The Great Grocery Revolution: How to Prepare for The New Age of Digital Shopping

Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods has many online grocers quaking in their boots. And while the brand’s increasingly monopolistic growth is understandably daunting, there’s a lot to be gained from observing and analyzing this expansion. Namely: things that work for Amazon might just work for other online retailers, too.

Take membership. Companies like Amazon that offer an attractive rewards scheme for their member users will in turn be rewarded with a higher conversion rate — 10 times higher according to a recent ContentSquare study. Amazon has perfected this approach with Prime — a membership program that has the effect of a conversion multiplication machine. But Amazon doesn’t have the monopoly on membership, and studies show that any business that develops its member base will see more visits, more purchases and more revenue. Our study found that members view 148% more pages than unlogged visitors, and generate 55.57% more revenue.

MEMBERS VIEW 148% MORE PAGES THAN UNLOGGED VISITORS, AND GENERATE 55.57% MORE REVENUE.

And then, of course, there’s knowing your customers. Digital giants like Amazon invest heavily in understanding the needs and desires of their users in order to offer a personalized online shopping experience. But next-gen UX analytics and experience insights offer all digital businesses the tools to interpret why and how customers use their platforms. Understanding could mean anything from letting Bob share his baby shower registry through Facebook, to knowing Matilda likes to pick up her groceries in-store after 5pm. And given that in-store pick-up customers spend on average 6% more than eCommerce customers, this is the kind of data you want to have at hand.

Which leads us to the heart of the matter: digital experience. The digital age is first and foremost the age of convenience. Customers today are unwilling to stick with complicated, clunky platforms. When it comes to sites, they’re looking for simple, sleek and flawless journeys. Forms that take ages to fill out are a massive deterrent. Shipping can also be a hurdle, and evidence shows that shipping costs are responsible for highcart abandonment rates — 28% of shoppers give up on their purchases because of unexpected shipping costs.

We at ContentSquare have developed a platform that provides businesses with reliable and actionable insights into their customers’ digital experience. By flagging friction points and highlighting stumbling blocks along the customer journey, our data-driven solution allows businesses to really focus their efforts when it comes to digital optimization. And a seamless, intuitive platform is a prerequisite to a healthy conversion rate.

To get you started on your journey, we’ve put together a report that outlines everything you need to know and do to compete with the industry trailblazers. We’ve listed some of the online grocery must-haves and don’ts, and folded in some very telling data we collected in an industry study based on over 37 million user sessions.

Welcome to the brave new world of grocery shopping, and help yourself to a slice of the pie.

Digital Transformation for the Automotive Industry

In 2010, Ford announced that it would start selling its cars online. According to their research at the time, 4 in 10 buyers were ready to buy their next car on the internet.

Seven years later, most automotive manufacturers and dealers are still far from being ready to sell cars online, not to mention consumer expectations which are at an all time high. Yet despite massive investments in digital technology by all the players, there is still little to no understanding of exactly what customers are looking for online.

In our new study dedicated to car manufacturer’s e-commerce, we set out to solve the automotive industry’s online challenges by driving transformation in user experience. A great digital experience will convert more visitors online and help sales managers build lasting relations with customers, both online and offline.

OVER THE LAST SIX MONTHS, INTERNET TRAFFIC FOR NEW CAR TECHNOLOGIES HAS SHOT UP BY 127%!

Today, most customers start their car-buying journey online by researching new car technologies. In fact, over the last six months, internet traffic for new car technologies has shot up by 127%.  Yet despite this increase in traffic, only 1% of visitors will actually fill in a form or leave contact details. So why are 99% of online visitors not satisfied enough to leave their details?  Classic analytics don’t give you any information on why visitors do what they do. You need the behavioral data, or visitor’s interactions, in order to start making decisions that will move your customer down the sales path.

By uncovering the customer’s journey online, you can begin to understand what they are doing, and how you can help move them down the sales cycle, and bring them closer to your online objectives. These interactions will let you know how the buyer feels on your website, or what the actual user experience is. Hesitation metrics can signal frustration, and waiting a long time before the first click can mean confusion.

OUR STUDY SHOWS THAT 65% OF TRAFFIC IS STILL FROM DESKTOPS.

Our study shows that 65% of traffic is still from desktops. You can imagine a visitor comfortably seated at the computer and wanting to have a look at some new car models. What would make navigation easy for them? Since most visitors know exactly what they are looking for, try playing with the navigation to focus on showcasing vehicles and their features, making it easy for them to progress from the home page to product pages, until they reach the contact form.

A picture, of course, is worth a thousand words. Here too, you can use the power of images to create a good user experience and increase the likelihood of submitting a form by a sizable 134%. On the other hand, be wary of too much scrolling. Your visitors are looking for very specific information, and they will not scroll through the entire page to track it down. If your bounce rates are high, look at the scroll rate and adjust the location of information on the page. If they do find what they are looking for, that is good news for the site. Our study showed that after the 30th page read, the likelihood of visiting the store locator increases by 35%.

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While new car sales still happen mainly in the showroom, there is a clear indication that most people are starting their buying journeys online with research and information gathering. The experience you give your customer on the first page visit will set the stage for the entire customer relationship. Make sure it is a positive one by optimizing your website with a great user experience.

Read the complete study here.

Digital Transformation for the Automotive Industry – es

In 2010, Ford announced that it would start selling its cars online. According to their research at the time, 4 in 10 buyers were ready to buy their next car on the internet.

Seven years later, most automotive manufacturers and dealers are still far from being ready to sell cars online, not to mention consumer expectations which are at an all time high. Yet despite massive investments in digital technology by all the players, there is still little to no understanding of exactly what customers are looking for online.

In our new study dedicated to car manufacturer’s e-commerce, we set out to solve the automotive industry’s online challenges by driving transformation in user experience. A great digital experience will convert more visitors online and help sales managers build lasting relations with customers, both online and offline.

OVER THE LAST SIX MONTHS, INTERNET TRAFFIC FOR NEW CAR TECHNOLOGIES HAS SHOT UP BY 127%!

Today, most customers start their car-buying journey online by researching new car technologies. In fact, over the last six months, internet traffic for new car technologies has shot up by 127%.  Yet despite this increase in traffic, only 1% of visitors will actually fill in a form or leave contact details. So why are 99% of online visitors not satisfied enough to leave their details?  Classic analytics don’t give you any information on why visitors do what they do. You need the behavioral data, or visitor’s interactions, in order to start making decisions that will move your customer down the sales path.

By uncovering the customer’s journey online, you can begin to understand what they are doing, and how you can help move them down the sales cycle, and bring them closer to your online objectives. These interactions will let you know how the buyer feels on your website, or what the actual user experience is. Hesitation metrics can signal frustration, and waiting a long time before the first click can mean confusion.

OUR STUDY SHOWS THAT 65% OF TRAFFIC IS STILL FROM DESKTOPS.

Our study shows that 65% of traffic is still from desktops. You can imagine a visitor comfortably seated at the computer and wanting to have a look at some new car models. What would make navigation easy for them? Since most visitors know exactly what they are looking for, try playing with the navigation to focus on showcasing vehicles and their features, making it easy for them to progress from the home page to product pages, until they reach the contact form.

A picture, of course, is worth a thousand words. Here too, you can use the power of images to create a good user experience and increase the likelihood of submitting a form by a sizable 134%. On the other hand, be wary of too much scrolling. Your visitors are looking for very specific information, and they will not scroll through the entire page to track it down. If your bounce rates are high, look at the scroll rate and adjust the location of information on the page. If they do find what they are looking for, that is good news for the site. Our study showed that after the 30th page read, the likelihood of visiting the store locator increases by 35%.

Auto-Data1.png

While new car sales still happen mainly in the showroom, there is a clear indication that most people are starting their buying journeys online with research and information gathering. The experience you give your customer on the first page visit will set the stage for the entire customer relationship. Make sure it is a positive one by optimizing your website with a great user experience.

Read the complete study here.

The 4 Best Online Back-To-School Campaigns

Countless eCommerce merchants spent the entire year preparing and testing iterations of back-to-school campaigns, with the most innovative and attention-grabbing campaigns raking in lucrative returns.

Now that everyone is back in school and the campaign craze is finally over, we would like to share our favorite 2017 campaigns. These are the ones we found most creative, inspiring, and that really maximized the power of digital experiences. Kudos to these companies who, in a nutshell, completely nailed it.  And here they are!

#1) King of Convenience: Staples

Staples has been in the back-to-school game for decades, and has adapted to the digital world thoughtfully. One reason Staples has managed to remain competitive as commerce shifts away from brick and mortar stores is its foundational ability to recognize not only its consumers’ pain points, but also the pain points of the industry at large.

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Customers can snap a picture of their back-to-school list, upload it to the Staples app, and Staples automatically adds each item to a shopping cart for customers to review and check out.

Why it works: The biggest pain of back-to-school season? Having to navigate Labor Day Weekend parking lots, track down every picky item on your child’s school supplies list, and wait in line to check out. With their new “We’ll shop for you” campaign, Staples eliminates each and every one of those pain points. Staples sets itself apart with this complete solution to back-to-school anxiety, and at the same time, gets its app installed on phones galore, giving them a leg up in the competition for that customer’s future purchases, as well.

#2) Class Clown: Best Buy

Electronics giant Best Buy made a notable contribution to the back-to-school rush in recent years with their coordinated commercial and mobile campaign featuring comedic actor Adam Devine.

Best Buy has always made an effort to humanize and insert humor into the electronics industry, and its back-to-school campaigns were no different. By creating a short series of videos titled “How to College with Adam Devine,” Best Buy was able to make a lasting impression on high school seniors, college students, and general fans of funny short videos.

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These videos aimed at helping new college students navigate a new world of first-time experiences and awkward situations with comic levity, while simultaneously introducing relevant Best Buy products.

Some credit is due to Best Buy’s selection of Adam Devine for this particular role. As one of the stars of Workaholics, a Comedy Central show about three college friends entering the workforce, Devine was able to bridge the gap between Best Buy and a new generation of college students.

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Best Buy carried the campaign into their mobile experience. The introduction of “Adamojis,” exclusive emojis containing Adam Devine’s expressions and funny faces, made it easier for a young audience to associate Best Buy with a hip celebrity. Best Buy’s release of an emoji app also showed an intimate understanding of their target audience.

Why it works: Best Buy’s campaigns were an effective way to build their brand with a new generation of college students. With an omnichannel approach utilizing YouTube, mobile apps, and in-store locations, Best Buy was able to cover a lot more ground with a single initiative.

#3) Advertising through Advice: Walmart

Any good marketer knows that quality content is a great vehicle to introduce products to customers who are otherwise allergic to advertising. Shoppers these days are so inundated by ads that they are likely to ignore obvious marketing. It’s up to innovative advertising teams to use more subtle methods to induce product discovery.

“Subtle” and “Walmart” don’t usually appear in the same sentence, which is why Walmart’s series of back-to-school advice columns are so clever. Pieces like “Girls’ back-to-school outfits for a whole week,” bento box lunch ideas, and a backpack buying guide provide nuggets of useful info for parents while recommending specific Walmart products.

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Why it works: Brands like Walmart, which focus on high volume and low prices, can face the problem of customers feeling overwhelmed by choice and fatigued by shopping. Especially online, when the options are seemingly endless, Walmart needs to help customers visualize how items will fit into their daily lives and meet their needs. Giving customers tips for the busy back-to-school season, and explaining how specific items can make the transition easier and fun, is a great way to cut through the consumer fog and connect shoppers with products.

#4) Bundling Boss: Bed Bath & Beyond

When it comes to stocking a dorm room, there’s never been a better time for bundling. First time college students and their parents can only guess at what a modern college freshman needs at their new home away from home, and retailers have the opportunity to help them think of all of the essentials and each of the extras that will make sure they’re at their best and comfortable in their new space.

Bed Bath & Beyond featured a selection of well thought out and creative bundles they call “starter packs,” with the funny and relatable slogan: “When you just can’t even, we can help.”

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Some favorites include the “anti-freshman 15” which features dumbbells, a mini juicer, and other wellness items, and the “I-miss-my-fam” which includes picture frames, sweets, and other comfort items.

Why it works: The campaign is eye catching and tugs at the heartstrings with its clever nod to how overwhelming and emotional it can be to move away from home (and to move your children away from home), and funny and comforting with its product titling and selection. It cleverly communicates, “When you feel homesick, you’ll need these items,” and “When you have a hard time focusing, you’ll need these items,” which illustrates how their products can help specific states of mind – which at the end of the day is what every shopper truly wants, to feel better and to feel happy. Bundles are the perfect way to deliver products to consumers who don’t know yet what they’ll need in order to feel good in a new situation, like a new school setting.

In Conclusion

The best back-to-school digital campaigns shoot for extremely effective targeting that brings visitors to a clear communication of the specific value of their products, while seamlessly introducing them to their shopping experience.

Savvy merchants understand their audiences and are willing to go outside the boundaries of traditional marketing and get a little creative. A successful back-to-school campaign directly addresses customer’s needs while tapping into the excitement and high emotions of the season of transitions.

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4 UX KPIs You Should be Tracking (But Most Likely Aren’t)

When marketers want to measure their website performance, they often rely on indicators like conversion rates, bounce rates, session duration, or number of page views.

Just like a doctor conducting a routine check-up on his patient, the use of basic KPIs is an excellent way of monitoring your website’s “health” and a good way to find symptoms of bad user experience. Yet, when it comes to understanding the exact cause of these symptoms, and coming up with the right optimization decisions, traditional analytics are simply not enough.

Here’s 4 KPIs you might not have heard of, but that could become crucial to your online business success.

1. Click repetition

What is it ? The number of clicks in a row on the same page element. If this indicator gets past 2, it’s a clear sign that your users are getting frustrated. There could be several reasons for this: design misconceptions, bugs, unclear CTAs…

img 1Let’s look at an example. The screenshot opposite is taken from a fashion retailer’s website. We can see that the image is clicked over and over more than 5 times on average… The reason behind it is that the eye-shaped icon, suggesting you can zoom-in or enlarge the image, doesn’t trigger any action at all. That’s typically the type of frustrating experience you want to avoid on a retail website.
Click repetition also often brings to light a very common and underestimated problem for e-commerce websites : the lack of feedback at important stages of the browsing experience. Think of when you put a product in your basket: you’re expecting a confirmation, but what if this confirmation isn’t clear or takes too long to be delivered ? Chances are you click again, and again.
You need to ensure that you prevent this kind of negative experience by tracking this KPI.

On a sidenote, be careful not to misunderstand click repetition for “click addiction” as, for instance, users compulsively clicking on a slideshow could trigger the same KPI.

2. Activity rate

When a page fails to meet the needs of the visitors, they usually leave, thus generating a high bounce rate. But how do we know whether this bounce is due to inadequate content or to an interaction problem within the page ?

The “time spent” by users on a particular page could give us a hint, but it could be tricky. Indeed, what we really want to know is if people interact with the page.

“Activity rate” measures the time spent interacting within the page. In the case of a page with a high bounce rate, a low activity rate would point out a problem in acquisition strategy. To the contrary, a high activity rate would lead us to understand that users leave because the page isn’t responding properly to their interactions.
Thanks to understanding the activity rate, you know what to investigate.

On the following image, we see that “bouncing users” leave the homepage without doing anything (4%), whereas on the product page, they interact before leaving (25%).

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3. Engagement rate

We can all agree that creating efficient “call-to-action” buttons is crucial to conversion, but it is also an art. A slight change of words can have huge effect on clicks-through. When you need to figure out which CTAs are more appealing to your users, and which ones are less appealing, engagement rate comes in handy.

In the menu below, we clearly see that “Exclusive offers” is by far the most affording category of the menu, with 12. 6% engagement rate.

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A low engagement rate would reveal that the wording is unclear, or maybe that two categories seem to describe the same thing.
By monitoring this KPI, optimizing and reorganizing your menus and CTAs for better performance becomes significantly easier.

4. Time before first click

Have you ever wanted to know if your checkout page could perform better ? Assessing the time before click would uncover significant insight into being able to address this.

The following two CTAs are checkout validation buttons, taken from two different websites.

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On the first website, users take 43.8 seconds to review their checkout list before clicking on “validate”.
On the second website, it takes them 66.6 seconds to accomplish the same action. That’s 23 seconds longer, and yet the checkout page is way simpler in that case. It’s obvious that something isn’t clear and takes time for users to understand.

Conclusion

Advanced UX Analytics are empowering marketers with a new generation of KPIs that offer to show how users really behave while browsing, leaving intuition aside and allowing data-driven optimization.
Click repetition, activity rate, engagement rate, time before click are some of the new indicators that help leading retailers minimise errors and hesitation times, equipping leading e-commerce brands with the ability to provide a seamless user experience.

What’s your opinion about KPIs ? Tweet us what you think @ContentSquare

To discover how UX Analytics can help you with your business, visit contentsquare.com

UX Spotlight: Using Videos on Clothing Site’s Product Pages

In the UX Spotlight series, I post weekly on UX features that impressed me online and are great examples and inspiration for anyone looking to enhance their digital user experience.

UX is the new salesperson. Customers can’t feel or try on items before purchasing them online, so it’s up to eCommerce digital platforms to provide a user experience that gives shoppers the same confidence and readiness to buy that an in-store exposure to a product would. We found that there is a 50% chance that mobile users will abandon a site after 5 seconds, so there’s not much time to make a good impression.

With that in mind, I’d like to share the great experience that I had in White House Black Market’s product pages.  They have pictures taken from different angles, which has become an industry standard – but they also have videos that really give that in-store feel and create a great experience.
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The UX Element: Most WHBM product pages I visited featured short videos of the clothing item in action. Within the product page, below the images, they added a play button. When clicked, an inline video shows models walking and posing in the garments, along with different shoes and accessories. The videos are available on the product pages of popular or new items and directly on some category pages.

The Impact: With online conversion rates so low, brands will try almost anything to improve them. WHBM does an amazing job at this by making it very easy to visualize how an item might look and fit with these videos. I can see the texture and weight of the fabric, how it falls and moves, how it looks in the light, and how it flatters or constrains the body. By making it easy to picture oneself in the dress, they are emulating the store experience and bridging the gap between seeing and buying that other brands may struggle with.

The Takeaway: Video continues to prove it’s value both on a personal level, as a shopper, and on a business level, as a marketer.

There’s no doubt that in time, the video will be present on all pages like fitting rooms are for physical stores now. But you still have a chance to be ahead of the game. ContentSquare data suggests that 48% of users will exit the site from the product page, so you can start by incorporating videos on all of those product pages. You could even take it a step further and offer multiple models so that shoppers can see how an item looks on different body types or with different accessories.

As with any UX element, make sure you are properly tracking all the changes and results so that when your conversion rates start increasing, you will know what to attribute it to and how to continue optimizing your business.

I am always on the lookout for UX innovation. If you come across a digital experience that stands out, please send it over to [email protected]

10 Common UX Problems on Travel Sites

When gathering information and booking travel, brands leverage UX to impart a positive brand experience. With UX as the new brand, we compiled the most common UX problems for travel websites.

1. Cluttered layouts

Some websites overload their user with too much information resulting in a heavy cognitive load. Sure, the landing page is prime real estate and it is tempting to squeeze special offers and product offerings on the landing page. Keeping it simple lets the user focus on the task at hand.

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On the landing page, the user is greeted simple layout that focusses on the search bar with a clear call-to-action. Once the user starts typing, the page changes to a more dynamic search page. Trivago understands their customers’ objectives and presents them with a clear and clutter-free search experience.

2. Unintuitive fields

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A drop-down menu for the destination, especially when most of the text is obscured, slows down the search tremendously. If input values or destinations are limited, a hybrid text box and drop down menu works best. During exploratory sessions, users may conduct several searches at a time and will be slowed down by drop down menus.

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Autocomplete search not only helps the user execute a search quickly but can also guide users who want to explore options in a specific country rather than a city.

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3. NO TRACKING OF PROGRESS

 

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Progress trackers can inform the user where they are in the buying process, what’s to come, and drives users to seek completion. This feature is a must-have for airlines and helps to logically structure the booking process.

4. NO MAP SEARCH TOOL

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An interactive map gives users a dynamic method of searching. Maps that refresh the search parameters based on geography or destination-based pricing can also be a source of inspiration for travelers.

5. Not personalised for the user

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TripAdvisor gives users the option to choose their currency and language. Unlinking the two offers a truly customisable user experience.

New visitors vs. returning visitors

When new visitors land on your page, recommendations and popular destinations are ideal for creating inspiration if they are not set on where to go.

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On the other hand, returning visitors should be greeted with recently viewed or recently searched offers that give them a more personalised experience. Returning users are 2x more likely to purchase during a session, hence the importance of personalising the page.

6. Choosing a date is tedious

Smart calendars

Finding the best deal on flights can be a long process and can be tough when the prices are so volatile. Skyscanner makes researching easy based on the certainty of the users.

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If a customer has specific travel dates, choosing the date is easy on the calendar. An important UX point is to include the days from the previous and following month.


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If dates are flexible, Skyscanner gives the option of choosing the month, even the cheapest month.

7. Neglecting Mobile UX

Optimising your content across all devices should be standard in 2016. Users are likely to conduct some portion of their research on mobile. Although the sessions may be shorter, users need to be able to find information quickly.

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HotelTonight is geared towards the spontaneity of booking last minute hotel deals. With this in mind, they optimised their mobile site with UX best practices such as larger buttons and ensuring that the credit card input field prompts the number pad.

8. Ignoring the power of copywriting

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Copywriting is often an afterthought in UX. Reassuring language can help ease anxiety about the booking. Also, giving customers contextual information, such as limited inventory or other customers, nudges them to purchase. A great example is seen on Booking.com:

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Customers often open multiple tabs or “page park” when trying to find the best deal. When a user switches back and forth between tabs, the title of the page changes to the price. A minute detail like this that transforms and expedites the discovery process helps the user to purchase faster.

9. Not including reviews

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In the search listings page, Hotels.com not only integrated TripAdvisor reviews with their own customer reviews but also highlighted listings that were favoured by other users. Social proof is an important driver to purchase.

10. User inspiration

In general, e-commerce websites with clean, efficient designs to promote professionalism and win the customer’s trust. However, the differentiating factor for getting your customer to purchase rests on the brand’s ability to inspire wanderlust.

High-impact images

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Onefinestay uses large, high-res images with a lot of light and makes the rooms look spacious and inviting. High-impact images evoke emotions with the user and draws the user in visually.

Wishlists

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When researching for an upcoming holiday, customers often gather as many options as possible. The wishlist function on AirBnB is easy to use and can be shared with traveling companions or your brand’s community-at-large.

Conclusion

Travellers’ needs are constantly evolving. Travel brands need to find the right combination of user-focussed functionality with inspirational content. The consumer purchase journey is a long process and the travel sector is highly competitive. By offering a pleasant and efficient user experience, travel brands can compete on other factors other than price and drive consumer loyalty.

To read more about user behaviour on travel websites, check out our latest study on how users book their holidays.