Ecommerce is an undeniably powerful opportunity for retail stores to increase sales and reach new customers. And, in 2020 and beyond, it will continue to become an increasingly popular shopping choice for many consumers.
Due to the current global conditions, consumers have been staying indoors — and, as a result, they have become accustomed to doing most activities from their homes, including shopping.
Retail has been directly impacted by this change in consumer behavior. To stay healthy, people aren't walking into stores and restaurants to make purchases anymore. Instead, they're typically making those transactions online.
Additionally, the convenience of having items delivered to one's home has changed the shopping experience for consumers. People will likely continue to prefer ecommerce even after the global crisis is over.
The same goes for pick-ups — although it requires the customer to leave their home and take precautions, the process has become streamlined and requires little interaction. Ultimately, retailers will need to note these conveniences and how effectively they have drawn customers. This is a model that will need to be implemented post-crisis.
To shift to an ecommerce model, companies need to first research competitive shipping prices to get the best deals. Customers want more items shipped, and prohibitive shipping costs might be a deal-breaker for some of your customers.
The existence of a shipping option also means investing in packaging, which means custom branded boxes and packages will become a mainstay for stores. Brands will also need to be aware of the price and quality of their packaging — they will be expected to invest in sustainable packaging to make for a safer future.
Ultimately, shipping and delivery is a major component of ecommerce and can incentivize customers to become long-term advocates of your brand if implemented successfully.
The world has been looking forward to life after COVID-19, but the reality is that we will be adjusting to life with it.
The hygiene practices initiated during the lockdown procedures will need to be maintained, especially as more retailers open up.
Companies need to scout out strategic locations around their stores to add sanitizers. More cleaning crews will need to be brought in regularly to disinfect the premises.
Social distancing measures may have been relaxed in certain parts of the world, but there will be occasional flare-ups. Retailers should prepare to reduce the number of people allowed within their building sites — which could mean a fluctuation in sales and revenue.
As we have mentioned, curbside pickups and home deliveries will become the norm, but brands need to ensure that these items are handled with care.
Current staff members are likely already trained on safety measures, but any new members will need to be on-boarded accordingly. Additionally, businesses will need to work to keep their employees safe within the premises.
The world has changed and we will be feeling the effects for a while after — preparing for a safer working environment can only benefit a business in the long-run.
Repeat customers make up the bulk of revenue and profits for most businesses — building a loyal community of customers is thus a priority, especially during such uncertain times.
Focusing the business' efforts on loyalty marketing will make a difference to the bottom line and should be included in your ecommerce project plan.
For the rest of 2020, brands will need to work on getting more loyal customers — incentives like discounts have been known to work in this area.
But to create genuine brand loyalty, a few discounts here and there won't make a huge impact.
This is where customer loyalty programs can be a huge draw. A points system that rewards customers for buying improves engagement and repeat sales.
Another way to improve consumer loyalty is through subscription services.
Ecommerce subscriptions have been the basis of many successful business models, in a variety of fields, and they can help businesses boost customer loyalty.
Subscriptions and loyalty programs give brands a database of people to regularly contact to improve sales — for companies that haven't instituted these, 2020 will be the best time to do so.
The pandemic is changing the way businesses function, but ecommerce is quickly proving to be a safe model of work that companies can adopt.
Since ecommerce isn't an arena that all companies are familiar with, to prepare for the shift, here are the steps businesses should include in their project scope:
Investing in pickup and delivery services
Instituting more health and safety measures
Acknowledging customers' remote working needs
Adjusting for diminished brand awareness
Creating more virtual experiences
Offering discounts and gift cards
Reviewing supplier orders and inventory management
Focusing on loyalty marketing and subscription services
Following these eight steps will help businesses move safely into an ecommerce environment to improve their sales in the future. Additionally, consider investing in high-quality ecommerce software to get your company up-to-speed quickly.
Originally published Aug 12, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated August 12 2020