6 things every woman wishes retailers knew about her shopping basket
A woman's shopping cart carries more than goods; it carries stories about her and the many influencers in her life. If retailers better understood that journey, they could ensure the correct products are there for her and prolong the tale.
It can take gumshoe-like skills to discern just how the items in that cart fit into the woman's life narrative. Her shopping cart is not merely a receptacle of goods; it is a reflection of who she is and of the many people in her life. Her choices tell tales not only of her day, but also of the days of her children, friends, extended family and work associates.
And while she is often happy with her cart's contents, sometimes she does not feel good about them. And this, in particular, is where many women wish the retailers they shopped with most regularly knew them better.
Following are six common factors about a woman's shopping cart that she wishes retailers knew about her, and what retailers can do to improve the story.
A loyalist’s basket is half-full: A supermarket's most loyal customer typically spends only 50 percent to 70 percent of her monthly budget with that merchant, according to Precima, a global retail strategy and analytics company. Loyalty programs are essential to understanding shopper behavior in ways that can increase the basket size, and social media can assist in keeping in touch. Tesco, for example, has invested resources in its Twitter account to communicate with existing customers while also getting a cleaner read on customer needs and product requests. The one-to-one communications put a face on the company and strengthen shopper relations.
It has abandonment issues: The average shopping cart abandonment rate is 68.6 percent, according to an analysis by Baymard Institute. Among the leading reasons: Unexpected costs. Occasional reminders to shoppers can help increase the changes of purchase, but a more surefire way is to do the opposite of presenting unexpected costs — offer a small percentage off the items in the basket if they are purchased by midnight, or a free product or sample as a thank you.
A mobile basket is often unhappy: Nearly nine in 10 smartphone shoppers (88 percent) said they have had a negative experience when using their phones for mobile shopping, according to a report by Forbes. Among the leading problems are navigation difficulties and inconvenient checkout. Larger buttons and fewer steps would help, and loyalty program apps can feature 'one-click' purchasing options. Nordstrom's mobile app, for example, enables users to browse products by department or brand, and the main functions (including the shopper's“bag or cart) are listed clearly at the bottom of the home page.
It's filled with regret: Three of four adults make impulse purchases, according a survey by CreditCards.com, but the female impulse buyers are more likely than men to regret iit — 52 percent compared with 46 percent of men. A fun campaign about preventing buyer's remorse may remedy this proclivity (a retailer can send a thank you after a big purchase with a relevant message, 'ABC Shoes, Preventing Buyer's Remorse Since 1880'). Shoppers also might appreciate being let in on the action. Recent research shows customers are drawn to products in the middle of a shelf, so putting up a cute note saying so much could deepen brand trust — and generate happier associations with those orange stiletto heels.
It’s not hers: Women not only influence most of the purchase decisions in a household, they actually transact most of the purchases, and many are not for her. Women also buy for husbands, kids, friends, extended family and professional associates. They are the household member considering birthday presents and hostess gifts. Merchants can look to their loyalty program data to gain a sense of a woman's influencers as well as to identify the messaging that would engage their female shoppers. Amazon may be the best example of a retailer crunching customer search and purchase data and parlaying that into helpful product suggestions.
It does not carry what she came for: A full basket does not imply it is a complete one. An estimated 13 percent of shoppers leave a store not having found what they came for, according to Aisle411. The first step to resolving this is to have every employee ask every customer if she found everything she came for. If not, the employee should have a means of recording that item so that it can be added to inventory, and ask the shopper if she’d like to be contacted once the product is in. A handy app might be able to manage such tasks.
Lastly, retailers should ensure that every basket carries a good experience. Shopping can be a chore, so injecting a bit of surprise and delight can turn a mundane task into something memorable. Free coffee at the grocery store, an inspirational message at the point of online checkout, or simply handing out thank you mints when the customer is leaving the store (to complement the welcome when she enters) can transform one-time shoppers to lifers.
If anything, such efforts can at least ensure each shopping trip has a happy ending.
Bryan Pearson Bryan Pearson is President and CEO of LoyaltyOne Inc. and the author of the best-selling book The Loyalty Leap: Turning Customer Information into Customer Intimacy. www