Gone are the days when “Window shopping” referred to a kind of shopping done by a consumer who did not want to purchase goods, however browsed around a store only for killing time or marking it for later purchase. I’d prefer window shopping now to be understood as shopping done from windows, the Microsoft version. Jokes apart, we are in an era where my maid asked my mom to order Dove soap online because that was not available in the local vendor and she is too lazy to go to hypermarkets. That is the amount of evolution online shopping in India has witnessed. As stereotyping goes that word shopping is mostly associated with women, when it boils down to online shopping, the same holds true.
Statistics reveal that Women account for 58% of all total online spending, 22% shop online at least once a day, and to top it off, 90% of moms are online vs. just 76% of women in general. So yeah, women are serious business! Now looking at those numbers, the big question for retailers would be – what do these women want from online shopping?
Lets dig into some consumer insights, one at a time:-
- Discount or Offers, and most importantly coupons
Its universal truth, majority of us love discounts/offers/combo deals and these days the trend is of the coupons. You use the coupons and avail discount. While, this math is used by every online shopping site there is however one issue most of the women face, and with this issue lose patience, finally let go the website. Listing discounted products separately, although most of the websites offer this filter, what is being missed is option to add to cart from the products look-up screen – so we don’t lose our search criteria within the discount arena. This, when embedded in the page, also needs easy navigation.
- Hassle free return policy
- As much as women love shopping, they are mostly not likely to accept the same once the product is home, it could be the color (already in the wardrobe), sizing issue (too loose or very tight) or because the neighbor said so (“I would never buy that”). Hassle free return policy is a must. Return policy exists but often they are not friendly, few of the websites ask customers to call with order number and they manage the product pick up too. But most of the firms, asks the users to send the products to certain address; which is as good as shop from the stores to avoid this havoc.
- Refunding of the amount too is a pain; sometimes multiple products of the same order result in wrong amount being added (always lower than the MRP)
- Considering that a website offers product pickup as a boon, the next issue would be “address”; this should be pulled out based on order number rather than providing it every time. Filling the form with every exchange is not what women want. Instead, with that time they can purchase a new product.
- Plus size clothes, more clarity on sizing chart
- “You can buy a bigger size and get it altered; rather than buying a smaller size and exchanging it”, every women has this mantra. Size is never a constant; although the size charts refer international sizing standards, the products merely meet them. The bottom line is that the categorization at large is quite bad. Two different brands sized the same, often have a big gap in actual. In that case size chart is just an eye wash; there is no logic in having them in place if sizes are relative to brands.
- Even though there is a disclaimer that colors may not be same as shown in the product display images, displaying red and the product resulting in green is not acceptable. Brand descriptions of the products should be verified before uploading to the site.
- Alterations/stitching of the garments based on the size inputs provided by the customer. One of the tailor always sends specifications of measurements she needs over mail, and customer has to send back the same, based on which the dress will be stitched. This tailor also runs a boutique and sends catalogs via mails through which you can choose the dress materials/sarees which will next be stitched according to the customization. This option is seldom available online. It’s a risky process but if done, could do wonders.
- Try and Buy concept too be a welcome change, this is available for very limited categories right now; I am sure the best ones to kick start would be the footwear, this would be the most confused sizing range and also the most loved category of a woman.
- Clothing on real women to know how it might look when worn, rather than just showcasing on mannequins. It might sound funny on how does that matter, but it does. The online shopping is all about visual treat and mannequins are a turn off for any female shopper.
- Express delivery
There is a party tomorrow and I have nothing to wear/I forgot to buy baby diapers and the stock will last for few hours Panic situations like these need express delivery. Additional charges are OK but delivery within 24 hours is needed. Planning and metrics do not hold well for certain people and they need this option; they are likely to embrace the experience for a long time.
- COD options and payment gateway
Providing COD options to all areas will make life easy, because there are a range of conservative customers who would not be ok with the other payment options. You can understand the true importance of this, considering more than 50% of online sales in India come from Tier II and III cities. And for other mode of payments, payment gateway is a must which will reduce fraud and other trust related issues.
- Flashing New trends and popular
Everyone wants to be trendy but not all know how. Providing trends and popular items as part of the flash mode on the webpage is easy for the customers to get in terms with the trend; Instead of searching on web and then searching the product again elsewhere.
- Mobile Apps
The most important aspect of any online shopping experience would be the mobile version of it. I would have purchased more items from firstcry than babyoye, because moms do not have time. Very important to have a mobile app (in android as well as iOS)
- Mommie Banes
None of the baby retail companies think about the current trends (twins) in their approach. Most of the products mothers of twins buy are very disappointed with the ignorance of this aspect. It could be twin strollers or similar clothes, most of the times only one piece for design/size thereby forcing mothers to choose other item and trust me the twins hate this. Basically no one focuses on a certain section of the crowd; this would be one of the examples.
Concluding, you provide all the above you have a contented customer. Happy customers mean sales, yes, but it also means that no change in your sales strategies. A “not satisfied” customer often gives you loads to think and execute, and these days every click can be measured, it’s very important to focus on this lot. No one actually knows what all a woman wants. But these are for sure a few of the things she really wants