The Online Checkout Experience: What Your Customers Want in 2021

Melissa UK Team | 2021, Address Autocomplete, Address Quality, Address Standardization, Address Validation, Data Enhancement, Data Enrichment, Ecommerce, Geocoding, Location Intelligence

The year 2021 is upon us, and moving in a rather fast paste, with many industries hit hard by the pandemic, this coming year may be a chance to spring for those business goals, targets and potentially make up for part of the losses from the previous year.

An important factor to note that although most sectors in the UK were impacted negatively by the pandemic, eCommerce continued its growth rate reaching almost 11%. 

The Online space proved to be the way forward establishing its convenience factor when all other physical stores where shut, and while we are shifting toward a digitalised business environment, as we have already noticed, more e-stores will start to emerge.

So, what are some key considerations to take when finding success in the eCommerce game for 2021?

Consumer Delivery Demands are Key

Well stats show that customers today want improvements in the following
– Deceased shipping costs

– Flexibility of time slots of when they can receive their parcels.

– Shipping costs based on the size, measurements, and dimensions of a parcel.

– Offering multiple options of delivery like express and next day

– Dynamic pricing based on the distance and journey of a parcel.

Last but not least is free delivery. This can be the deciding factor for someone choosing to checkout on your e-store and while this is greatly appreciated by customers, it proves to be a headache for retailers as it has a major effect on margins and especially returns.

A surprising figure to see that only 24% of eCommerce stores offer free delivery, while 26% say it’s too costly and choose not to offer it and the remaining 48% only offering this option when they reach a certain purchase threshold.

To improve confidence towards your audience, being able to offer free shipping and the rest of the above that customers nowadays are demanding, is implementing the use of address and location intelligence tools. These solutions bring a whole tier of functionalities which we are vital in today’s eCommerce climate.

The first is the use of an address lookup and autocomplete service, which works in the back end of your webforms, ideally making it a breeze for customers filling in their information when checking out. Working as a search engine, this offers a list of verified postal address specified to the customers country format if your store is on an international basis. All this is done by entering the first few stokes or postcode.

This may sound rather straight forward but the importance of clean, verified address data entering one’s systems is often ignored or not attended to as much as it should.
To put this into further perspective delivery companies handle millions of parcels per day, and while being reliable in most regards, parcels still get lost, misdelivered, or delayed, which can primarily be due to the address data passed on from the retailer. So, who is responsible for making up this loss? Well in most cases it is the retailer that takes the hard costs for this, ensuring their customers get what they pay for.

Something to consider as most British consumers state that they less likely to order from a store again they have a bad experience with their delivery.

An address lookup and autocomplete tool will not only improve the UX for customers checking out but ensure that only valid postal addresses, local or international enter your systems safeguarding any risk of bad address data getting passed on to your delivery or logistics partners.

Use our ROI Calculator to see what bad address data could potentially cost you.

Add Geocoding for more Possibilities. 

With clearing the risk of misdeliveries and lost parcels, it’s now time to cater to those demands of decreased shipping costs, time slot options, offering multiple delivery options and dynamic journey pricing.

This seems like a lot of offer for the retailer but simply adding geo coordinates to your verified address data opens up the possibilities of making these demands available for your e-store.

The use of enhancing your address data with latitude and longitude allows calculation of exact pinpoint coordinates from let’s say, the nearest warehouse or distribution point from a customer address. This allows a retailer to have a clearer view of logical routes which greatly contributes to being able to offer the same day or flexible time-slot delivery options. We famously see this from giants like amazon giving real-time calculation of shipping costs, and potential delivery options when a customer is checking out.

Another point to consider is that the UK holds over a quarter of its addresses being shared on the one premises, holding the same letterbox or front door, this is known as multi-resident properties.

This can prove to be a problem for deliveries as its causes confusion which is why we reaffirm that the accuracy geocoding can give, pinpointing to the very front door can be the crucial difference between a customer receiving their delivery or not.

The Return Policy 

The last and what we see as the most significant factor when it comes to detailing the overall checkout experience is a retailer return process, this can be the deciding factor for first-time buyers when contemplating the completion of checkout. We see that over 55% of all British online shoppers will generally check and tend to left-click back to returns page to revalidate confidence.

“Hassle-free returns” seems to be the trend and is what attracts most customers in shopping with a brand as it gives a loyalty boost telling their audience they are well in control of their product, delivery standards and marketplace. 

 So, what are hassle-free returns?

Well in most cases, hassle-free returns generally mean free returns, making it convenient as possible to return an item. For example. We see this on a digital basis where a customer can enter their order number on an e-tailers store, select what items they would like to return and print out the return label. All they have to do is drop it off at their nearest post office. To heighten the convenience factor, even more, we are even starting to see pickup return options which are mostly offered from luxury branded stores. Simply follow the same process as above but a courier will pick it up the physical parcel from your doorstep. 

These hassle-free options seem to be one of the big trends in online selling but can be quite costly for any e-tailer having the pick up the front end costs. This is why yielding minimal returns is the obvious indicator and further exhibits the importance of address lookup and location intelligence tools which greatly impact speedy and accurate deliveries the first time round ensuring repeat business. 

The Final Remainder

Running an eCommerce store is often time-consuming and attended to, but we see great rewards in e-stores that are tailoring to all the demands in today’s buyer, which is all about the overall checkout experience, a process that is by far the most challenging for every brand as it transcends the entire journey a customer will take from awareness, engaging to finally wanting to provide payment. Dropping the ball on any of these stages means a loss of sale. 

Any business can spend a whole lot of marketing resource getting a ton of traffic to their website but if your prospects are not checking out, nothing else matters which generally results in the rise and fall of websites. 

This why it important for any organisation to have high regard for data validation tools which prove to a worthy element in uplifting business potential, service and operations and playing a vital role in being able to push those prospects through the buyer journey to give them an overall better checkout experience.