Cut to the Choice: Simplifying the Online Consumer Journey

4 min read
06-Jul-2022 16:37:38

As humans, we are faced with an abundance of choice every single day. Sometimes this is a great thing – after all, imagine if we all wore the same clothes, drove the same car, ate the same food. It would be boring, right? But sometimes too much choice can be detrimental. Although it might not seem like it, our constant decision-making – what to do, what to eat, how to interact with someone, is tiring and time consuming and can lead to feelings of fatigue and frustration.

The online shopping experience is no different and is something most of us are all too familiar with – and we also know just how easy it is to click out of a page or abandon a product in your basket before making a transaction. In fact, the average rate of basket abandonment online is a staggering 69.8%! So, how can we minimise this and ensure prospective customers don’t give up before the final hurdle?

Shopping basket

A study carried out by Corporate Executive Board, showed that the single biggest driver of consumers ‘stickiness’ to complete a purchase was by far ‘decision simplicity’ – complex information led to the brakes coming on. Put simply, simplicity is what consumers want to see.

Toothpaste and TV shows?

Let’s take American toothpaste brand Crest as an example. Their website offers approximately 35 different types of toothpaste – and it’s confusing. There’s too much choice and it’s overwhelming to even those most passionate about oral hygiene.

Toothpaste and toothbrush

As Dan Gingiss put it in Forbes, “Simplicity is a basic tenet of customer experience, but it is often overlooked in favour of a company’s outdated rules or procedures.” Just because it’s always been done that way, doesn’t mean things can’t change.

In a world with such a dizzying array of choice, it’s important to strike a balance between giving customers enough information to make an informed decision, and not distracting or overwhelming them with too much choice.

Global streaming giant Netflix has got this down to a T. Offering three options for their services, a simple feature matrix and clear pricing makes for an easy comparison and selection of a membership type:

Netflix plans

And yes, toothpaste and TV shows might seem a far cry from the gym memberships and classes that you’re offering, but the underlying principle is identical – customers crave simplicity.


Simplifying the Online Leisure Shopping Experience

'Shopping' for a spin class or a gym membership should be no different than any other straightforward online shopping experience.

There are a few simple steps you can take to simplify your consumer journey and allow your customers to find exactly what they’re looking for:

1. Condense membership options

When it comes to an online joining experience on a leisure website, more is not necessarily better. The number of memberships offered doesn’t result in more members and has the potential to leave customers feeling overwhelmed or distracted, the opposite effect than intended. To save time and confusion, try to limit your available options, or even better, display them in a way in which users can use filters to refine their search. This will ultimately provide your customers with a smoother experience as they'll only be seeing memberships relevant to them.

2. Browse before you buy

Give potential customers the option to browse before they buy – being prompted to input personal details before seeing any membership options and prices can easily put people off and make them look elsewhere. Save this for when consumers have made a selection and are ready to proceed with payment. At the simplest level, you want choosing a membership to be like buying clothes online - you know exactly what you're getting for a set price, with all options fully visible in a 'shop window' format. 

3. Focus your forms

After selecting a membership type, being presented with a page-long form asking for every personal detail under the sun is daunting and might cause the joining or booking process to grind to a halt. By limiting form fields to the essential ones, the process is a lot slicker and the momentum can be maintained right the way through to completion.

But this doesn’t mean that you will never obtain this data. We know how important it is for our operators to collect a range of complex data and information regarding your members, and we can work with you on alternative ways to capture this, post-joining.

Are you looking to simplify your online booking and joining? 

Our new cloud native SaaS solution, GladstoneGo has turned the old booking and joining process on its head by providing customers with a much more accessible and modern user experience. You can learn more about this game changing product here

The stats speak for themselves

Simplicity really is the way to go. And don’t just take our word for it - there are studies to prove it.

Strategy firm Siegle + Gale publish an annual report on the Worlds Simplest Brands. In their 2019 report which surveyed 15,000 people across 9 countries, they found, amongst many others, two key areas where simplicity pays off:

Loyalty - 64% of customers are more likely to recommend a brand because it provides simpler experiences and communications.

Growth - Since 2009, a stock portfolio comprised of the publicly traded simplest brands in the global Top 10 has outperformed the major indexes by 686%.

Growth and loyalty are essential to every sector, and none more so than the leisure industry. So, it seems logical to apply this streamlined approach to your organisation’s online shopping experience.

Although it might seem counter-intuitive, it’s important to recognise the downfalls of providing too much choice and an overload of information on your website. Instead, think streamlined and simple, which includes a visible browsing experience, condensed membership offerings and simple forms. At the end of the day, you want prospective customers to spend less time working out what you’re offering and more time working out in your facilities.

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