be the last resort to protect the bottom line. Other tactics include delivering targeted messages such as free shipping for the next 30 minutes.

Isn't this an offer? ;-)

about 2 years ago

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