COVID -19 has changed the way things are done, and for businesses, it has blown the existing systems through the window. Startups, medium-size, and even big brands have had to change their approaches, with much-adopting e-commerce.
With many states and countries imposing lockdowns and other limitation measures like cessation of movement, most families have turned to online shopping. For instance, the US and Canadian e-commerce orders rose to an all-time growth of 146% and a year-on-year income growth of 129%.
Mobile devices have also become the most popular in online shopping, with over 72% of consumers using mobile devices to go shopping in online stores. A large number of shoppers have tested the supply chains of online and e-commerce retailers, and they have had to up their game to improve the customer experience while shopping in their stores.
No change expected even post-COVID-19
Ask any serious business person, and they’ll tell you so much has happened in terms of changing the online shops, the supply chain, and the mush they have had to invest on a mobile responsive platform- that alone will tell you how things have just changed for good.
If you expect the shopping trend to change, then you could be in for a rude shock. Statistics show that most online shoppers are comfortable shopping online than visiting malls and physical shops where they could get sick.
Most consumers are comfortable staying home and shopping online, which creates an opportunity for businesses to develop experience-driven mobile apps and touch-points across their platforms. As a business owner, you risk being edged out of the market if you don’t match the expectations of the “new”/COVID customer.
What is it that e-commerce businesses must do to match up the expectations in the new norm?
A friendly and secure interface
Now that customers have adopted the new way of doing things, the business owner must seek to ensure that they are comfortable shopping with you. Firstly, you must ensure that your online shop is easy to access, great displays of your products that provide variety at competitive prices. The login process should be easy, and your customers should be assured of security. Security eliminates friction in the buying process, and your loyal customer should not be allowed to go through the authentication process of a new one. Avoid the one-size-fits-all verification and embrace an adaptive approach where every customer is treated uniquely.
For better consumer experience, you must embrace innovative approaches like AI and machine learning algorithms that customize the e-consumer experiences. This reduces friction through user segmentation using common characteristics.
The delivery and supply chain
The surge in online shopping trends has led to an increased demand for products. Therefore, you must be on your toes to deliver customer requests within a short period. With high numbers of orders, you should focus more on keeping the supply chain moving uninterrupted and delivered safely.
Clear communication strategy
Find out what your customer expectations could be during this period. You can create online survey forms and compensate the respondents for the time spent on the surveys. The feedback will help you in driving the marketing strategy the right way. For users who abandon carts on the website, you can send reminders to complete their purchase.
If you accept orders, it should be clear on the website and preferably on the top of your homepage for all to see. Once your customers know how they will receive their orders and timelines, they’ll be free to shop with you.
Get creative with your inventories
As an e-commerce business owner, you should always keep track of your inventory. Which product is moving fast, and which is not? Then you can plan on the most effective marketing strategies in tandem with the consumer buying trends. You can prepare for occasional discounts on different commodities on your website, which will increase your sales. Some of the most effective strategies that will increase your sales and profits are offering bundled products, cross-selling, and up-selling.
Again, think about subscriptions; with social distancing and lockdown, you should seek convenience, and this can be through subscriptions of the essential items while safeguarding their identity.
Diversify your supply chains
If you depend on a single source of inventory, you must have a story to tell. You will need to diversify the supply chain. If you have a backlog of orders, you need to clear it first to get ready for massive orders that are likely to continue coming even with the ease of lockdown.
Building your inventory
Experts have predicted that there’s going to be a surge in orders after the ease of lockdown. Thus as a business owner, you’ll need to strategize, identify more suppliers, and ensure that you have all the stocks that may be necessary. Plan for your come back by carefully allocating online inventory.
Understand men’s and women’s shopping behaviors
Research shows that shopping behaviors are changing based on generational differences and gender. In one survey, a third of men, compared to 25% of women, showed that the pandemic is likely to impact their shopping behavior and how much they are willing to spend on products. 36% of men than 28% of women are likely to have their shopping behavior on things like travel, restaurants, and other entertainment expenses. This information will help you know what you need to have in stock and the quantities.
Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way people do business. For some e-commerce businesses, it has been a blessing, with some registering the highest revenues ever. On the other hand, others have had to grapple with the changing shopping trend, which has increased their costs.
The fact remains that the situation will continue for a while, and customers are changing their behavior and opting for more convenience and time saving, which puts pressure on e-commerce and online retailers. Thus you must keep up-to-date with this reality and adapt to the new retailing landscape to maximize the season.