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A Profile of American Consumers, and How They Buy Online

The growing popularity of online shopping presents a huge opportunity for merchants. However, eCommerce does pose certain challenges. For example, how do you anticipate the needs of shoppers whom you'll never meet in person? 

Equally important, how do you compete in a market where customers have countless offers at their fingertips?

Let’s take a look.

Understanding Your Users and Their Behavior

In a previous article, we provided a number of "fine-grained" strategies for developing detailed customer profiles — even when your users remain anonymous. This approach provides some of the largest gains since the data is specific to your niche and target market.

Yet what if you don't have the resources to dig into the data?   

Your best bet is to adopt a broader approach — one that uses publicly available information about American shopping habits and behaviors. Although many of your rivals also have access to this information, they probably don't use it effectively.

Let's take a look:

1. Customers Like Automatic Account Creation

Many merchants allow users to check out with a guest account. This helps to increase conversions (and decrease cart abandonment). However, new data suggests that nearly half  (47 percent) of all online shoppers prefer having dedicated accounts for each merchant. Doing so makes it easier for these customers to return in the future and quickly buy what they need.

Because you’re already collecting customer data during checkout anyway, consider making account creation automatic.

2. Payment Preferences Are Highly Fragmented

Obviously, cash doesn’t work well online, but it’s a mistake to rely solely on credit card processing. Some want PayPal. Others prefer Bitcoin, and still others want to send money orders (it’s true).

The more payment options you provide, the wider your net becomes. It’s also important to clearly display all payment forms on your home page. Browsers look for these logos just as pedestrians check for credit card decals in storefronts.

3. Security Is Paramount

Although American shoppers may not agree on how to pay, there is universal agreement on the need for greater security — especially when shopping online.

However, building your e-commerce store around secure payment processing isn’t enough. You must also display important trust signals like digital certifications and payment authentication throughout your site. Nearly 70 percent of surveyed shoppers report that seeing these makes them feel safer about their purchases.

4. Online Shoppers Crave Ease and Convenience

The entire checkout process should be easy — with clearly defined steps and zero obstacles. Page errors are obviously a deal-breaker, but 25 percent of shoppers also admit that they will abandon the purchase if redirected to a third-party site during the checkout process. Nearly 80 percent actually read about next steps. In fact, roughly 60 percent say this information is “very important” to them.

If you’re worried about creating a smooth shopping experience, consider using a hosted payment page that handles the entire checkout process without any coding required.

Need Help Developing More Detailed Customer Profiles?

Many of the above tips may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how often e-commerce merchants overlook these simple strategies.

By implementing these suggestions, you can distinguish yourself in a market that will only become more competitive and saturated with time.

If you need additional help accepting payments for your online business, contact our eCommerce support team today.

Topics: Small Business Tips

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