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Break down the walls: overcoming three main barriers to conversions

We are constantly trying to come up with reasons why we should not purchase a product, so the job of a retailer is to make the transaction journey as smooth as possible so visitors to your online store or marketplace become customers.

Here is our advice on how to break down those barriers and increase conversions

1. Give me now

One in three consumers would choose a high street retailer that offers same-day delivery over one that doesn’t, and almost eight in 10 would switch from a retailer if it didn’t offer their preferred delivery method.

In this environment, it’s absolutely essential that retailers address convenience in the last mile of the customer journey. That means next or same day delivery must be a consideration – if you don’t offer it, it’s going to be an obstacle to conversion.

For merchants to offer that level of service, they must have the right systems in place, such as technology that allows them to automate workflows, like order management, inventory, fulfillment and integrated purchase ordering.

Recent data also shows that almost two-thirds of consumers are willing to pay a premium to get their goods delivered the same day they ordered them. For merchants this could offer another potential revenue stream from deliveries.

2. Fast is good – free is better

Nobody likes to feel like they’re paying extra. Customers now expect free shipping, with more than half of consumers abandoning a shopping basket because of delivery costs. However, shipping isn’t ever free and someone has to absorb that cost. As a business you have to make the decision about whether you want to offer it.

Technology that provides complete visibility over the entire business is a must; it allows retailers to make informed decisions, adjustments and maximise performance. This can offset shipping costs and support quick delivery. Without the right technology, it’s too easy to be left playing the guessing game – which could have disastrous effects on the bottom line.

For retailers that do offer free shipping, think about creating thresholds. Amazon does this very well for non-Prime members, for example, adding free shipping for orders over £20, encouraging the buyer to either pay for shipping, or increase the size of their purchase and thus contribute towards the shipping cost.

3. Returns: Keep it simple

As customer behaviour is changing from one channel to another, the knock-on effect is that retailers are seeing more and more revenue come back after the sale. Today’s customer wants two things: a simple return process and option of free returns.

Returns are never free, so again, someone has to absorb that cost. Returns cost every ecommerce business money, not only are you refunding your customers, but you are also dedicating resources to fulfilling this task.

Merchants must understand what their returns rate is. It’s not a good strategy to offer free returns without a clear view of the impact it will have on margins; keep in mind that it can cost double the amount for a product to be returned to the supply chain as it does to deliver it.

If you can afford to offer free returns then it’s certainly something to consider. It’s a strategy that will impact on conversions with 79% of consumers wanting free return shipping. There is an important balancing act here between extra sales, and extra cost.

The best scenario, in my view, is to implement solutions, such as effective ‘Warehouse Management Systems’, that allow retailers to process returns quickly, accurately and efficiently, allowing retailers to get products back to market sooner without incurring additional resources and cost.

By making the buying journey as smooth as possible, merchants can eliminate these three major barriers, and turn those visitors into long-term customers and brand advocates.


Brightpearl provides a complete cloud-based back office solution to help retailers and wholesalers grow efficiently.

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