Southeast Asia looks set to continue punching above its weight in e-commerce growth. Near the end of the first half of 2023, retailers in the region are on track to buck prevailing economic trends and drive more conversions, more ROI and growth through eCommerce. SEA was determined to have the biggest growth in e-commerce sales by 18.6 percent in 2023 compared to a more modest 8.9 percent worldwide.

But new data reveals a prevailing threat to conversions – user frustration. Contentsquare’s Retail Digital Experience Benchmark Report, which analyzed digital experience data from 20 billion sessions, reveals user frustration affects a whopping 37 percent of retail shopper experiences.

User frustration is measured by observing specific moments of friction that occur during the on-site experience, including slow page loads, rage clicks, multiple button interactions, multiple field interactions, and multiple use targets. Slow page loads (defined as when pages take more than 3 seconds to load) are the most frequent point of friction, impacting 1 in 5 sessions.

Less frustration, more activity

Frustration is a (far too) common feature in today’s digital experiences—and yet the damage it does is underappreciated by digital teams. Frustration is also costly. It causes headaches for more than 1 in 3 site visitors and takes its toll across the shopper journey. But frustration also provides a clear and addressable opportunity.

Retailers who can identify and minimize frustration in their customer journeys will earn a significant return on their optimization. Digital analytics can detect users’ hesitations and other points of frustration and pinpoint them to a particular page or element on your site.

Contentsquare’s report reveals that pages that take longer than three seconds to load impact one in five sessions, and impacted sessions have a 3.9 percent higher bounce than sessions with pages that load in under one second.

User frustration stymies conversion, but so does user disengagement. Conversely, user engagement supercharges it. User activity, or how much visitors are interacting with content by swiping, clicking, scrolling, and typing while they’re on a site, is clearly correlated to conversion. The report reveals that sites with higher activity levels enjoy +0.8 percent higher conversions and 12.6 percent lower bounce rates.

Being able to understand the customer story behind behaviors is key to rolling out the improvements that will have a positive impact on engagement and conversion rate optimization.

Mobile rules but omnichannel experience essential

A common cause of user frustration in eCommerce lies in the omnichannel experience, including awkward transitions between channels—and sub-par mobile experiences.

The importance of retailers getting the omnichannel experience right is increasing as mobile continues to drive an increasing proportion of site visits. Contentsquare’s Retail Digital Experience Benchmark Report reveals that nearly 3 out of 4 of visits to retail sites in 2022 came via mobile. But despite this dominance of traffic, mobile still only captured 53.8 percent of all sales. Conversion is lower on mobile than desktop, particularly when it comes to paid traffic (which accounted for more than 1 in 3 visits across retail in 2022). On desktop, paid traffic converted 3.8 percent of the time; on mobile, it converted only 1.6 percent.

E-commerce leaders urgently need to invest in optimizing mobile experiences to stimulate conversion rates. They should also ensure that desktop and mobile experiences are seamlessly integrated, making it easy for shoppers who browse on mobile but still prefer to make purchases on desktop to complete on desktop what they’ve started on mobile.

An omnichannel experience doesn’t merely refer to the presence and usage of different device types— it also includes the frequent, back-and-forth crossovers visitors make between different devices and channels across a journey. For example, a visitor may commence their digital journey on mobile but end it on desktop, or even by way of going to a store (and vice versa). The task at hand is to create experiences that are both tailored for and consistent across every channel and device t, at every touchpoint.

A few pointers on optimizing UX for an omnichannel experience:

  • Ensure that all data and content is consistent across touchpoints;
  • Create channel-specific capabilities that set your brand apart;
  • Integrate a back-end between all channels for seamless transitions.

Designing a customer-first experience is easier said than done and, without the right tools, can seem like a daunting challenge. However, a wealth of customer information already exists to help—every click, hover, and scroll on your website is teeming with valuable insights on customer intent, confusion, and experience, giving you a holistic view of how your customers interact with your site. Turning these actionable insights into genuine UX improvements will help any e-commerce team find and solve customer frustrations, uncovering the real human experience that drives every customer journey and, ultimately, more conversions.

Albert Nel is Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific & Japan at digital experience analytics platform Contentsquare. With over two decades of experience in the information technology and services industry, Albert is focused on building trusted partnerships and helping customers understand the business value of tech investments and supporting them through technology transformations.

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