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How Successful Sellers Leverage the (New) Path to Purchase

When was the last time you completed an online purchase within seconds?

If you’re like most consumers, it was probably to replace an item you’d just run out of. Or perhaps to buy something suggested by a friend. Chances are good that the transaction did not involve a product you weren’t already familiar with.

While there are still scenarios where people make fast buying decisions, most e-commerce paths to purchase are far more complex. With a vast array of marketplaces and mobile apps at their disposal, consumers can easily compare prices, search for sales, factor in shipping options and so much more.

To put it simply, your customers are everywhere — and you should be, too.

The good news? New advancements are making it easier than ever for sellers to meet consumer expectations in this ever-shifting e-commerce landscape. Each time you expand to a new sales channel or strengthen a digital marketing strategy, you’re creating another opportunity to get your products in front of the right people, at just the right time. Below are three highly effective ways to do just that.

Optimize Your Content for Voice

Once viewed largely as a novelty, voice assistants are officially here to stay. Some 40% of consumers are using voice search daily, and one in nine regularly use smart speakers to shop. Most notably, people who have hopped on the voice commerce bandwagon are likely to make bigger purchases. Amazon Echo owners have been found to spend an average of 66% more with the online retailer than consumers who don’t use smart speakers.

As consumers increasingly turn to voice assistants, and as voice-based ordering continues to grow, online retailers that optimize product content for voice search will have the upper hand.

Expand Your Marketplace Presence

You may have heard that 56% of shoppers start product searches on Amazon. But this is far from the only e-commerce marketplace shoppers use on their paths to purchase. With more than 100 marketplaces around the globe, it’s easy to shop around.

A consumer who’s getting ready to buy furniture might check shipping options, deals and return policies at Overstock, Wayfair and eBay before deciding where to enter credit card information. And it’s not uncommon for customers to deal-hunt on one marketplace like Wish, the #1 shopping app on iOS and Android, while simultaneously comparing prices at Walmart, which is closing in on 127 million unique visitors each month.

To ensure your products are seen by consumers throughout this process, streamlining selling across a range of marketplaces is one of the best steps you can take.

Enhance Your Shipping Options

These days, the real key to repeat purchases and long-term loyalty is fulfillment. Fast and free fulfillment, that is … the kind that applies to returns as well as deliveries.

When asked what they consider to be “fast shipping,” 80% of consumers say they expect deliveries on doorsteps within two to four days. More than half won’t even bother to buy from sellers with strict return policies.

Suffice it to say that shipping is a critical component of every e-commerce consumer journey. Expanding your portfolio of fulfillment options is the best way to ensure you’re meeting consumer expectations — whether that means adopting drop shipping, finding the right third-party logistics partner or simply having each order automatically routed to the most cost-effective provider.

In summary: Today’s consumers have a wealth of options for online shopping, and their choices will expand even more as the e-commerce industry continues to grow. Focusing on the above areas is a great start, but these recommendations are just the tip of a very large iceberg. For more ideas you can use to meet consumers along their paths to purchase, download our eBook: The Evolving E-Commerce Consumer Journey.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April of 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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