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Online consumer behaviour has changed drastically. Have you?

(Source: Bigstock.)

After two years of quarantining, it’s no wonder consumers are now expert digital shoppers. In fact, 55 per cent of AU consumers are shopping online more frequently than before the pandemic. As a result of more brands moving online (and consumers spending more of their days there), shoppers have become more digitally savvy at every point in the customer journey. 

They research, compare prices and purchase products in new ways. With numerous options for online shopping, including marketplaces, brand/retailer websites and social media, consumers are more channel agnostic than ever. Plus, mobile allows them to be “always-on” and now accounts for 63 per cent of all online purchases

Despite consumers’ evolving online behaviour, the shopper journey has largely remained linear, whether it takes 10 minutes or 10 months to buy. Consumers still go through stages of awareness, consideration and purchase – they just take matters into their own hands along the way.

The modern consumer journey

Consumers no longer need brands and retailers to tell them the latest trends. They are now more informed, but also more demanding and impatient for fast, efficient service. Not meeting these expectations can impact a brand’s sales. Though seemingly daunting, delivering seamless e-commerce experiences is possible with the right technology, communication and a transparent approach across every phase of the customer journey.

Awareness phase

The increased prevalence of online storefronts, apps and marketplaces has allowed consumers to find products anywhere and everywhere. In fact, 60 per cent of 18-25-year-olds have discovered and purchased products on social media sites. But the increase in channels also means greater competition among brands and retailers. To stand out, features like shoppable media and social commerce make the path to purchase easier, no matter where a consumer discovers a product.

Consideration phase

When Australian consumers research products, 51 per cent start their search on Google or other search engines, allowing them to search for products across multiple channels while shopping for the best price or alternative. To keep their attention and increase the likelihood of a sale, brands and retailers must keep product descriptions, images, blogs and case studies current and consistent – or risk losing to competitors.

Purchase phase

Consumers now expect the ultra-convenient, one-click checkout service they experience on Amazon to be replicated everywhere. While that may not be possible for every brand or retailer, the key is creating a seamless checkout experience. Those that employ shopper discounts, how-to videos and same-day pick-up or delivery options enjoy a leg up over the competition.

Delivery phase

The modern consumer journey now goes beyond purchase to delivery. The problem is, shipping and delivery challenges often arise that are beyond the seller’s control. A key to success is keeping customers informed about where their packages are and how long delivery will take along the entire path. Managing this customer experience, including clear communication and on-time delivery, can do as much or more for a brand’s reputation than marketing.   

Forty-nine per cent of Australian consumers predict they will shop online in the future more than before the pandemic. That means more shoppers for Australian brands and retailers – but also a more crowded market. Standing out means meeting consumers in the channels they visit most with high-quality products, accurate content and fast, convenient shipping and delivery.

ChannelAdvisor is a multi-channel commerce platform that enables retailers and manufacturers to integrate, manage and optimise their merchandise sales across hundreds of online channels, including Amazon, Catch, eBay, Facebook, Google and Walmart. To find out more, visit channeladvisor.com/au