Thanks to the pandemic, e-commerce has seen a surge of activity and new consumers. Many businesses had to close their physical storefronts and put employees on furlough for their safety. Buying online has become necessary for some customers, especially if they are part of the at-risk groups. They need to preserve their health, as do the employees in your business. Even so, consumers still need food, cleaning products and shelter.
If you are not already invested in e-commerce, you need to get started to survive in the pandemic economy. Catalyst Digital released a report that revealed current strategies are not working, causing businesses to suffer reductions in revenue. 66% of customers choose a product based on convenience, showing where the trend is headed. Data and analytics have also become the top e-commerce service.
Meanwhile, consumer behavior has also changed with circumstances. The Kinsta blog looked at some of the metrics related to consumer behavior. It also evaluated the size of e-commerce markets — while the United States is in the top 10 at $340 billion, it is second to China at $672 billion. Spain leads in travel at $67 billion, while South Korea at $37 billion leads many markets, including fashion, beauty products and nonfood household groceries. These numbers show potential in targeted marketing and areas for growth in different industries.
Cross-Platforming Has Become Essential
Having a single website will not suffice. You have to work on SEO for the traditional search engines like Google but also go beyond that. Consumers and prospects use multiple platforms to purchase products. These include retailer websites, your own website and social media.
Amazon is one platform to consider with caution. Many consumers buy products on Amazon, and the benefits are a higher rate of customer acquisition and reach of people knowing your brand. Drawbacks include not having control over much of the process and fees that cut into your revenue stream. Even if you don’t sell on Amazon’s website, it may be interested in real-time data. Take steps to protect yourself and make an informed decision.
You also have the risk of the corporation stealing your niche. In April 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon was violating its policies by using seller data to develop products that could compete and sell at a lower price. If you wish to pursue this option, keep track of numbers, and mind the risk that Amazon may borrow from you. Employees have reported that Amazon wants its brands to own 10% of sales by 2022.
Social media accounts have also become a necessity. With fewer opportunities to travel or browse stores in the mall, customers have turned to their mobile phones and computers to make informed decisions. It’s now essential to have a person on staff who can manage the posts and relevant promotions.
If you run a platform management business for other e-commerce stores, this is your chance to shine. Marketing agencies have an opportunity to optimize online sales and control the customer journey.
Data Is Commerce
Profiling a customer has become both more comfortable and more complicated. Customers now have to opt in per specific regulations on the data they provide, and businesses cannot send emails that would qualify as spam, especially if they are reported.
You can use the available data to improve the customer experience and retain loyal online shoppers. People like receiving rewards for their shopping behavior, as well as experiencing convenience when making a purchase. You can increase e-commerce sales by catering to both.
When you know sufficient data about a consumer, then you can design a product, service or campaign around a target. This can be a demographic, psychographic or algorithm. You can also track shipping and orders while encouraging specific calls to action with abandoned cart emails.
An Adjusted Purchase Journey
Historically, the consumer journey when buying a product involved both online and offline activity. A growing number purchased through their mobile devices, but offline activity motivated them to follow through.
With the pandemic, you need offline activity forms that are safe for the consumer, the seller and employees. One example is taking advantage of the interest in cooking products. Due to many people staying at home on quarantine orders, they may bake and cook more, meaning there is an opportunity to receive recipes and coupons in the mail.
Online Grocery Delivery And Rapid Shipping
Grocery stores are a potential source of contracting the virus. For that reason, they’ve been providing delivery services using other businesses, like Instacart or Shipt.
This is a business-to-business (B2B) opportunity, and possibly a business-to-consumer (B2C) one as well. Grocery delivery is currently imperfect and a work-in-progress, though curbside pickup has improved. Finding ways to simplify the process for consumers is one potential means of leveraging the situation. If your business can deliver valuable products on demand, research the potential options. Instacart is facing controversies but is extremely popular; the same goes for items that can go on Amazon delivery.
Automate your shipping, and try to deliver products as soon as possible to your customers. They want products sooner rather than later and prefer to pay as little as possible. New services have popped up to manufacture products on demand or automate shipping.
Customer Experience Adjusted For Health
With stay-at-home orders and quarantine restrictions, more in-person stores have had to close shop. The reopened physical storefronts often require customers to wear face masks to comply with the law and provide hand sanitizer stations.
Online stores don’t have such limitations. While shipping must still be safe for the parties involved when delivering a product to a consumer, there is less potential for conflict.
Experts still do not know when the pandemic will be resolved and life returned to some modicum of normal. Business owners can still survive, however, using e-commerce frontiers.
Disclaimer: Optimum7 has no affiliation with any of the companies mentioned below.