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While comScore predicts holiday shoppers will spend more than $32 billion online this year, that's just a fraction of the $852 billion Deloitte expects in overall holiday spending. So what's keeping more of that money from being spent online?
Stats from Millward Brown reveal factors keeping shoppers tied to the retail store experience. They also shed light on three ways etailers can make the online shopping experience more attractive.
1 - Include product recommendations and reviews
Nearly half (49%) of all the shoppers Millward Brown surveyed said they "liked the ideas they got from browsing" while in stores, a hint that shopping online isn't as helpful at sparking new gift ideas.
Recommendation tools, including automatic copy that suggests similar items to one a user clicks on, can help recreate that "browsing" experience while online. See the example from Charlotte Russe below:
Smart etailers are already doing this, since including recommendations can boost average order size and adding reviews can help make a site feel more social.
2 - Take steps to make your site feel festive
Some 42% of shoppers said they enjoyed the atmosphere of stores during the holidays, so etailers can benefit from creating a similar atmosphere on their sites.
Gap, for example, has a snowy background on its homepage, as well as search-driven landing pages.
But that doesn't mean all sites need to do a full revamp. Small changes like adding images of gifts, holiday trim and festive colors can make a difference. There's even the option of having holiday tunes in the background that complement your brand. While you don't have to bombard shoppers with auto-play music (something brick and mortar stores don't seem to understand), you might have Sinatra tunes, jazz or other holiday music as a click-to-play option shoppers can choose.
3 - Make sure to create as tactile an experience as possible
Half of the shoppers surveyed said they shop in stores rather than online because they like the ability to see and touch items before purchase. And this is one of the largest hurdles etailers face - particularly with purchases like apparel.
Technology can help create a more tactile online shopping experience. French glasses and contacts retailer, Atol, for example, uses an augmented reality tool to let shoppers see what they'd look like wearing specific lenses.
Virtual dressing rooms can create similar experiences for apparel etailers, while video and interactive product demos can help make other products (gadgets, cookware, etc.) more appealing. YOUReality, for example, lets shoppers visualize how furniture they purchase will look inside their homes.
“Bricks-and-mortar retailers enjoy advantages that are hard for online retailers to overcome,” says Ann Green, SVP of marketing solutions at Millward Brown. “No description of cashmere can match the sensation of actually feeling it, and the inspiration people gain by shopping in physical stores cannot be ignored.”
Still, by stealing a few tips from physical retailers, etailers can help boost their conversions with consumers searching for that holiday spirit.
Photo Credit: dave416 via Flickr