In our last blog post, we explained frictionless technology and how it has been making waves recently. Now, we are going to discuss some practical ways that smaller businesses can implement friction-reducing techniques to keep up with the changing face of retail.
Frictionless shopping tactics are relevant for both in-person and online experiences, and the interplay between these two channels (known as omni-channel retail) is filled with opportunities to reduce friction as well. Read up for some tips to streamline the sales process for all three types of shopping experiences.
Make Your Website as User-Friendly as Possible
Your site should be easy to navigate, with clear graphics and concise text, so that your customers can easily find what they need. You can also help them by featuring items or by having effective product search options.
Account Registration Should be Optional
According to a study from 2016, 35% of abandoned carts are prompted by account creation requirements. While customer accounts have their advantages, when mandatory they can be detrimental. Shoppers often don’t want to fill out a long list of questions, so consider making account registration optional, and for all those who aren’t registering, you can just ask for their email- this is much quicker, but it still allows you to keep in touch with them.
Streamline the Registration Process
When users do choose to sign up, make it as easy for them as possible. For example, eliminate unnecessary questions or make them optional. Also, consider implementing autofill API (which is built into some e-commerce platforms) that can automatically fill-in the card type based on the number that is entered, as well as the customer’s city and state based on their zip code.
Another way you can speed up registration is by enabling 3rd party account registration. By linking to an existing account (such as Facebook), customers can create a new account in seconds, as their personal data will be imported so they don’t have to enter it in again.
Allow Customers to Save Their Preferred Payment Methods
With their card information securely on file, customers will be able to cut down on checkout time. If a customer knows that they can save their card data on file, they’ll be more inclined to shop with you again. Please be sure that you are adhering to PCI standards if you do this.
Optimize for Mobile
Research shows that shoppers are more likely to abandon their cart on mobile devices than on a computer. If your e-commerce site is not optimized for smaller screens, it can be difficult and time-consuming to navigate. Since mobile shopping is quickly growing in popularity, this is one of the most important ways that you can reduce friction.
Accept a Variety of Payment Types
Customers have their payment preferences, so be sure to appeal to them! From EMV chip cards, to mobile wallets, to PayPal (via their card readers), there are so many different options available, and many of these newer methods are quicker and more secure. This means that you’ll not just reduce friction, but you’re also likely to reduce fraud and long store lines.
Consider Launching a Mobile App
Restaurants and stores like Starbucks and Walmart have found much success by creating apps in which customers can link their credit cards. At checkout, all that the customer has to do is pull up their unique QR code on their phone to be scanned, which is more convenient and unlike other payment options, it can also be tied to a loyalty program.
Digital coupons are another benefit of mobile apps. Many customers want to use coupons, but they just don’t have the time to clip coupons, nor do they remember to show them at checkout. In fact, a recent study shows that 33% of grocery shoppers would use digital coupons if they were available. Target’s Cartwheel app is a successful example of a digital coupon app that has been met with much satisfaction.
Implement Wireless Terminals/Mobile POS Devices
Help customers check out wherever they are in your shop with wireless payment processing options, and you’ll reduce long lines and enhance customer satisfaction. Plus, many of these newer wireless options, like the Clover Flex, accept even more payment types.
This one is remarkably low-tech. Make sure staff are always floating around the storefront, and that they are warm and welcoming. If the customer can’t find what they need, a smile can be all it takes to ensure that the customer doesn’t walk away.
With the right inventory management system in place, you will be able to assist your customers should they be interested in an item that is not available either in-store or online. Give online shoppers the option to search for the item in nearby locations, and give in-store customers the ability to order the desired item online on their own or with a store associate’s help. Not only will you reduce friction, but you could increase your sales: research shows that 40% of people who choose to pick up the product in-store actually buy more while they’re there.
Omni-Channel Loyalty Programs
Ensure that customers are earning and redeeming their rewards both in-store and online. Shoppers can access their loyalty program wherever they are by providing an email address or phone number, a physical loyalty card (in-store), or by logging into their app.
Utilize Voice Recognition Technology
This one is in its early stages, but it’s worth thinking about. Devices like the Amazon Echo now allow customers to make purchases verbally into the interactive speaker. For example, the popular pizza chain Domino’s introduced a 3rd party application for the Amazon Echo so that customers can quickly order pizza. This will likely gain momentum among retailers in the coming years.