This year, retailers are facing unique challenges: The high-profit margins in 2020, when profits went up as much as 50% thanks to increased online shopping and more disposable income, many (Amazon, Shopify and Wayfair included) banked on continuous growth in the eCommerce sector and invested heavily in their delivery operations and new warehouses. That hasn’t paid off: Shopify’s stocks lost 80% of their value, and Amazon.com Inc. even half a trillion.
What does this mean for smaller businesses as they go into Black Friday? Is there a way they can increase profits and close leaks that could lead to missed sales?
Data is gold
Before the rise of the internet, getting to know your customer base was incredibly time-intensive. You had to send teams to shops, conduct phone interviews and research customer preferences via one-on-one interviews. Traditional marketing research was a time-consuming and costly process of assessing markets for a good or service, surveying consumers about their likes and dislikes, and conducting focus groups to gauge consumer responses to a new product.
Fortunately, these days are long gone. Now, companies are almost spoilt for choice regarding the kind of data they collect. Shoppers leave a trail of hints when they shop online:
- Their search terms reveal what they’re looking for.
- The time spent on your page can tell you what kind of content they prefer.
- Countless companies offer access to detailed data about your target group.
Now, the challenge is different: to decide which kind of information is relevant to your business and discard the rest. The kind of data you choose depends on your niche, target audience and market, and the kind of business you want to become. There are some guidelines, but they’re often confusing. Additionally, we all like to follow the crowd, so retailers tend to focus on the numbers everyone is interested in. After all, can you go wrong by following trends?
Most eCommerce retailers will first include the main store KPIs like sales, refunds, and customers. Many will also look at cross-device behaviours. Do your clients stay longer on your website if they access it from mobile? Do the products they buy differ? Data can help you detect all these things and make adjustments immediately. That’s especially helpful before big shopping events like Black Friday.
The technical side of things is equally essential: Every second your eCommerce website takes to load, your sales are reduced by 7%. And if the page isn’t optimised for mobile use? 60% of online purchases are initiated from a smartphone, and 35% from a laptop. Just two years ago, those statistics were the exact opposite. People are on the move once again and want a seamless shopping experience from every device. Speed is essential, but the ease of use is just as important for customers today.
There is a moment in the customer journey where data, technology and speed all become vitally important at the same time: The login process.
The challenge: signing up
The moment customers sign in, they become a part of your community. It is now easier to find out their preferences because you can see what they’ve ordered in the past, what they leave in the basket and how often they buy from you. Since they already bought from you, you know they like your offers and will likely return if they like the customer experience.
But the very moment customers sign up or sign in is also the one you are most likely to lose them. That’s because a sign-in is a hurdle in the purchase process. Even if it takes just a few seconds, it is an unwanted interruption for customers. They want to get their hands on the product and feel elated after purchasing their items. At that moment, they don’t want to think about potential security risks like phishing, man-in-the-middle attacks or other social engineering attacks. On the other hand, you want to protect them and your business from hackers and unauthorised access to data, especially during events like Black Friday when hackers exploit shoppers’ hunt for hot deals. That’s why directives like PSD2 (in Europe) are necessary and need to be applied by all businesses in Europe. Multi-Factor- Authentication (MFA) is now required in the EU for online payments of over €50. Here, customers must provide an authentication factor from at least 2 of the 3 common categories of authentication factors. They are:
- Something you know (e.g. PIN)
- Something you have (e.g. card/phone)
- Something you are (e.g. fingerprint)
MFA makes online shopping much safer but can slow down the purchasing process if using traditional mutli-step multi-factor authentication processes. E-commerce stores often use a one-time authorisation code (OTP) to protect accounts. Customers receive this code via a text message to their mobile phone or an email to their email account. Is it safe? Yes. Is it simple? Not if you’re out and about. Then, customers must jump between browser windows, type in codes and spend precious extra time on a process they often deem unnecessary. And it gets worse if they can’t remember their password- not unlikely in today’s day and age, where the average person has between 30-100 passwords to remember. The result? In 25% of the cases, they leave the eCommerce site and go straight to the competition, hoping they can avoid this MFA login hassle or purchase items without a login. And that number is likely even higher during Black Friday when they know they can find other deals on nearly every website.
The one data you overlook
Imagine customers could enrol quickly on your eCommerce site - not only on Black Friday, but every time they’re looking to make a purchase. You provide a personalised experience that lowers friction and costs and increases satisfaction at the same time. Imagine you could increase your sales by 7% just by improving one thing: your login. The industry standard for customer login is a failure rate of between 5 and 20%, depending on sector, authentication method and geography. If you can reduce this rate while still providing a secure MFA, you’re more than one step ahead of the competition - they’re not even aware they’re losing sales in this area. It’s an easy fix that can immediately increase your profit without adding anything to your workload. With MIRACL, the world’s only one-step multi-factor authentication, you can quickly reduce shopping friction. All your customers have to do is log in via a PIN on their trusted device. The latest data shows that the login success rate for MIRACL Trust consistently runs at over 99.95%. We don’t store data, so MIRACL is entirely GDPR, SCA, and PDS2 compliant. Its PIN-based system eliminates the need for passwords. You can easily integrate MIRACL into current company platforms, and it is a low-cost authentication option. Clients such as Experian, Domino’s and Cashfac are already using it, and it has been licensed by big tech names such as Google and Microsoft.