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Customer experience will define online shopping in 2016

Monday, March 21, 2016 - 11:36 by Sarah Collinson

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A new survey of retailers that operate sites offering safe shopping online, conducted by SLI Systems, has found that the defining feature of their efforts to boost sales this year will be focused on offering the best possible e-commerce experience to customers.

The second priority will be targeting mobile users and optimising sites, so that they are simpler to access from smartphones and tablets, according to IT Pro Portal.

Almost fifty per cent of those questioned said that they would also be looking to improve their on-site search engines so that visitors can find what they are looking for quickly, rather than heading elsewhere if they are not satisfied with the results.

This ties into the idea that without an intuitive interface and reliable features, a site cannot hope to hold onto customers who can be fickle in their choice of where they carry out safe shopping online.

Sixteen per cent of respondents said that they would be increasing efforts to make their sites better able to adapt to the needs of individual shoppers. And personalisation has been something that retailers have been pursuing more ardently in recent months.

Report spokesperson, Shaun Ryan, said that overall it looks like 2016 will be the year in which retailers put customer convenience first and attempt to build websites which are not let down by their clunkiness.

Ryan also said that sites would be able to learn from past mistakes and tailor the experience to the expectations of visitors, rather than taking a one size fits all approach, which lacks the benefits of bespoke e-commerce.

The window in which retailers can win over visitors to their site is very small, so getting first impressions right is the biggest challenge that businesses need to overcome this year.