It would appear that online shoppers on both sides of the pond are oblivious to the credit crunch, and are whipping out their credit cards faster than ever. Nearly half will be increasing their online spend this holiday spend, with Ã‚Â£40 billion added to shopping carts in the UK alone this Christmas.
This year’s increase is just part of the continuing shift online as shoppers become more familiar with the net, and choose to avoid the crowds, cues and high petrol prices for the comfort of their own home.
With competition fierce, the quality of the online experience could make the difference between a bumper Christmas or the tightening of belts for retailers.
Knowing how to provide a user friendly, intuitive website, and preventing shopping carts getting abandoned at the checkout, is all about understanding the mind set of your customer.
Part of any copywriting project is to get into the head of your target prospect; to understand the needs, wants and desires that will trigger them to buy.
The same process applies online, but now there’s the added complication of how people respond to websites, and being able to build trust when they can’t touch.
Runaway shopper – spend hours wandering the aisles, seemingly relaxed, filling up their shopping cart but then they panic when the reach the checkout, and do a runner. They make up the majority of your visitors and need reassuring.
Doubting Thomas – has only recently started browsing online and is used to doing everything in person. They’ve read about online scams in their newspaper and they’re not about to fooled. Thomas is going to need convincing why you can be trusted to deliver what you promise.
Hail Mary – knows exactly what she wants and where to get it but, like Doubting Thomas, she feels buying from you would be a leap of faith, and will also need convincing.
The Gambler – is shopping around for a particular service but wants to limit the risk. With so many websites offering the same deal, he’s going to need to know why betting his chips on you is going to come up trumps. How do you differentiate yourself from the competition in a crowded marketplace?
Curious George – is intrigued and would be happy to buy if you can answer all his questions, which are numerous. A common visitor to high-tech outlets.
So, whichever shopper visits you this Christmas, make sure you’ve put some thought into how you’re going to gain their trust and reassure them throughout the sales process.
In the run up to Christmas, UK high streets will become warzones of competitive discounting to snare every last weary shopper.
The online world might not be quite so cutthroat, but if you don’t want to just get sucked into competing on price find other ways of differentiating yourself and offering value to your visitors.