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Is Buyer Friction Killing Commerce?

Reducing Buyer Friction

We’ve declared 2020 is “The Year of Visual Commerce” because we believe that there is no better way to connect buyers to what they want to buy than to give them the opportunity to experience your product before they purchase. But as we all know, having showrooms and massive retail footprints is not only costly, but is also not convenient to how we all prefer to shop in today’s age. Truth is, we’d all rather interact with a digital experience, and the digital twin of what we want to buy as opposed to trekking to a store only to learn the options or features we’re searching for aren’t on display. We’ve all experienced this as consumers. 

It’s because of this that we vote with our wallets, and the companies that are winning in the market are ones that have figured out how to remove buyer friction. If you need examples look no further than how Amazon has impacted our “I want it now, and for free” attitude towards shipping. Or you could look at how Netflix began by simply taking the established model - go to the store and rent a movie - and flipped in upside down by bringing those movies to your doorstep. And then of course they totally changed the game when they leveraged innovations in technology to stream them right to your TV. 

The point is, having competitive prices and brand recognition no longer gets you ahead like it used to. In today’s digital landscape, speed and ease are equally as important to increase sales and conversion rates. Brands that are figuring out how to make themselves easy to buy from are and will win. 

What is Buyer Friction?

So, how do we define “buyer friction”? The best way to think about buyer’s friction is to consider anything that may prevent a potential customer from making a purchase. This could be a multitude of things, but it really boils down to how easy are you to buy from. A buying experience encompasses the holistic journey your customer takes and includes things like:

  • Inspiration and education about your product 
    • Are you giving them the information they seek when considering your brand or product? 
    • Can they find this information, is it easy to access? 
    • Does it meet their expectations?
  • Product Presentation
    • How do customers shop your offering? 
    • Do you rely on static imagery? 
    • Do you have multiple images available? 
    • Are customers able to interact with product imagery? 
    • How do you showcase available options, customizations, & personalizations available?
  • Transacting or Purchasing
    • What is the next step once a customer makes a selection?
    • Do you streamline the purchase process to make it easy?
    • What do you require of your customers to complete their purchase? 

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Where to Identify Buyer Pain Points

Thinking about the questions above, as you begin to evaluate your own buyer’s journey, there are several common places friction will exist. Examine these key touchpoints and identify if there are ways you can improve the presentation or processes that face your customers.   

1. Your Website

  • Your website is your storefront. Beginning and extending from your homepage, your site should be designed with your customer in mind.

2. Your Sales Team

  • Have you equipped them with the knowledge and tools to help customers in need?

3. Customer Support Teams

  • Can they answer questions sales may not field and can they support your customer going forward?

How to Reduce Friction and Win Sales 

Customers want to take the route with the least resistance to meet their goals. Carving the most frictionless path will lead to higher conversion rates and better customer satisfaction. Here’s a few proven ways to help you remove friction:

1. Lean on Visual Experiences

  • Seeing is believing because we are visual creatures. Your customers MUST see and experience your product. Interactive 3D product visualization inside your digital experience is the BEST WAY to empower your customers and sell your product.

2. Create Paths to Commerce

  • We firmly believe this is “The Year of Visual Commerce." As mentioned above, creating visual experiences will be critical for presenting your product to the consumer. But it can’t just be a presentation, it needs to be a part of a larger journey centered around capturing a sale. Create paths to purchase that fit the nature of your product and make them easy for your customer to follow.
3. Equip your Sales Teams
  • Especially if you sell more complex products, you have to anticipate customers are going to solicit the help of the professionals. Equip them with the same experience-based tools you’d want to offer to your customers. Visualization and configuration as a sales tool is about enabling your sales team to bring products to life for customers who didn’t feel confident doing it themselves.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and walk yourself through your company’s buyer’s journey. Note what causes any friction and find ways to create a clearer path for your customers.  Identifying and eliminating these pain points will help keep customers coming back rather than taking their shopping carts to the competition.

Want to remove buyer friction? Click here to learn more about how Visual can help. 

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