Within a span of a few months, the pandemic has changed how we think, consume information, and act on things. The entire process is now digitized, leaving little to no room for physically procuring anything. And, interestingly, the approach has been working so far, at least for the consumers.
The ongoing pandemic and the lockdown have seen a significant increase in the number of consumers shopping online and it’s time that businesses upgraded their sales strategies accordingly too.
The reinvention of retail is not a phase or trend. We have been heading towards a digital do-over for a long time and the past few months have offered a perfect pitch for the complete transformation of the digital environment across multitudes.
A lot of retailers that were previously selling offline have already acted on the uptake. Those on the other side of these digits need to pick up quickly and play the field where preferences change at a click of a button. Having said that, a mere digital set up without any personalization for the visitors is not going to cut it. Businesses that have started to sell online need to understand the paradigm shift in the market thoroughly and implement marketing strategies that will help them stay afloat. To get a better understanding of the digital space, e-retailers should get around the emerging trends that have arisen in the aftermath of the pandemic. Investing time on what’s prominent among the consumers is substantial in shaping the growth of the eCommerce business.
Emerging Trends during the Pandemic
The pandemic has expedited digital commerce by leaps and bounds, giving rise to certain trends. While most of these trends have emerged out of the need to adapt to the new reality, the others seem too comfortable to let go of. Safety, comfort, and the ease of getting hold of goods are the key factors that influence the buying behavior of consumers. Let’s take a look at some of the trends that have come up in the past few months.
- Shopping is more Digital than Ever
Online shopping has been around for a long time but it has picked up really quickly in the past few years, setting the bar high for newbie eCommerce store owners. Nearly half the world has access to smartphones with the internet today and this audience is always active.
“Being the largest consumer group, millennials alone account for an expected $1.4 trillion in spending power”. Their shopping tools are omnichannel. They lookup for product information before making a purchase decision. They expect convenience and personalized experiences. In 2021, over 2.14 billion people around the world are expected to shop online. Sellers, retailers, brick-and-mortar store owners need to jump on the bandwagon now to be able to capitalize on these numbers by shifting to digital commerce as a primary means of operations.
- Strategic Prioritization
As the consumer demands peak during self-isolation and mandates, brands are looking at a challenge with product unavailability and the capacity to move goods. This requires companies to prioritize and re-think their initiatives. A stronghold on short to long-term inventory management, control, and forecasting along with proactive engagement with supply chain partners will save both time and money. Businesses need to set their priorities accordingly to drive early visibility in order to meet consumer demands
- The accelerated digital shift for festivities
The festival season, around the globe, begins in September and stretches till December end. Consumers extensively shop around this time of the year across multiple channels. The shopping spirits around the festivals remain the same but the means have changed. This year, there will be a surge of digital shopping for festivities for safety reasons. Additionally, consumers have gotten used to the comfort and convenience of ordering online. Moreover, people are planning to shop beforehand.
This makes for an opportune moment for e-retailers selling clothes, accessories, small appliances, home services since these categories majorly make up for the gifting season of festivities. For most of the e-retailers and manufacturers of consumer products, these months contribute to over 40% of their annual sales across all channels. This number is expected to increase this time around owing to the accelerated digital shift.
Prime day (13 Oct 2020) alone is expected to generate nearly 10 billion in worldwide sales.
While 73% of the consumers enjoy browsing and checking out new items online, nearly 52% of them look up whether the items they need later are in stock. So, it becomes absolutely crucial for online sellers to prepare beforehand too. Meeting the consumers’ expectations way before they actually make a purchase takes you a long way in the digital commerce game. And, with everyone playing the field, the competition will be cut-throat.
Digital is the new storefront: How to Nail the eCommerce Domain?
The consumer demands for innovative shopping experiences and adjacent possibilities that stretch beyond excellence keeps growing. The days of sales based on products alone are long gone. If you are not selling an experience to the customers with your products, you are doing it wrong. Here’s a checklist for the ideal online selling approach.
Digitization should become a priority
Looking at the current data from all over the world, the pandemic crisis has leaned in the favor of omnichannel retailers when it comes to recovering from the loss of sales due to the lockdown. Consumers today are everywhere and now more than ever because they have the time and bandwidth to do so. Hence, offline retailers must come up with a strong online presence strategy and those selling online must improve their outreach.
Improve eCommerce Visibility
Sizeable online aggregators and the eCommerce business who have been around for a long time pose an unmatched challenge for the newbies to conquer the digital space. The increasing order volumes and slumping margins add more to the already daunting situation. To unlock growth sprints, e-retailers need to focus on chiseling their online store visibility.
While improving online visibility at a reduced cost, part of the efforts should go to capitalizing on the existing customer data to drive traffic to the online website. This process could be smoothened by the assistance of marketing automation systems and robust retail CRMs like Zoho, Zendesk, etc to streamline the existing customer data. After getting a hold of this data, the focus must be shifted to acquiring new customers.
One other way to create brand awareness and gain recognition is to stick to a theme for your branding activities. For instance, Glossier, a skincare and beauty products used a distinctive shade of pink for their branding activities.
They created a custom hashtag (#glossierpink) for their social media posts, immediately catching the audience’s attention and making them remember the brand.
Their #glossierpink campaign turned out to be a huge success so much so that the color pink has become synonymous with the brand.
Become innovative with personalized engagement
In order to differentiate yourself from the competitors, e-retailers must take the extra mile with online personalization. The shoppers’ desire to have a personalized experience largely depends on the context and varies with the customers. This range of customers stretches from those with a requirement to find and purchase things fast to those looking strolling around before making a purchase decision. The consumer now displays omnichannel behavior and seeks experiences that are along those lines. Simply put, the entire transaction must be fast, frictionless, easy, and immersive at the same time.
The sellers should build an immersive shopping experience that caters to the entire spectrum of consumers with different requirements and expectations. The best and possibly the only way to do it is to implement digital technologies all over the online store. These could be smart recommendations, product displays, smart displays, relevant combo recommendations, and related offers.
ASOS, a British online fashion and cosmetic retailer, changes its homepage and navigation as per the visitor’s interest. The brand uses cookie targeting to do so. This level of personalization is quite impressive and the visitors are likely to come back for recurring sessions.
Furthermore, brands can go beyond discounting and keep the consumers hooked by sharing updates on their internal developments. This information could vary from the news of expanding operations and delivery areas to a simple empathetic message to the followers regarding the current situation. Humanizing your brand goes a long way in driving customer loyalty and building strong relations.
Nearly half of the world population has access to smartphones with an internet connection. And, around 51% of the global traffic generated is attributed to mobile devices. The online stores must be mobile-optimized or there should be a shopping app. Accordingly, successful eCommerce strategies that are mobile-focused should be implemented.
Make the Most of the Ongoing Trends
For those making a debut in the online world and those who already have a digital presence, capitalizing on the ongoing trends for recovery and growth is a crucial step. This can be achieved by introducing innovative ways of fulfilling orders, building advanced digital logistics and payment reconciliation functionalities. Before that, it is important to make sure that the inventory management game is on point. If you are looking for the best in class inventory management services, check out EasyEcom.
To wrap up, the world had been heading towards a digital transformation for a long time now. But the given situations have escalated the process and here we are adjusting to the new normal. The sudden shift is a lot to take in, indeed but the good thing is, this is happening to everyone. Capitalize on the trends and implement these eCommerce strategies to grow and flourish your business.
Prioritize, digitize, and personalize, and find yourself well-ahead in the race.
Are you looking for an omnichannel inventory management solution with integrated B2B order management for your eCommerce business? Drop us a line at [email protected] or directly sign up for a demo here.