While the pandemic has proven to be a boon to the eCommerce industry, it has also spurred more competition among B2C shopping providers. If you are not properly invested in smarter tools yet, then you are most likely passing on your chance to grow your business.
At the heart of the current eCommerce boom are speed, variety, quality interface, and top shopping experience. As you are serving a diverse set of shoppers, tastes, and preferences at any given time, it pays to understand the best tools to make them fall for your site and keep coming back for more. We’ve prepared this article to help you do just that. In particular, we’ll be focusing on the following tools: search, categorization, facets, and badges.
1. B2C Shopping Search Function
A poorly designed search function will choke down your conversion rate. In fact, 30% of shoppers are known to leave an online store if its search engine is too basic.
Search, speed, and precision are the hallmarks of modern B2C shopping, so your search engine should be fast and capable of fetching results in the most effective way. To improve the shopper experience, consider enhancing search functionality with an autocomplete option.
An autocomplete module automatically generates words based on what visitors have searched before. It works the same way Google shows suggestions even while you are still typing. The autosuggestion shortens the time it takes shoppers to search for what they need. By providing them with an autocomplete feature, you reduce the number of characters the shoppers need to type, reducing error rates.
2. Categorization: The First Order of B2C Shopping
Categorizing your products is the first important step in getting your B2C shopping business in order. In general, it requires you to structure your product taxonomy in a way that shoppers can find what they want in the least clicks possible.
To proceed with this task, consider the following steps:
- Organize your product hierarchy so items are effectively sorted into the proper categories.
- Make sure that your tags intuitively group products into each category.
- Finally, apply the correct attributes like color or size to the products in each category.
Note that you can also create multiple independent taxonomies for different views on the same data. For example, you could set electric bikes and mountain bikes for a database of bicycle products.
Your product categories and the search function will come into play when you need to improve on the B2C shopping experience of your visitors. Also, search data allows you to gain insights into the search patterns of shoppers. By gaining a picture of how shoppers interact with your taxonomy, you can fine-tune it for much better results.
Getting your taxonomy right gives you a competitive advantage. A well-cited, pioneering study by Forrester found that poorly architected sites sell 50% less than well-organized sites.
In product taxonomy, you differentiate products according to their intrinsic properties like color or size. In segmentation, you identify your target market. You can segment your market in many ways, including:
- Demographic Profile – In this most commonly used segmentation type, you identify your market by age, gender, level of education, occupation, ethnicity, marital status, or even religion.
- Behavior Profile – Are your shoppers frequent buyers or do they only come on certain occasions? Insights into specific shopper interaction with your company will let you personalize offerings to precisely match their needs.
- Lifestyle Profile – Some products only resonate with specific lifestyles. If you are selling hip-hop music related accessories for example, your ideal target market is among a certain age group and audience. With lifestyle segmentation, you are looking for specific social status, values, interests, or attitudes.
- Geographic Profile – Factors like climate, state, or country are associated with similar preferences. In most cases, you will pair geographical profiles with lifestyle, behavioral, and demographic profiles.
By segmenting your market, you can tailor your offerings to each segment profile. Personalization further increases your chance of penetrating your target market. You can also create dynamic content blocks to give shoppers an experience that feels curated and tailored just for them. Your dynamic content should reflect what data you have for your visitors like past purchases, in-session behavior, and their demographic characteristics.
Segmentation is a powerful merchandising tool that produces concrete results. For example, a study found that companies that engage in segmentation typically exceed their revenue goals. On average, they are 2.3 times more likely to research the motivations of their buyers.
If you are dealing with a huge catalog of products, manually sorting through that much data can be an uphill task. If you want to manage the complex processes with less headache, you can invest in modern merchandising tools like Zobrist’s Smart Merchandiser. With this eCommerce solution, you can quickly reorganize your entire catalog using automated rules.
3. Facets Enhance B2C Shopping Experience
It has been found that 80% of online shoppers search for products when they land on an eCommerce site. While you might already have search functionality as discussed above, keep in mind that 30% of shoppers will leave your site if the search capabilities are just too basic.
Facets are additional filters to help your shoppers find what they are looking for quickly. Examples of facets are price, related categories, brand, seller, or availability box. Facets reduce the need for the shopper to worry about which keywords to type to produce the desired search results.
To get an idea of what a facet looks like, look no further than one of the most successful eCommerce companies out there–Vans. When you search for shoes on Vans.com, you will get a result like this:
Where are the facets: In this B2C shopping image, the facets are located inside the left sidebar. (Source: Vans.com)
The left sidebar presents the facets in varying degrees of importance to the shopper. By clicking on any of them or, keying in the range in the case of the price range, shoppers arrive at results that are closer to their needs.
You can arrange facets by taking in mind the three types of visitors to your site: the skimmers, swimmers, and divers. Each one displays distinct behavior while going about B2C shopping.
Skimmers are quick browsers who will get out of your site as quickly as possible once they found the information they are looking for. For example, they might already know the product that they need but want to check the price before making up their minds to buy. To help skimmers, ensure that headlines are clear and concise. Use varying levels of well-defined hierarchy so skimmers can spot what they want at a glance.
Swimmers know a thing or two about what they want, but they will dig deeper if something catches their eyes. To help swimmers, highlight particular sections and back them up with testimonials, reviews, or case studies.
Divers are most likely invested in one category and will try to gather and digest every relevant information on hand. Help them with a logical site map to organize information intuitively. For a better experience, you may opt to add images or videos.
4. Use Badges to Boost Product Discovery in B2C Shopping
Product badges let you tap into psychological triggers like social proof, urgency, or scarcity. By using them, you increase the chance of making more sales.
The most common badges are Best Seller, Newest, Most Popular, New Arrivals, and Hot Today among others.
Finally, you might also consider acquiring trust badges. In B2C shopping, trust badges arise from rampant privacy concerns and financial security about financial transactions. For privacy concerns, you might consider acquiring from TrustArc, which certifies sites based on how they meet global regulation criteria like Europe’s GDPR.
For financial security trust badges, you may acquire those from payment services like PayPal.
Throughout the last decade, we have witnessed the exponential growth of online B2C shopping, punishing traditional retail along the way. The collapse of the biggest names in retail is a sobering lesson for all online sellers: it is fast becoming a case of shape up or ship out, as the military would put it.
While you can conceivably get your B2C shopping site competitive using manual methods, you can do a lot better investing in smart shopping tools like Zobrist’s Smart Merchandiser. With this smart B2C shopping solution, you can accomplish all the essential points discussed here quickly and easily.