Online Shopping Trends We Love
If you’re anything like us, you find yourself with less and less time to physically go to brick and mortar retail stores to shop. More and more we find ourselves doing our shopping online instead because life is just too busy these days! What will happen if we’re not spending our time updating our Facebook statuses and playing Draw Something with our friends?
The world would implode!
So, in response to shifting consumer habits, retailers have been stepping up their online game and expanding their product offerings, adding in-store pickup options, free shipping, and all kinds of other things to help keep up with consumer demand so we can all stay home and do other Very Important Stuff. If you’ve taken your commerce online, these trends are something you’ll want to take into consideration so you can keep up with what your competitors are doing.
Free or Flat Rate Shipping
The only thing that stinks about online shopping, besides having to wait for your purchase and not being able to test it out or try it on first, is paying for shipping. You buy something that costs $2.95 and then pay $5.00 to ship it. It makes you actually consider going into the store instead because paying more in shipping than the thing is actually worth makes you sick, doesn’t it?
Many retailers realize this, so they’re starting to offer free shipping on all orders with no minimum purchase necessary. L.L. Bean is doing this and consumers are far more likely to shop their site first when they’re looking for something because free shipping is the BEST THING EVER.
Old Navy has a $7 flat fee for shipping within 3-5 business days. It’s free to ship in 5-7 business days if your order totals more than $50. Sure, it’s not the fastest shipping in the world; you could probably strap it to a three-legged donkey and get it faster, but hey! You can get a whole bunch of stuff shipped to you for the bubble. Patience is a virtue.
Instead of offering free shipping on any order, some retailers are opting to offer free in-store pick up. Wal-Mart has been doing this for years, and we’re seeing it more and more.
One might argue that this in-store pick up defeats the purpose of not going to the store, but at least you can browse product choices from the comfort of your sofa without even having to put pants on.
Please put pants on when you go to pick your stuff up though. Please.
Since customers are taking a risk purchasing things they’ve never actually seen, retailers are starting to relax their return policies. Some even offer free shipping on returns, making it far more likely that customers are going to purchase something if they have the security of knowing they can send it back without penalty. We’ve all had the experience of having something that looked incredible online make us look like Maxine when we try it on.
Speaking of trying things on…
Buh-Bye Virtual Sally
Remember when clothing retailers started offering virtual models to help you determine how clothes would fit your body type? You could spend seven hours constructing a virtual doppelganger to try things on for you. It seems like a cool idea, but nobody has the patience for that. It’s a total pain to have to do that, so more sites are doing away with it in favor of customer written reviews. Some retailers are even encouraging customers to post videos of themselves using merchandise.
This is way better than Sally the CyberYou. She lies.
The Facebook, The Twitter
Many retailers are discovering that Facebook and Twitter are incredible places to sell some stuff! If you follow your favorite retailer on Facebook, for example, you can get discounts or tips on upcoming offers. They’re not all doing it yet, but many retailers are certainly experimenting with it and so should you!
It’s cool because social media allows customers to interact with and request things directly from retailers—and they’re getting it!
It pays to hang around on Facebook…
This is happening all over the place: a retailer sends out an email saying that between the hours of 12 and 3:00 pm (or whatever times they choose), a certain item will be on sale. The next thing you know, they’re sold out, often within minutes of the email blast! Francesca’s does this on Thursdays. Good luck getting your size! It’s a virtual fashion throw down over there!
Have you been to Fab.com lately? It’s painful isn’t it? All that good stuff is so tempting, but it’s often sold out by the time you get to see it. When you do get your hands on something, you about want to run down the street shouting “I WIN SUCKAS!” That’s because daily deal sites like Fab.com are huge right now and many people love them. They’re popping up everywhere. If a way to shop could go viral, this would be it.
If you have an e-commerce site, or you’re thinking of starting one, these are all important things to consider to help keep people coming back to visit you. Ease and convenience are key when it comes to online retail success!