TECHNOLOGY

Study: Lack of online content makes customers abandon purchases

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Retailers that fail to provide merchandise-specific content are in jeopardy of losing sales to competitors.

When making a purchase online, customers expect to find content that will help them make an educated buying decision. Retailers that feature ineffective content are feeling the fallout, as 95% of shoppers abandoned their online shopping trip when they came across information that was insufficient, vague or inaccurate, according to “Reimagining Commerce: Global Findings,” a report from Episerver.

According to data, online shoppers expect product specifications (63%), customer reviews (55%), and images of the product being used (41%). These must-haves are so important that customers don’t think twice about jumping ship if they are not available.

Their absence leads 9% of people to always abandon their online shopping sessions, with 44% saying this happens often. Among people who shop daily, the absence of these must-haves results in abandonment 42% of the time.

Other factors that are contributing to poor user experiences include expensive shipping (60%), the inability to find what they’re looking for (54%), and price concerns (46%), according to the study.

“Top must-haves include perks that make the shopping process smoother, including free shipping and package tracking, as well as technical assurances, like a fast website,” the study reported.

“When online shopping cannot deliver on promises of speed and intuitive usability, shoppers’ loyalty is quickly called into question,” the study said. “It’s not too late for brands to rectify their online shopping experiences. But they should hurry, as every poor interaction only makes the uphill battle of earning consumers’ trust and loyalty that much steeper.”

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Gap Inc. launches another subscription box for kids

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A specialty retailer is once again expanding its subscription box portfolio.

Gap Inc.’s newest subscription box, called BedtimeBox, features children’s sleepwear in sizes ranging between 6 months to 5T. The box is filled with three sleep sets, and is offered every three months.

Customers create their subscription box account on a website separate from Gap and BabyGap. They create a profile by answering a few questions about their child, including gender, sizes and style preferences, and Gap stylists use these details to fill the box with merchandise.

Each shipment costs $49, which is approximately 40% off the retail price. All returns are free and there are no styling fees, according to a blog on Gap’s website.

“The new BedtimeBox is another way for us to move closer to the customer, and fulfill their needs with sleepwear, which is a category we know parents need to restock constantly as their child grows,” said Margaret Yang, senior director of buying, Gap Kids & Baby Online.

The Bedtime Box is the third offering in Gap’s subscription box portfolio. Last fall, the company launched its BabyGap Outfit box , followed by the Old Navy Superbox, which targets kids ages 5 through 12.

Gap is not the only company targeting shoppers with curated children’s merchandise. Target also recently launched a clothing subscription box featuring its popular kids line, Cat & Jack. Called the Cat & Jack Outfit Box, the program gives customers the option to subscribe on a quarterly basis or through a single order.

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Labor management goes social at Sprinkles

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

A growing bakery chain is using an interactive social network to deliver training courses and track performance.

Los Angeles-based Sprinkles is bolstering its workforce solutions with a cloud-based learning and performance management solution from HotSchedules. The technology will help the company create a social learning platform.

The platform will be integrated within Sprinkle’s existing forecasting, scheduling and labor management solution, also from HotSchedules. The combination will support the company’s goal to deliver a social network where its associates, from corporate departments to bakery managers and hourly associates, can share their wins, show how they are getting their jobs done, and take training courses.

“We’ve uploaded tons of meaningful content, company documents, and several micro-learning videos to build out our robust library,” said Ashley Leonard, training managers, Sprinkles. “Managers love how easy it is to find what they need.”

Associates and managers already use the site to collaborate with their colleagues and find content they need. For example, managers and associates can use the network to share videos, photos, and personal stories.

Meanwhile, the training team is focused on developing and launching job-specific courses, and assigning courses to new associates, according to the company.

“We’re looking forward to seeing our engagement numbers continue to grow, and tracking who is taking the training as we launch courses.” said Kristin Burk, talent development consultant at Sprinkles. “That’s going to be a big bonus for our manager and leadership teams.”

Sprinkles employs 1,000 associates across 24 locations.

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