After implementing a number of upgrades to its online service offering, including enhanced search features, Dick Smith posted a huge gain in online sales.
In April this year, consumer electronics retailer Dick Smith reported a one percent lift in like-for-like sales in the third quarter of FY13/14. More interestingly, online sales leapt 47 percent for this period following the integration of enhanced e-commerce technologies.
More and more people are looking for products online than ever before. While the physical retail store still plays an important role in the way consumers purchase, habits have changed and there is no denying that in our fast paced, digital world, many consumers are demanding an integrated and online shopping experience for choice and convenience.
Online shoppers in Australia spend more on average per order than anyone else in the world, at $142 in 2013 – up 20 percent from 2011. Australian online retail sales were over $15 billion in the past year alone. These numbers show the power of online purchasing and just how much businesses stand to lose if their online retail store isn’t up to customer standards.
Whether online or in stores, what’s obvious is that customers expect a similar purchasing experience – one where products can be easily found and where a wide selection of related choices are recommended to them online, in a similar way to how a sales assistant recommends products in store.
Overcoming the Hurdles of Remote Purchasing
So how can businesses meet these demands online, without physical customer interaction? Many online retailers are turning to software solutions that act as an online sales assistant to guide a customer around a site, help them find what they are looking for, and ultimately, make a sale (or two).
For example, smart technologies such as Learning Search from SLI Systems continually ‘learns’ from visitors’ past site search activity by tracking their previous search queries and click-throughs to present the most relevant results on the first page of their product search. The opportunity to leverage complex algorithms and unique data sets in real-time (or close to real-time), equates to direct performance and revenue gains for the retailers and e-commerce businesses willing to invest in them, with Dick Smith proving itself to be a fine example.
SLI’s research has shown that 73 percent of customers will leave a site within just two minutes if they can’t find what they’re seeking – so having relevant results is essential. Ultimately, advanced on-site search functionality means each customer’s search is personalised so they can find what they want, quickly and efficiently. This leads to a satisfied customer, a converted sale and more often than not, repeat business.
Dick Smith reported online sales revenue growth of 47 percent for its third quarter, with online sales approximately four percent of retail sales. Beating its full-year sales forecast, Dick Smith’s overall sales increased 15 percent in the final three months of the 2014 financial year.
Swimwear Galore and multichannel streetwear fashion retailer, Glue Store, have also reported dramatically improved conversions and increases in average order values after implementing site search software. In fact, Glue Store reported that 10 percent of site visitors accessing the search box yield a quarter of the site’s revenue. Swimwear Galore has shown like results as the percentage of customers who purchase products tripled with SLI’s Learning Search technology.
A retailer’s website may be the one and only interaction a customer has with the store before making a purchase. It is essential that the customer can quickly and easily navigate the site and be connected with the products they seek. By utilising e-commerce acceleration solutions, online retailers can provide customers with an exceptional shopping experience which will increase the site’s popularity and revenue.
Retailers that adapt and embrace the power of advanced, smart technologies will stand to realise exponential growth. For those that don’t, they may soon find themselves left behind without recourse to improve.