The Recipe for a Perfect Frictionless E-commerce Experience

by Sean Ogino |

Nowadays, the concept of frictionless e-commerce is experiencing increasing chaos. Apart from businesses’ wishes to give a one-of-its-kind experience to customers, it also has to do with where consumers are in the e-commerce technology adoption curve. If some of the postulates of Everett Rogers’ technology adoption lifecycle have to be used, customers have moved past the “early adopters” stage. Now they are touching the upland in the “early majority” phase.

The adoption curve.
The adoption curve.

The another fact that has augmented the case of frictionless e-commerce is customers’ lack of time, attention span, and patience. With 8 seconds of attention span and the time gap of 90 seconds that a customer uses to take a purchasing decision after interacting with a product, it’s hardly a surprise that the average abandonment rate is around 70%. And the e-commerce world is burned by these broken shopping experiences–the real cause of all cart abandonments. A 2016 study found that friction cost 650 American e-commerce stores $147 billion in potential sales.

All the above-mentioned stats make frictionless e-commerce a need rather than a luxury for e-tailers. But they’ll be back to square one if they make the mistake of thinking of frictionless e-commerce as crucial only during the final step of the transaction. The friction needs to be weeded out before, during, and after the transactional phase. To spell it out simply, the entire customer journey has to adopt the ideal of frictionless e-commerce. The following list illuminates some of the feasible paths towards that ideal.

A) Easing And Innovating The Ordering Process

If a product has succeeded in evoking the customer’s ultimate buying decision, the need is to encash the truth of that moment. If he gets webbed into intricacies of flawed navigation, the initial high-pitch interest that he had shown in the product may fizzle out much quickly than your anticipation. The best antidote to this menace is to create a product content which will make the product desirable as well as understandable to the customers. Large product images or 3D videos will push the envelope in this context. Then, it should be made shoppable through Visual Commerce. As soon as the customer sees this product content, he can click on it to put that product item into his cart. Just like a single window policy, your e-commerce site must have a single click policy when it comes to direct ordering. And it certainly impacts the basket value. Remember that 35% have abandoned the cart because the site was asking for account creation to place an order!

Social Login eases the account creation process by letting users create accounts with existing social profiles.

Vivobarefoot's Social Login.
Vivobarefoot’s Social Login.

B) Clutter-Free Checkout

Convenience is the reason why people have jumped on the bandwagon of e-commerce. Making the checkout process a mess as well as maze by asking too much information, putting hurdles of too many clicks, and not mentioning return policies during the last leg of customer journey is diametrically opposite to that principle of convenience. How frustrating this tediousness can become is aptly reflected by this stat, which says that 27% of US online shoppers have abandoned an order in the past quarter solely due to a “too long/complicated checkout process. Clearly, it’s antithetical to the very essence of frictionless e-commerce.

C) Offer the Right Types of Payment

According to a recent study by MasterCard and PRIME Research, convenient payment options dominate the consumer conversion. But the key here is you should not force the customers by making them pay through a particular method. Note that 8% have abandoned the cart as they felt that there were not enough payment methods, as not all customers like to pay with their debit or credit card when they are shopping online. Accepting more popular alternate payment methods like PayPal, Pay with Amazon, or bitcoin opens your business to more customers than if you just accepted one payment method.

D) After The Transaction:

To secure a repeat purchase, care needs to be taken that frictionless e-commerce continues to occur even after the transaction. Snapdeal, India’s largest online marketplace, has taken a few steps in this direction. It has joined hands with Truecaller to enhance the consumer experience by integrating Truecaller Priority in the company’s IVR and order confirmation numbers. The idea is to enable customers to verify IVR or delivery verification calls. Any calls received by users who have placed an order on Snapdeal will be clearly marked as ‘Snapdeal Order Team’ or ‘Snapdeal Delivery Team’, and color coded in purple; thus, assuring the users that the call is important and from a reliable source, not spam. It will help in reducing the friction point in the delivery process. Moreover, apart from upping the customer satisfaction by bringing in frictionless e-commerce, this feature will also reduce the rate of “no response” calls for Snapdeal.

snapdeal caller

Of course, these are not the only means to achieve frictionless e-commerce. There are other ways too: easy delivery options, better return policies, setting up the cost up front are a few to name. But when looked at it closely, it’s as clear as day that the very base of frictionless e-commerce is to create a customer-centric set up. It’s about eliminating the stressful moments that a buying experience can create. Though it demands efforts and proactivity from the businesses, the results that this approach can generate make those efforts totally worthy. After all, the average large e-commerce site can gain a 35.26% increase in conversion rate though better checkout design!

[White Paper]
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