Historically, high-end or high-value items have not sold as well online as they have in-store. This is because customers have preferred to see, touch and feel items before making a purchase. However, this more traditional path-to-purchase appears to be slowly changing.
Digital sales are beginning to overtake in-store sales for a number of retailers who sell higher value items, particularly furniture. Changing shopping behaviour, advances in m-commerce and retail SEO, alongside robust multi-channel marketing strategies are all helping to increase digital sales.
So what do retailers need to do to maximise sales of high value or high-ticket items through their online channels? We have the following tips:
1. Firstly, if you don’t already have a mobile optimised site, get one! Not only do almost half of the UK’s mobile users own a smartphone, but mobile site conversion rates tend to be good. (Furniture Village has revealed that their new mobile site is delivering higher average order values than their main website.)
2. Make sure you check the performance and user experience of your site on tablets. Recent research by Adobe has shown that tablet visitors spend 20% more than desktop shoppers, and twice as much as those using smartphones. You could even consider creating a specifically optimised tablet site.
3. Provide good product filtering options and detailed product information. Customers like to be able to filter by size, colour, price and material so whether you are selling designer clothes, accessories, or sofas, good product filtering functionality will aid the shopping experience. John Lewis do this quite well:
Additionally, good quality product descriptions help customers feel completely informed about a product and can be just as important as an image.
4. Provide context with advanced zoom imagery, 360° product rotation options, 3D modelling or even augmented reality to further develop the shopping experience.
5. Provide pattern / colour / material close-ups to help customers clearly view product options, and consider allowing customers to order samples (e.g. swatches of materials.) Again, John Lewis are doing this well:
6. Consider creating product videos or buyers guides to help support your product information and demonstrate the features and benefits of your products.
7. Customer reviews are still highly powerful in persuading sales. (88% of shoppers indicated their purchasing decision was influenced by customer ratings, comments and reviews – Adobe Scene7 Viewer Study Jan 2010). our partner, Feefo, provides a highly effective ratings and reviews system that has proven time and time again to increase online conversions, loyalty and customer satisfaction by listening to what genuine customers say.
8. Consider a ‘showcase’ showroom that displays products in real life settings e.g. a house. We are seeing more and more high end retailers offering this type of ‘lifestyle experience’ to aid sales of higher value products.
9. Customer service – this is nothing new but a happy customer will not only be a repeat customer but they will recommend you to a friend, which is one of the most valuable ways to win new customers.
Today’s customers are increasingly expecting websites to include the above features and functionality so that their digital experience is more like an in-store experience. By blurring the boundaries between online and offline, and creating a more seamless experience between channels, customers will inadvertently be more confident buying high ticket items online.