“Speeding makes money?” – you ask. It does, if you think of the value of speed when it comes to online sales. “Speed sells” trend marks the entire issue of Internet Retailer this month. Simultaneously, the speeding comes in different flavors:
1) Speed of page load – the faster it is, the less you challenge your customers. At the same time, all those social media widgets and bandwidth clogging features (video, zoom, animated content) are also demanded by savvy online shoppers. What to do? Regardless of this double sword situation, online retailers become resourceful and find new ways to accelerate site performance by:
a) Exploring the caching resources of their ecommerce applications (from looking into internal applications, utilizing the web browsers capabilities to store commonly used elements of the page or opting for content delivery networks to do the job).
b) Cutting on the “extra” (from multiple Java script libraries to style sheets that can be compressed and finally to slimming the images based on their performance).
c) Using lower cost connections when possible with a flexibility to route traffic to the best performing pipe.
2) Speed of shipping – the more options you offer and the faster you can execute on the delivery, the more chances you have to close the sale. Even Amazon, the online giant, recently started providing same day delivery. And if this offer becomes standard, imagine its effect on bricks-and-mortar stores. The instant gratification need is very much solved by this move and more companies will emulate this strategy in the near future. So in sum, this is illustrated by:
a) Providing same-day delivery option (as above). Will that make you buy today and now? It surely will!
b) Backing free shipping through automating labor intensive transactions (returns) allows to keep the order volumes high enough to afford the free delivery benefit for end-customers.
c) Managing efficiency of shipping carriers (through various software) and choosing the most cost-effective or customer-chosen option. This is especially critical in current times, when carriers stopped providing best rates based on volume.
3) Speed of making your shoppers decide to purchase now. In other words, using all those “accelerate” road signs that put your customers into action – online discounts, coupons, groupons and all that turn that “recession-irritated” buyer’s remorse into a savings practice! The last tactic is very much enjoyed by smaller retailers that shine in creativity when it comes to promotions run to beat the big dog. Examples of the most common ones are:
a) 110% price guarantee (a coupon valued at 110% of the difference if your shopper reports a lower price within 3 days).
b) 20 to 50% off retail prices, 10% off second orders within 60 days. Stimulates come backs (loyalty)!
c) 100% low-price guarantee plus 10% on next purchase, 90-day “hassle-free” returns.
Indeed, online coupons and groupons make it easier for us, expense-conscious consumers, get to enjoy the luxuries we used to afford effortlessly before. A great many coupon driven marketing services have been growing to cater to this trend, providing marketers with clever promotional programs to drive both volumes through the actions of end-users (by making it enticing to share the coupon to get the great rate and onboarding 5 to 10 other consumers to enjoy a product or a service, implemented through Facebook or Twitter).
Thus, all in all, speed rules the online shopping today. So go ahead and speed up your site, your delivery or the purchase decision of your customers!