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How to help Humans purchase? - PART I

By Pedro Cerqueira
Pedro Cerqueira
Husband, father, former water polo athlete, now an obstacle course runner with Nikes. Passionate about data and product development.
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How to help Humans purchase? - PART I

A marketplace is the balance between supply and demand.

Marketplaces have helped to shape societies throughout history and there are many types, from physical ones such as bazaars, dry markets and wet markets to online ones like e-commerce.

There's at least one thing that all types of marketplaces have in common: trade or the activity of buying, selling or exchanging goods and/or services between human beings.

FARFETCH is an e-commerce marketplace and trade is mostly achieved through the exchange of luxury fashion items for money.

There are many things that FARFETCH needs to excel at, before an actual trade takes place: increase prospect awareness, build interest and transform it into a desire for the items being sold.

This article focuses on what needs to happen after the desire for an item is built and the customer’s next goal is to actually complete their purchase.

The purchase chasm

When our customers lock-in on an item and decide they want to buy it, their intent and commitment to purchase increases significantly and there’s an almost immediate shift in mindset which affects their perception and cognitive process. It’s almost like the customer leaves behind the positive feelings of exhilaration from searching, finding and considering the objects of their desire and starts focusing on the necessary tasks to purchase. 

Usually these customers experience less positive feelings which are often related to online transactions. They might experience purchase anxiety, insecurity and risk aversion as they now need to complete tasks that range from sharing sensitive personal and financial data to making decisions that might affect their financial security. 

At this stage, customers will also be setting up their expectations, which will be used to evaluate their end-to-end experience from first landing on FARFETCH until the item is actually delivered to their address of choice.

The purchase vision

The purchase completion vision is to transform checking out and completing a purchase on FARFETCH into an anxiety-free experience that feels second-nature to our customers. We aim to get there by offering our customers a secure and top-class purchase experience with the flexibility and right level of control to complete their purchase through their preferred means, regardless of device, channel or touchpoint.

Currently, the FARFETCH customer is able to purchase through a digital checkout that varies in combinations of type (e.g. multi-page vs single-page), flow (e.g. guest, 1-click checkout, etc), functionality (e.g. click & collect, address auto-complete) and localized features (e.g. shipping form, instalments, digital wallets). If we consider the full ambition of the vision, we believe that the checkout experience will evolve by using data and machine learning capabilities to adapt to the customer needs and goals, while reducing friction and making it as seamless as technology allows it to be. In the future, it’s possible that the customer won’t need to know the word "checkout” or what it used to represent - customers could purchase on FARFETCH just by thinking about it.

This is the first part of a 2-part article.  We’ve set the main context around what completing a purchase means for our customers, as well as what the bigger vision is. Watch this space for the second part on the main purchase levers and how we pull them at FARFETCH to help customers complete their purchase…
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