In 2017, the global e-commerce market was worth more than $2 trillion.
It is a record-breaking figure but more surprises are in store, with an increase of 100% expected by 2021. So should we consider the performances in the world of online shopping a success story?
Not exactly: fewer than 4% of desktop users landing on an e-commerce website decide to make a purchase, so it is plain to see that there is still a long way to go.
96% of the market needs to be converted. The figure for smartphone users is even higher, at 99%.
Essentially, the battle to win the favour and clicks of users is still wide open.
How can the field reach – or at least try to approach – the conversion rates of traditional retail channels, which range between 20% and 40%?
There is no doubt that one good way would be to study the cognitive psychology of customers and gain an understanding of the mechanisms that take users from simple browsing to concrete purchases. The first aspect to assess is the website: it is the starting point in the process of turning things around in terms of the intention to buy.
Trust is essential in shopping: the challenge is building it up online
Just like with brick-and-mortar shops, it is inside online stores that customers come into contact with products or services. It is there that the customer experience begins. Within the four virtual walls of an online shop, consumers must feel at ease and have positive feelings that will hopefully encourage them to make purchases.
In the realm of shopping and spending money, one crucial feeling is the trust that customers have in a brand: in the physical surroundings of a brick-and-mortar store, it is a connection that can be managed through interaction with staff or established by the architecture and atmosphere in the premises, but in the virtual environment of a website there is a danger that it will not take shape.
Trust is a “gut feeling”: this surprising fact explains the decision-making processes of customers
…the website and the digital experience on the whole are capable of hitting the right notes when it comes to the intuition and emotions of customers.
Instant feelings provoked by aspects such as the pleasure of browsing, user friendliness and aesthetic appeal of a website are what make customers decide to choose brands, trust them and hand over their money.
This has been confirmed by Derrick Neufeld and Mahdi Roghanizad, who have carried out in-depth research into the psychological and cognitive reasons behind the decision to click – or not to click – the “buy” button.
Their most sensational discovery is that analysis of both logical, rational factors (such as privacy policies and the security systems of online stores) and fuzzier elements (such as the layouts of websites and the combination of fonts and colours) shows that the latter are the biggest drivers in the trust-building process.
Why is this? Trust is an intuitive feeling: either it instantly develops like a spark, or room is left for wariness. When users feel the need to assess rational matters such as website encryption or the return and refund policies, their enthusiasm diminishes and so does their desire to buy.
There is a positive side to these findings. They mean that even seemingly simple changes, such as giving a website a fresh look or choosing new colours can make a huge difference to sales figures.
Give it a try and you will see!