How localisation improves customers’ online experience

How localisation improves customers’ online experience

In the space of a decade, using the Internet has become an integral part of our daily lives. It’s now second nature for consumers to seek out information regarding their purchases online, whether comparing prices, checking user reviews or – as is more often the case – buying online rather than in-store. However, France’s Federation for E-Commerce and Distance Sales recently reported that up to 93% of online transactions fail to reach a sale. The solution? Integrating localisation techniques to simplify (and thereby improve) the customer’s online experience, leading to increased conversion.

Transforming faster, transforming better: the major challenge facing businesses today

We already know that as soon as a potential customer is left feeling unsatisfied by the buying process, the response is immediate: abandon ship! When overwhelmed by what feels like a poorly thought-out purchase process, with endless complicated or unclear steps to follow before completing their purchase, online shoppers can’t get away fast enough – leaving empty baskets in their wake. This naturally leads to severe losses for online retailers, not to mention significantly weakened credibility and damaged brand loyalty. What’s more, disappointed potential customers aren’t simply unlikely to make a return visit to the site in question: 35% go directly to a competitor, with 28% reporting their experience to friends and family according to a 2016 IFOP survey..

“You know what they say – you only get one chance to make a good impression!”

Online retailers tend to adopt strategy after strategy to encourage visitors to reach the checkout as quickly as possible. Below, a list of some key digital marketing techniques that examine customer behaviour in order to improve conversion rates:

  • Triggers, or automatic marketing actions deployed as a response to a specific event or decision on the part of the consumer, e.g. filling out a form or survey, signing up for an online account, redeeming a coupon or promo code, birthday reminder…
  • Ad-based retargeting, which consists of promoting pertinent, attractive offers based on initial search keywords or requests, as well as the last pages consulted
  • The appearance of a pop-in window or ‘layer’ when the user places an item into their basket. This technique is generally considered to be one of the most effective methods of encouraging additional product selection, as the browsing process is not interrupted (e.g. by redirecting the user to a separate page)

These diverse techniques have a single aim: reducing as much as possible the likelihood that the user will abandon, log out of or simply forget about their transaction as a result of a poor, slow or otherwise less-than-optimal online experience. Ultimately, the longer the buying process takes, the less likely the user will successfully complete their transaction, whether due to lack of time or simply boredom after having spent ‘too long’ navigating the website.
That said, the customer remains free – and rightfully so – to compare, contrast or otherwise deliberate throughout the buying process.

Therefore, how best to optimise their online experience and improve conversion?

Bringing product and checkout closer together

Online shoppers are notoriously demanding when it comes to the buying process. The more streamlined and fluid this process is – in other words, the fewer steps between consulting a given product and visiting the checkout – the more successful it is likely to be:

  • As far as possible, reduce the number of conditions to be met before confirming purchase – the fewer fields the client is obliged to fill out, the less likely they are to feel they’re spending too much time on their buying journey
  • In terms of format, standardise the layout of fields to be completed – focus on clearly defined lists of values/check boxes
  • Inform users of invalid/incorrectly entered information in real time, before they reach checkout. This will avoid frustrating clients, who will otherwise feel as though they’ve reached the final stage of the purchase process only to have to begin all over again
  • Retain information correctly entered on previous pages, so that the customer isn’t forced to start over when returning to an earlier stage in the buying process

In addition, streamlining the purchase process by automatically completing certain key fields for the customer will significantly improve their online journey. Google Places Autocomplete API does all the work, sparing the buyer the necessity of having to fill in identical information each time they visit a certain website. This function automatically takes care of billing and delivery address information, thanks to an intelligent system that offers the customer the option of selecting a complete address after entering just a couple of characters. Google Places Autocomplete API works by combining Google Maps’ comprehensive database with the latest predictive text capabilities, saving the customer a considerable amount of time. Web Geo Services uses this technique to incredible effect with their latest innovative tool, Woosmap, which helps to simplify and consolidate customer’s online experience.

Woosmap allows users to access accurate, up-to-date information regarding local stock levels, depending on where the user is localised – all without the customer having to input their postcode, address or current location. The customer can subsequently plan a visit to the physical point of sale to pick up their item, confirming their purchase via Click&Collect.
What’s more, Woosmap’s localisation function enables users access Store Locator and Product Locator information simultaneously. This multi-canal approach ultimately benefits the business, who will have successfully won a sale while maintaining the advantages of a web-to-store buying process. With this effective use of localisation techniques, Woosmap significantly reduces the distance between client and product by accelerating the buying process. The advantages of this approach should not be underestimated: an incredible 89% of online shoppers having placed an order via a brand’s website report dissatisfaction with the collection process (large delivery slots of 8 hours or more, late delivery, being unable to pick up a package through the week, etc) according to a 2015 OpinionWay study.

One of Woosmap’s largest users, Boulanger, has seen a significant improvement in ROI* by reducing the number of direct calls to store regarding product inquiries. During these calls, the customer advisor was no longer available to help shoppers in-store, resulting in significantly reduced sales.

Creating a successful online browsing experience is crucial when seeking to win over potential prospects. Minimal effort and a swift, easy browsing process are key factors when influencing user perception and encouraging clients to return in order to make future purchases. Integrating localisation tools – such as Web Geo Services’ Woosmap function – on your business’ website will significantly improve the user experience, whether speeding up the online buying process or redirecting the user towards the closest point of sale. As a result, the likelihood that the customer will remain online and, consequently, interested by their chosen product or service skyrockets! All that remains now is to refine the content of future targeted advertising aimed at new customers, to start sowing the seeds of lasting brand loyalty.

*ROI : Return On Investment

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