The coronavirus pandemic has companies across the globe restructuring and repositioning what once were effective strategies into new tactics focusing on meeting ‘new-norm’ customer needs. Brick and mortar businesses are being reborn into online stores. Curbside pickup is routine. “Going to the movies” now consists of Netflix and homemade snacks on the couch.
Online retail stores have seen a worldwide 146% increase in orders. In these ever so changing times, it is crucial to embrace change, seize opportunities and find footing in this consumer market we call e-commerce. Here are ways your company can stay ahead of the curve and adapt to the changing industry of e-commerce.
E-commerce companies know this best: your online presence is your consumer’s experience. Online stores with a social media presence have an average of 32% more sales than those that don’t. 85% of orders from social media sites come from Facebook. In today’s virtual market, your online presence can make or break your sales game. Prioritize site performance and update your Instagram and Facebook feeds. Statistics show that 21% of people prefer to use social media to engage with a business. Your website should be user friendly, mobile and up to date.
If products are out of stock, make sure to continuously update your catalog. Consider featuring products and services (even older ones) oriented towards the growing trend of at-home lifestyles. Seamless web experience could be a “make it or break it” factor for your sales growth. If a website isn’t mobile-friendly, 50% of customers will stop visiting it, even if they like the business. Around 24% of shoppers have abandoned carts because site navigation was too complicated.
When evaluating your customer’s journey, always take it back to the basics:
1. Add product to shopping cart
2. Enter Payment Information
With delayed shipping and an influx in online orders, it may be time to take advantage of the vast network of delivery drivers. Close that last mile. Third party logistics (3PL) can expand your delivery capabilities in the slightest of adaptations such as finding 3PL solutions specializing in last mile delivery.
The needs of your customers have radically changed within the past few months. Burdens such as unemployment and bills have become more prevalent. Many customers are furloughed, laid off, or essential workers. Consider offering flexible payment options. Anticipating the new needs of your consumer base can help in maintaining customer loyalty, even if your customers are not placing orders now due to financial constraints. Conduct a customer need’s evaluation. What are their needs and concerns right now? What are they looking to buy? Analyze the results and assess your companies’ ability to meet these needs, then assure your customers of how you plan to not only meet their expectations but exceed them. Differentiate your company by demonstrating care for the community:
o Partner with local organizations to support essential workers
o Consider offering a special discount
o Donate to non-profits
Now more than ever, consumers need companies to be transparent about the status of operations amidst a global pandemic. Open up to customers and create empathy. How has coronavirus impacted your company? Will there be shipping delays? Products out of stock? Ensure operational continuity with your customers. Facilitating communication with concerned customers and keeping them updated with any changes on the operational end of your company will place their minds at ease. Explain how you are minimizing contamination in the shipping process, and how “time in transit” is low risk by practicing social distancing. Post a video explaining how your company is pivoting towards meeting the new needs of your customers. Through this building of trust and informational integrity, your e-commerce company will be building a strong foundation to weather the storm brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
Innovation is the key to success. How your business chooses to adapt to the future of e-commerce is reflective of its growth. Consumers are looking for brands they can trust. Making a positive difference and aligning with your company’s core values will be what customers remember.