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What You Need to Know to Keep Customers Coming Back for More

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The holiday shopping season is here, and ecommerce will take an even bigger share of consumer retail spending this year. In Q3 2107, ecommerce sales in the US were $115.3 billion dollars, accounting for 9.1% of total U.S. retail sales according to the latest U.S. Department of Commerce figures.

 

The National Retail Federation expects US holiday sales to increase between 3.6 and 4.0 percent over last year. What’s even more interesting is that for the first time, more people in the US expect to shop online than in stores. Similarly in Europe, 47% of British, 45% of German, and 42% of French consumers would prefer to do all of their holiday shopping online.

 

For online retailers, the opportunities and the challenges have never been greater.

 

The State of the User Experience

Limelight’s new State of the User Experience 2017 global market research report surveyed 500 consumers each in France, India, Japan, Philippines, South Korea, the UK, and the US and highlights how consumers are spending time online and what they expect from online retailers.

People are Spending More Time Online.

Across the globe, people are spending more of their personal time engaged in online activities than ever before. The average time spent online each week is 16 hours 43 minutes, with more than 45% of people spending at least 15 hours online each week outside of work – a significant increase of 64% in the last year.

 

Figure 2: How much time are you online each week outside of work?

 

Globally, the most popular online activity is visiting social media sites, with people spending an average of 4 hours 14 minutes per week on social media. Watching online video is the second most popular activity at 3 hours 50 minutes per week. Reading news content comes in third at 3 hours 8 minutes per week, followed by researching products and online shopping at 3 hours 3 minutes.

 

Figure 6: How many hours do you spend online each week doing the following?

 

Smartphones Lead the Way Online

Smartphones and laptop computers are the primary devices used for accessing online content, with smartphones the primary choice for women and people age 18-45, and laptops preferred by men and people 46 and older.

 

 

Figure 11: How often do you use the following devices to access online content outside of work?
(Scale 0-4)

 

Figure 12: How often do you use the following devices to access online content outside of work?
(Scale 0-4)

 

Search and Speed Make the Difference

When deciding to purchase a product from a website, customers from every country in our survey ranked the ability to easily search and find what they’re looking for as their top criteria. Website performance was the second most important aspect of the online shopping experience.

 

 

Figure 14: How important are each of the following when deciding to purchase a product from a website?
(Scale 1-4)

 

Slow Performance Has a Long-Term Impact on Revenue

Impatience equals lost sales. Slow performance has a significant impact on an ecommerce retailer’s revenue. Almost half of online shoppers are not willing to wait more than 5 seconds for a webpage to load, with 43.5% leaving a slow site and purchasing a product elsewhere.

 

Figure 19: How long are you willing to wait for a website to load before you get frustrated or leave the site?

 

 

Figure 26: When you shop online, do you leave a page and buy the product from a competitor if you have to wait too long for the page to load?

 

Online Security Breaches Have a Lasting Effect

Online security breaches have long-term impacts on revenue. More than 40% of consumers will not continue to make online transactions on a website that has previously experienced an online security breach.

 

Figure 36: Will you continue to make online transactions on a website that has previously suffered an online security breach?

 

Keeping up with consumer preferences and new technology is a never-ending opportunity to improve. Here are some top takeaways from this research report:

Optimize for Mobile

Make sure your web content is optimized for mobile devices. Smartphones have become the primary online device for global consumers. To maximize customer experiences and increase conversion rates, web content should be optimized for delivery and display on mobile devices as well as on fixed devices.

Make it Easy for Customers to Find What They Want

The most important aspect of the online shopping experience is the ability for customers to easily search and find what they are looking for. Websites need to include simple and intuitive search capabilities that allow customers to quickly locate the items they’re looking for.

Deliver the Fastest Online Performance

Consumers expect fast online experiences and will abandon sites that do not meet their performance expectations. Make sure you have a Content Delivery Network (CDN) that can provide the fastest experiences to your customers, wherever they may be located, over any type of network connection. Customers expect the fastest possible online experiences, regardless of whether they have a low-bandwidth mobile connection or a high-speed fixed broadband connection.

Implement Cloud-Based Security Solutions

Security breaches have both an immediate and long-term impact on revenue. Many consumers will stop doing business with a website that has experienced a security breach. To protect your web infrastructure and sensitive customer data, use a Web Application Firewall (WAF) to protect web servers from malicious attacks. In addition, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection should be implemented to ensure hackers are not able to take the site offline by overwhelming it with malicious traffic. For optimal performance under DDoS attack, DDoS mitigation should be implemented through scrubbing centers integrated into the CDN network to deliver optimal performance and scalability.

 

 

The Limelight Orchestrate Platform provides a comprehensive set of tools to help you deliver a compelling e-tail experience. Please contact us to learn more about how we can help you provide the best online experiences.