When within the world of eCommerce, it is important to make sure all corners are covered when catering to customers. However, in retail as many problems are resolved relating to responsive web design, page loading time and fast checkouts in efforts to keep consumer satisfaction a priority, one area that tends to go unobserved or overlooked is the importance of colour perception; this may be due to retailers not completely understanding the scale of the condition which therefore results in minimal solutions to resolve. Colour blindness is more common than people may think it affects 4.5% of the world’s population with 1 in 12 men living with this condition, it is an issue that should be regarded as pressing to resolve as a sizing hindrance would be. Most retailers have a clear gender bias in their target market so this percentage rises to as much as 9% for those that solely target men- this is a demographic that simply cannot be ignored by retailers.
It is the moral duty of your web designers to ensure that designs are colour-accessible and user-friendly for a wider audience. If your website has problematic colour usage or contrast issues, it can easily affect how customers use your website. If the issues are severe, they may not use your site at all and decide to purchase from your competitor instead.
Colour blindness doesn’t mean that the individual cannot see colour at all in fact that is the rarest form the condition, There are many types of colour blindness but it boils down to not seeing colour clearly, getting colours mixed up, or not being able to differentiate between certain colours.
If your website has problematic colour usage or contrast issues, it can easily affect how customers use your website. If the issues are severe, they may not use your site at all and decide to purchase from your competitor instead.
Relying solely on colour for readability and affordance makes a website difficult to use, which ultimately affects readership and sales. There are some straightforward options that stand out to facilitate and if not tackle this hurdle for your site.
People with colour blindness need to rely upon written product information to decide whether or not the product is for them, so the ‘at a glance’ element of this kind of product marking is useless for about 4.5% of the people looking at the product (assuming 50% of the customers are male and 50% female). In depth colour descriptions and clear colour names can make all the difference. Simply posting a picture of the product without a clear and concise colour may render impossible to know which colour the product is to an individual with vision deficiency. Similarly, simply naming a product with general colours such as ‘Blue’ and ‘Red’ is not enough to harness in consumers that have a specific need but cannot view the colours as true to life in images “A pale blue” or “a dark red” shirt is a much better way of describing the colour of the product. Additionally, completely vague names such as ‘mist’ ‘night’ or ‘breeze’ makes shopping more of a game of gambling due to the ambiguity; A section for in-depth colour descriptions is a straightforward solution describing the tone of colour of the product. Going a step further to describe blue as royal blue/baby blue/navy blue or red as deep burgundy/scarlet/crimson- is impactful as most people who colour blindness are unable to fully ‘see’ red, green or blue hues.
By giving due consideration to the needs of the colour blind, especially in areas of the retail sector where products are heavily targeted towards males, can improve retailer’s sales when paired with colour blind-friendly marketing advice.
A common practise while designing forms is to mark a mandatory input field in a different colour. Or maybe if the user tries to submit without filling in the mandatory field, the border of the input field changes to red, indicating error. But, we must understand that not all our users experience the colours in the same way and red is one of the most used colours for this. it is important to show an error symbol as in this case or have a label supporting the error flag. Without this simple addition, frustration can occur as the colour blind user is not seeing what and where the problem is. When considering abandoned baskets, a clear error symbol in the ‘checkout’ form can lead to higher conversion of sales.
This solution isn’t limited to forms alone it is also relevant for alert messages as success and failure messages are traditionally displayed as green and red respectively.
Customising your site to provide a ‘colour deficiency mode’ can be costly and time consuming. The good news is that there are some simplistic options available that are dedicated to ensuring consumers get the best possible view of sites by offering plug-ins, extensions and algorithms that provide automated and versatile web solutions to help improve website colours for users.
This algorithm allows users to click through to a page that can be saved as a bookmarklet so it on any webpage they need it on. Similarly this extension is a customizable colour filter applied to webpages to improve colour perception. Options like these are particularly useful as they allow the consumer the freedom to use on sites outside of eCommerce.
Making it known that aforesaid resolutions are available to users via a pop up or message at the side or bottom of your eCommerce site can result in a significant positive impact on sales and brand loyalty; per those with the deficiency feeling a sense of inclusion.
The issue of having a colour deficiency friendly site might have never been considered prior to this blog and therefore may be difficult to imagine what the experience is currently like as a user of your website. That is why it is great that tools such as CanvasFlip colourblind simulator exist. The idea of such tools is to bridge this gap between designers and the experiences of a colour blind user. It can pinpoint where low contrast designs have been used or not picked up on which will help ensure the site is an all-around colour deficiency friendly site.
According to the latest statistics from IMRG Capgemini, eCommerce sales via smartphones grew by almost half year-on-year in May 2017, with tablets contributing 4.9% less in sales in the same period. eCommerce systems integrator Tryzens suggests that the latest figures have only further underlined the importance not just of ecommerce as ‘the’ growth channel for retail, but specifically also of ensuring an effective “mobile first” strategy in approaching ecommerce.
Andy Burton, CEO of Tryzens, warns that consumer spending can be very volatile, especially in uncertain times, but that retailers must not let the recent overall dip in what are still growth rates for eCommerce wobble them. Consumer spending can as much be impacted one way by actions like a snap General Election as it can another way by unseasonal or even prolonged weather patterns. We must recognise that sales still grew overall by 10.2% year-on-year, carried largely by mobile commerce transactions as consumers increasingly choose their smartphones over computers and tablets to buy things online.
He said: “The dramatic growth in sales via smartphones could also be even more attributed to the weather – if people are spending less time inside they’re more likely to only have their smartphone to hand when shopping online. While June is a record-breaking month for temperatures, May fared well in itself with dry spells, and if the trend continues we could well be seeing June’s sales via mobile get another significant boost.
He added: “Overall however, in quieter sales periods, retailers should make driving traffic to the site their priority for boosting sales. Using real-time analytics, like TradeState, to evaluate and assess eCommerce performance and KPIs can inform better and more timely business decisions to target products, special offers and up-sell opportunities.
“Smartphones are the strong and stable channel of choice for increasing numbers of consumers, and retailers should make mobile a priority in the months to come.”
“Of course once securing a visitor to the site it is essential to maximise conversion and reduce abandoned baskets. Thinking about this on a mobile device requires a different approach to a traditional ecommerce desktop experience as you not only have the small screen space which drives a different navigation and customer journey, but you also have different ergonomic functions as well as additional capabilities to tap like location data and biometrics to simplify and enrich the shopping experience. Building this from the ground up and thinking about the consumers’ needs first before anything else is the most important facet of a ‘mobile first’ eCommerce strategy. Removing friction along mobile pain points such as during payment on checkout and leveraging the opportunity for innovation are key trends in this area that retailers should seek to benefit from.
Andy concluded: “May’s eCommerce growth rate headlines will hopefully bounce back quickly as summer arrived earlier in many parts of the UK. But the performance of mobile commerce, even during periods of low consumer confidence, should speak for itself – smartphones are the strong and stable channel of choice for increasing numbers of consumers, and retailers should make mobile a priority in the months to come.”
eCommerce systems integrator Tryzens has advised retailers to leverage developments in retail eCommerce technology as online sales (including mobile) of non-food items sees another bumper month. According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the sector saw a 7.7% increase year-on-year in February 2017, following a 8% increase the previous month, as consumers vote with their fingers and thumbs.
Overall however, it is clear the high street has been impacted, as the BRC reports a slight decrease in non-food sales of -0.4% in February this year, below the industry’s predicted growth rate of 0.2% (2016: 0.1%).
With more than half of visits to UK online stores now coming from smartphones and tablet computers, according to IMRG in 2016, and actual sales completed from smartphones now exceeding tablets, Andy Burton, CEO of Tryzens suggests that online, and increasingly mobile online, is clearly winning out despite a universal drop in British consumer spending.
“There is still a significant opportunity for retailers to leverage the advances in eCommerce technology”
He said: “Footfall may have decreased leading to a drop in overall high street spending, but online is going from strength to strength. If inflation is one of the driving forces behind decreased spending, it stands to reason that people are heading in droves to virtual stores, which can offer the widest of product ranges, competitive prices, plus an easy to use experience and convenient fulfilment options. There is still a significant opportunity for retailers to leverage the advances in eCommerce technology and associated operating models such that a re-evaluation of strategy and funding to leverage the online market is well worth the investigation.”
“A mobile first strategy approach is one of the most important trends that forward-thinking retailers can adopt in the coming months”
He added: “A mobile first strategy approach is one of the most important trends that forward-thinking retailers can adopt in the coming months. This centres on building the online experience from the ground up, looking first at how it is presented to a consumer and how it is navigated and responsive on a mobile device before any other medium. Extrapolating the trends we are seeing of traffic to sites from mobile devices, this is a key strategy that all retailers should be looking at. Tools such as real-time analytics – which proactively ensures retailers can evaluate and assess their online trading and respond on a timely basis are also key to boost sales or enhance the customer experience.”
“eCommerce is certainly not being negatively affected by dips in sales through the traditional bricks and mortar channels”
Andy concluded: “eCommerce is certainly not being negatively affected by dips in sales through the traditional bricks and mortar channels. But it has by no means taken over either and represents a growing minority of retail spend. That is important to remember – for retailers with physical stores, the key is to leverage eCommerce technology and to create a single view of the customer and a single view of stock (regardless of shopping channel) to enhance and lift the in-store experience and drive the overall business results. Investment in eCommerce – for example to boost fulfilment choice and convenience, and the use of the rich feature set of a mobile (such as geo-location) to extend in-store offers to passing customers – is all a part of supporting the evolving omni-channel shopping experience.”
Since 2004, Tryzens has been trusted by retail’s biggest names as an independent expert to plan, implement and maintain eCommerce systems and to optimise retail performance through systems & services.
Tryzens enable its clients to leverage efficient, effective and reliable retail solutions that carry the promise of a positive and unified experience that in turn delights their customers, builds loyalty and drives growth.
From concept to outcome, Tryzens offer a range of services to enable their clients to Plan, Build, Run and Enhance their ecommerce offering throughout their multi-channel development, whether starting in-store or online.
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Generation Consumer, the UK citizen that is empowered and comfortable with online shopping, is now using the smartphone more frequently to complete end-to-end shopping experiences in a dramatic shift in online behaviour. This is according to the latest research from Tryzens.
Tryzens Expert Research tracks, analyses and forecasts the trends and preferences of ‘Generation Consumer’ based on detailed analysis of 1,000 UK consumers who were exposed to online shopping and had made at least one purchase in the past quarter. The Expert Research series was launched in 2015 to assist retailers operating online to quantify current consumer behaviour and preferences in order to more accurately and effectively evolve their eCommerce capabilities.
According to the latest research, fashion and apparel retailers have very different pressures on them when trading online compared to other verticals, ranging from a desire for richer content experiences to convey the look and styling both on images and videos, as well as making links from social media, blogs and shopable content to the eCommerce site. Uniquely clothing retailers must also make it easy to order the right size in order to mitigate returns.
Andy Burton, CEO of Tryzens, stated:
“The Swiss Army knife of the modern digital world – the smartphone – has come of age. Improved connectivity, faster processors, bigger and better screens and a huge range of apps have now made its core function one of access to digital content and data rather than voice. It is now a permanent part of a consumers’ day-to-day life and as rich application technology has finally caught up with the device our research is clearly indicating that the smartphone is the device of choice in the critical 16-45 year age group,”
“As a result we would argue that it is now essential that retailers adopt a robust ‘mobile first’ approach when it comes to redeveloping or enhancing their eCommerce site. I would argue that any new site needs to be built first and foremost around the smartphone consumer perspective. In practical terms that means reworking the customer experience to favour fewer key taps, simplifying the Search/PLP and easing the completion of checkout for deliveries to regular addresses as well as adoption of mobile payment services,” he added.
“Whilst laptops formally remain the favourite device used by consumers when online shopping, the biggest year-on-year change has been the stratospheric growth of expectation around the ability to shop solely on a mobile device. The smartphone is now rated as the preferred device by 65 per cent of our research base and tablets by 52 per cent. Desktops have dropped from second preference to fourth in a year! This really is a move to shop anytime, anywhere and on the move,” continued Andy.
In late 2015, Tryzens commissioned some detailed research into consumer behaviour online, surveying 1,000 individuals. This research is being done again and will serve as an interesting comparison. Since that research is underway it seemed like a perfect time to look back at some of the key findings specifically related to online shopping.
One of the questions asked what consumers like and dislike about online shopping. The research found that 79% of participants said it was the ability to shop at any time. This was closely followed by searching for the best rates (62%), and the range of products (57%). When we looked at what people dislike most about online shopping, there was resounding agreement on the inability to touch and try the product prior to purchase (57%). More interestingly, but unsurprisingly, many consumers voiced security concerns. They had specific reservations about storing card details (29%), and the possibility of the account being hacked (43%). A further area of significant concern was the ability and ease of making returns.
79% of participants liked online shopping for the ability to shop at any time
We know that consumers dislike not being able to see or touch the product before purchase, so a follow up question delivered some interesting insight. The participants were asked which products they specifically prefer to see before purchase. 62% of consumers said they prefer to purchase clothes before purchasing online with just 30% having the same preference for jewellery.
For the most part the results of the research produced nothing unexpected. It will be interesting to see how these results compare to the renewed research for H1 2016.
Expert research series H2 2015