Industry snapshot: low frustration, low engagement

Retail is alive and well, but not in the traditional sense. In-store retail sales are projected to stay stagnant with no growth into 2023. Meanwhile, ecommerce grew rapidly at 18.3% just last year and has been projected to double by 2023. With COVID-19 placing a heightened focus on digital retail amid global lockdowns, delivering seamless website and app experiences has become the be-all and end-all for enterprise retailers. So, with this paradigm shift in how shoppers do the majority of their shopping, what should online retailers pay attention to as we move into 2021?


Retail’s biggest user frustrations

Given that 70% of customers abandon purchases because of bad user experience (UX), you simply can’t afford to miss the mark with the UX on your website or app. Poor user experiences in ecommerce – whether a clunky checkout or bug-ridden product pages – are a recipe for user frustration, ultimately leading to high abandonment, low conversion, and shoddy loyalty.

Retail_Frustration (2)
Retail_Frustration (3)

With just 5% of page views containing instances of user frustration, retail generally performs well against the 6.9% average of other industries. It also has a relatively low occurrence of bird’s nest behavior, which refers to when a user rapidly shakes their mouse in confusion, unresponsive multiclicks, which typically occur on broken links or buttons, and repeated device rotation, the result of content not fitting the screen. It does have a high incidence of rapid scrolling per user session however, which in certain contexts signals user frustration.



Streamline the buyer’s journey and checkout

From ‘Point A’ to ‘Point B,’ delivering a seamless and unobstructed shopping experience on product and checkout pages can make or break conversions. To combat navigation frustration, use behavior detection and journey tools to pinpoint behavior issues and bottlenecks.


Prioritize mobile shopping experiences

Online retailers simply can’t afford to neglect fine-tuning mobile experiences, or they’ll frustrate users into abandonment in no time at all. The key to mobile experiences lies in simplicity and accessibility. Direct optimization efforts towards aspects like effortless navigation, clear on-page elements, and mobile-specific webpage designs. 


Maximize website and app performance

Almost nothing will cause an online shopper more frustration than a slow-loading page. To avoid rage-driven abandonments, develop your website so that it’s highly responsive with minimal wait times between pages and clicks to allow for quick purchasing journeys.


Navigation is hugely important to ensure a successful retail journey. With an average Navigation Score of 9.65, retail sites are generally better optimized than other industries with regards to the customer journey; however, users are overall less engaged, showing especially low focus time on images.


Retail’s biggest user engagements

User engagement: a tell-tale sign of customer interest and intent.

Companies with the strongest omni-channel engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, as compared to 33% for those with poor engagements. But which digital shopping experiences are responsible for driving higher engagement

Retail_Engagement (2)
Retail_Engagement (3)

With sessions having an average Engagement Score of 4.52/10, retail performs slightly worse than the 4.6 average of other industries. It has significantly fewer incidences of reading behavior, which refers to users following content with their mouse; but performs well on responsive multiclicks, with users clicking through image carousels being a typical use case, and slightly fewer instances of select and copy behavior 

3 ways to drive more engagement in retail


Personalize as much as possible

Showing users exactly what they want to see may be one of the best ways to boost engagements. Whether you’re tailoring homepages to different audiences, sending highly custom product offers and suggestions to user segments, or simply using name personalization, it all makes a difference in keeping users engaged throughout their journey. 


Create compelling web content

To captivate your users and keep them on your site, you’ve got to nail your web content – from thorough product videos, to thoughtful landing page copy, to captivating brand images. Be sure to use heatmaps hereso you can improve on-page content based on aggregate user behaviors highlighting your site’s best and worst offerings.


Master webpage designs and layouts

Poor interface aesthetics and functionality can completely kill an online shopper’s interest. To really entice users into fully engaging through the journey, you’ll want to design webpages that not only appeal visually, but follow usability best practices with clear call-to-actions, obvious on-page elements, and practical layouts. 


Retail’s user journey trends

While every online shopping experience matters on your site, perfecting those most ‘travelled’ user journeys are by extension the most important. In fact, 90% of customer experience (CX) professionals believe a journey-based approach boost customer satisfaction, retention, and more. 

Retail_Occurrence (1)

With an average Navigation Score of 9.65/10, retail performs well against the 9.3 average of other industries. Per page view, the on-page refresh rate is just 8.7%, and the revisit rate of pages is just 18.4% against the 33.9% average of other industries – suggesting retail users are generally finding what they need on each page, without having to look twice or cover old ground 

hexagon hexagon hexagon


Retail’s correlation between digital experience and conversion

As a rule of thumb: the better the user experience, the better the chance of conversion.

In fact, visit-to-lead conversions can be 400% higher on sites with a robust user experience. As retail magnate River Island’s validation study also demonstrated, the link between experience and conversion is an important one to focus on for retail businesses, with an increase in DXS® by one point correlating to $4.2m in additional monthly revenues for River Island. 

Retail_Correlation (2)
Retail_Correlation (3)

Generally, the goal conversion rate in retail is higher than in other industries, but its correlation to DXS® is slightly lower, which could mean shoppers’ tolerance for mediocre experiences is higher in retail than elsewhere – though the quality of the overall experience remains vitally important.  

3 retail digital experience trends and tips to look out for in 2021


Opportunity to engage more customers

With online engagement generally low across retail, whoever can increase customer involvement with compelling content and campaigns could reap some real rewards.


Frustration may increase

Frustration is generally low across retail right now. As more and more demand shifts online, this could place underprepared or complacent organizations under strain and lead to lower performing online destinations and an increase in user frustration.


Grow grow grow

Online retail is only heading one way. Investing in digital experience optimization will be crucial in order to stay ahead of the competition.


Decibel is trusted by