While millennials are not vastly different from the rest, but the pace of change they represent is significant. They are from the generation that has witnessed maximum transformation, mainly in terms of technology. Millennial, digital natives, social shoppers – you can call them by any name, but what really sets them apart is that they are an extremely tech savvy audience with the shortest attention span and huge dependence on social reviews, looking out for the easiest return policies. Studies suggest that owing to all these factors, millennial customers are going to be the dominating lot and retaining their interest in your brand/platform would be the critical.
E-commerce commenced its journey in the mid 1990s, but it became really popular in the early 2000s. The overwhelming popularity of such a business concept (among the customers) and its high revenue generation capability makes it a great business prospect for newcomers! However, on the consumer front, extremely conscious about deriving the best value for money, millennials put businesses on guard on various fronts – the right pricing strategy, building long term price and value benefit packages, ensuring stickiness through loyalty programmes, automated reminders and follow ups. Tapping into all of these sections of business operation, companies are expected to make the entire process faster, convenient and economical for them.
But, as any marketing guru would tell you, adopting a good business concept is the only good start! Newbies in the e-commerce business scenario are met with a stiff challenge. There are hundreds of alternatives confronting the actual buyers, and a small mistake can lead to heavy losses in such a scenario. If you are buoyed by the market predictions (that claims global retail e-commerce sales will touch $4.5 Trillion by 2021), then you have to also mind that no less than 25-30 Indian e-commerce stores (and I am only counting large budget entries) shut their shops every year! In precise terms, there is one simple explanation for failures in this trade – some businesses just do not read the minds (and expectations) of the present generation of digital natives and social shoppers! So, if you want to succeed as an e-commerce store owner, then here are some key areas that should be dealt with utmost priority, diligence and innovation.
Having a Mobile Only Presence
Statistics suggest that 49% of all visits to any e-commerce are made through mobile devices, and they lead to 39% of all sales. The figures would point towards the need for having a robust mobile app to reach out to the end customers. While that is a good idea, what the businesses do next is not such a valid logic. Just because you like to wear denims, does not mean you will not buy formal trousers. Likewise, just because your end customers like mobile shopping, does not mean they will never opt for website shopping. When you opt for mobile only (app based) presence you are restricting your sales potential. Keep in mind: there is still a large percentage of Indians who like to buy things from websites! So, you need to accommodate them through adoption of the “mobile also” philosophy. Give them choices – App as well as Website.
Complicated Payment Procedure
There are many aspects that go into building a payment gateway for an e-commerce store. But whatever is being planned presently, is just not working. Why? Well, the figures speak louder than words. In the last two years, the shopping cart abandonment rates have fluctuated between 68-70% worldwide. What this means is, after doing all the hard work (bringing people to the store, making them add products to the shopping cart, leading them to the payment screen), businesses are still not earning anything. Did you know: more than 27% of customers who swayed away felt that ordering process was too complicated. So, you have to make sure that the payment process is as simple as it can get. The attention span of the present tech savvy millennial, who are flooded with choices, is getting shorter by the day. So, they will not wait to buy from you! Remove those lengthy forms, multiple steps and give the customers something that they like!
Lazy Feedback Mechanism
There is a particular difference between online and physical shopping. You cannot touch and see things in front of you. This is why customers are bound to have their doubts. You can help them overcome such dilemmas by including a strong feedback and review mechanism. Always allow the customers to post reviews about their purchased product, also help them send feedbacks (whether good or bad) about your overall services. In case of problems, resolutions should be quick. Remember: this is the era of social media. A casual attitude towards customer complaints can wreck your business reputation in no time at all. Social media has become an important part of customer service, and by tapping into this new avenue you can build a strong sense of brand loyalty among the existing customers.
Losing existing customers in lure of new ones
As mentioned before, your target customers are spoiled for choices, so you have to invest a lot of money and effort to acquire a fair share of them. But once you do, the trick is to make them stick around. This can be achieved with the aid of Loyalty Programs, automated reminders, and strong e-mail campaigns. When they keep hearing from you, and you are able to place attractive propositions in front of them, high repeat sales can be witnessed. This will save you from spending exorbitant amounts every month in search of fresh lead.
By correcting these loose ends you would be taking a big leap into the space of customer retention (especially millennial). There’s this need to design products in a specific manner and strategize marketing efforts that cater to this generation of ultra-fickle audience who wants everything at one go to be able to take an informed decision. So it is imperative for businesses to address the gaps, admire the diversity, embrace the change and be prepared to deliver the best!
Debadutta Upadhyaya, Co-Founder and CEO, Timesaverz