Sports business // 05/19/2023

eCommerce: Online shopping in the twinkling of an eye

Author:
Uschi Horner

No matter how good your products are: If your website doesn't perform, customers will quickly jump to the competition. Reliable technology and smartphone optimization are must-haves for online stores today. But which technical innovations can make shopping even easier?

If you want something, you want it now - without delay, virtually in the twinkling of an eye. Just whip out your smartphone and order, done. According to a recent Bitkom survey, 66 percent of respondents already use mobile devices to store online. The 25 to 45 age group is the most frequent online shopper (source: German Federal Statistical Office). 

Many of the online stores in the sports and outdoor industry examined by the eCommerce agency creativestyle already score points with good products and authentic stories. However, for a seamless and user-friendly customer experience, some would still have to invest in their websites and apps for smartphones. The magic word is mobile optimization. Those with fast performance, progressive web apps, additional features and digital product advisors are the future of e-commerce.

The 25 to 45 age group shops online most frequently

Innovative Service Makes the Difference

The strength of the link between technical innovations and good sales in eCommerce is shown by the annual industry report from the Cologne Institute for Retail Research (IFH). The results all point in one direction: 57 percent of online shoppers like to try out new technologies that make buying online easier. 51 percent even pay attention to the fact that special services are offered and 65 percent find it important that a store offers a variety of services that support the buying process.

Google Likes It Fast Too

Slow webshop? An absolute no-go! Studies show that customers abandon their purchases and don't come back if the process takes too long. Good performance not only ensures fuller shopping carts and more loyal customers, but also has a positive influence on search engine rankings, according to the creativestyle report.

Using Core Web Analysis the eCommerce professionals tested the speed of the 20 largest online stores in the sports and outdoor industry. The scattering among the top 20 is large: Especially on mobile devices, most of them clearly lag behind Google's performance expectations. 14 out of 20 stores are rated as poor, five are in the medium range. Only one store was convincing with a score of 96. Desktop performance is less critical: Three quarters of the retailers are rated at least passable or good, only two are below 50.

With good performance, more products end up in the shopping cart

Hot Topic in eCommerce: PWA

Only one online store has used progressive web apps (PWA) to date. But experts predict that PWAs will significantly change mobile usage. A website with PWA functions has numerous features that were previously reserved for native apps. For example, the online store can be installed on the smartphone and certain functions and content can also be used offline. In addition, the retailer can send push notifications to its customers about shipping or offers. The advantage of PWA, according to the creativestyle report, is that no standalone iOS or Android app needs to be programmed. Any website can be expanded to include PWA functions at a manageable cost for development and maintenance.

Own App = All-Round Feel-Good Service

Additional information in your own camping app or a digital coach that motivates you to exercise and analyzes your results - the sky's the limit when it comes to apps. Eight of the 20 online stores surveyed already have their own app.

According to the eCommerce professionals at creativestyle, this offers many advantages for retailers: it is more quickly accessible and visible to users than a visit to the store via the browser. In addition, functions that are difficult to implement in the browser can be implemented more easily in an app, since it can be designed specifically for smartphone operating systems.

Digital Product Advisors Can Help

Especially in the sports and outdoor industry, with its wide range of different products and variants, the quality of advice is of high importance. In addition, there are different needs and requirements in terms of price, quality, and performance. Since eCommerce customers can quickly feel overwhelmed by the choice, the creativestyle report recommends a digital product advisor. It can make a direct purchase recommendation and make the shopping experience more pleasant and efficient. Eight sports and outdoor retailers already see it that way and offer this service.

Eight online stores work with digital interactive product advisors

Omnichannel Services Promote Brand Loyalty

Some retailers not only rely on a classic shopping app, but also on innovations such as a barcode scanner that immediately displays all relevant information about the product in the app. Clever, because omnichannel services offer an integrated and consistent customer experience, say creativestyle experts*. They would help retailers increase their reach and sales, as well as boost customer loyalty and brand loyalty: "Customers today expect a seamless experience and a consistent brand, regardless of whether they shop online or offline," the report says.

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Author:
Uschi Horner
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