E-commerce continues after the point of sale
After merchants sell their goods in a brick-and-mortar store, transactions are typically finished after customers receive their receipt. An attendant might help them load their groceries into their vehicle, but the exchange is otherwise finished. In the world of e-commerce, though, the point of sale is just part of a series of steps to completing a transaction, and those additional parts can be key to providing a great shopping experience. From mailing options to pickup dates, industry professionals have a number of obligations to their customers.
Beyond the point of sale
Notably, a comScore and UPS study found that the POS is one of the most important aspects to online shopping, so retailers should not shirk this part of the journey. Eighty-three percent of respondents said that they were satisfied with their Web experience, with ease of check-out ranking as the primary reason why they were pleased.
However, the report indicated that many e-commerce sites fail to provide flexible delivery dates or the ability to re-route packages. These were some of the least appreciated aspects of respondents' Internet shopping, with satisfaction ranking below 50 percent. The lack of green packaging or a specific delivery time were viewed in a similar manner.
While the U.S. Department of Commerce noted that e-commerce only accounted for 5.8 percent of total retail sales in Q2 of 2013, it is also the fastest growing branch of retail – it has expanded by 18.4 percent between Q2 2012 and Q2 2013. Meanwhile, online purchases are expected to exceed $200 billion by 2013 or 2014. As such, merchants have a great opportunity here to reap the benefits of an expanding market by increasing customer satisfaction in areas that other retailers have yet to fully tap. Adding more delivery options and choices for green packaging may help them stand out to savvy consumers and potentially win their loyalty.
More than just e-commerce
Merchants should also ensure that their e-commerce sites are mobile optimized, as the comScore study noted that 7 out of 10 online shoppers use mobile devices while engaging with Internet retailers. With smartphone and tablet ownership surging every year, multi-channel retail POS software that functions across a variety of operating systems and screen sizes will be critical to future success. E-commerce has come to cover a number of different shopping methods, and industry professionals should not assume they simply need one e-commerce solution but instead several solutions that fit their patrons' needs.