The ODS framework: Keeping your Customers and Pockets Happy

Published 26 November 2019 by James Gurd

With a rapid shopper shift to online, brands need to understand what influences shoppers to buy and how to maximise product visibility across the user journey. The Optimised Digital Store (ODS) provides a merchandising framework to help digital teams align with good practice and improve their online selling capabilities.

The eCommerce share of total global retail sales rose sharply from 7.4% in 2015 to 12.2% in 2018, and is predicted to reach 22% by 2023. It’s estimated that 1.8 billion people purchase goods online in 2018 and global eRetail sales amounted to $2.8 trillion, expected to grow to 4.8 trillion U.S. dollars by 2021.

Given this explosive growth, why is it that the average eCommerce conversion rate is still only 1-2%? And why is the average cart abandonment greater than 69%

Some of these ‘abandons’ are natural behaviour, for example people just browsing or wanting to discuss a purchase with a partner before handing over their cash. However, if you dig into the data there are many reasons for site abandonment that present an opportunity to retailers for improving their online experience to increase conversion rate. A good example is not providing clear delivery and returns information before the checkout. 

The table below summarises the key conversion killers during an online checkout:

Baymard- Reasons for Abandonments During Checkout

Source: Baymard Institute

If you know that there are conversion gaps that can be addressed, what can you do about it?

This is where the Optimised Digital Store framework comes into play and why you should take it seriously.

Your online store consists of multiple pages and user journeys, all working towards delivering conversions, whether that’s an online transaction or a micro conversion such as newsletter sign-up. Each of these journeys needs to be deliver a positive customer experience to maximise your opportunity to push shoppers deeper into conversion funnels.

Good practice criteria have been established for key online user journeys such as site search and catalogue browsing, based on years of testing. If you can understand these criteria, you can benchmark your own website to learn where you might have user experience problems, and equally where you already perform well.

For example, on site search needs to return accurate results based on the query submitted by the shopper. During the course, you’ll learn what good practice looks like for site search, how search impacts product visibility and conversion, and how to run regular audits to measure your product visibility for different types of search query. 

This level of analysis is essential for driving online sales and plugging conversion gaps. These same principles have been applied to in-store marketing for a long, long time, with retail teams adept at running physical store walks to review product placement, promotion and customer experience.

The goal for the Optimised Digital Store course is to equip your teams with the same capabilities in an online environment.  You will learn what the ODS looks like, why you need to understand what influences online browsing and purchasing, and how you can audit an online store to benchmark against good practice for eCommerce.

 

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