There’s little doubt that the retail landscape has undergone some seismic changes in the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic. And as uncertainty persists and quarantine conditions are re-introduced to cope with a second wave, online shopping could be set to boom even further. Many ecommerce retailers are predicting a boom in sales as customers turn to websites to fulfil their needs without having to go into a bricks and mortar store, with all its attendant risks. In the US alone, ecommerce transactions were up by 7 per cent during the 2019 holiday season, so there is every reason to think this will increase during thanksgiving and christmas this year. With flagships such as Black Friday, Amazon Prime Day and Cyber Monday now an established part of the sales cycle, consumers have already altered their shopping habits. The pandemic conditions are likely to accelerate this growing trend. Fluent Projects is estimating that online sales could grow by a massive 78 per cent over Thanksgiving in 2020. So if you haven’t yet optimized your online offering, you could be missing out on a huge amount of sales success.
Accelerating Your Ecommerce Growth
It’s been a steadily increasing trend for many years now, so the eCommerce revolution shouldn’t be a surprise to any retail outlet. However, as 2020’s conditions have shuttered bricks and mortar store locations, your website has become an even more crucial platform to drive growth. So your solution should be both a short-term response and a longer term development plan. Implementing a strategy for the convergence of wholesale, retail and eCommerce is crucial to continue serving different customer segments in the best way you can. Brands are increasingly choosing to cut out the middle man and focus on direct to customer marketing strategies. Bridging the gap between in store and online sales should be top of the agenda for any company with a focus on longevity. Your new digital strategy could see you catapult ahead of rivals who are slower off the mark.
Aligning Your Promotional Strategy
Using engaging, interactive content as part of a promotional strategy to engage with new customers and pull traffic to your site. There are lots of brilliant content marketing tools now available that you can use. At peak season, it’s clearly a competitive time for advertising, so you will need to go the extra mile in order to stand out. Customers can develop so-called ‘banner blindness’ where they tune out the advertising they see online, so go for rich media ads that draw the eye and work across numerous platforms, and draw in your social channels to shout about great deals and offers and engage with the dialogue around product sectors.
Ensure A Personalized Customer Journey
Today’s customer expects a highly personalized experience, so leverage your data properly to ensure that you can deliver this for them. The correct path is to be able to serve up the content, offers and interactions that customer prefers and to support them to meet their goal for coming onto your eCommerce site. This means developing dynamic offers, value-add content, and making recommendations for sales based on past purchasing history or aggregated data in the case of a new visitor. Stats show that 80 per cent of brands report a sales uplift after taking steps to make personalization a part of their customer journey. It could be a helpful product recommendation, a relevant add-on, a special Black Friday discount code or a proactive live chat prompt – all matched to the stage your customer is sitting at, be it browsing category pages, filling a basket or going through checkout.
Sense Check Your Offers With Multi-Variate Testing
You should be using data from last year’s sales to inform what offers you run this season, but it’s also important to feed some real-time learnings into your process as well. You can incorporate this by running some A/B testing on different types of offers and looking at what is performing well to make live decisions about what to promote. This helps you to understand what is resonating with your customers in the here and now and what will help to drive online sales. This is especially important with all the societal and economic changes 2020 has brought – we really are in unprecedented times, so you must be prepared to adapt and respond quickly. Play around with different methods of presenting offers – gamification, live chat, pop-ups and chat bots for instance – and you can improve your interaction conversion rates.
Work Closely With Shipping
Global shipping delays are a real problem for eCommerce retailers at the moment. It’s very important to ensure smooth communication at all points in your logistics chain, taking the lead from giants such as Walmart and Target in your approach to keeping the customer informed about dispatch and any expected delays. Ensure that you are warehouse ready to fulfill the expected order volume and that you have a service level agreement in place with any package handler you use to complete order delivery.