Shopping habits are perhaps some of the most changing behaviours during the Covid-19 global lockdown. The ‘genie is now out of the bottle’; the acceleration of the shift to buying online is likely to be a change that lasts. A recent NRF survey found that, since the start of COVID19, 9 out of 10 consumers have bought products online that they had previously only bought in a store.
Brands, retailers and businesses of all sizes, across various industries and throughout many countries are now responding. Over the past month at Fram^ we have been building technology for southeast asian supermarkets, Swedish fashion boutiques, global last-mile delivery services, african anti-corruption charities, US healthcare providers, online learning providers and more! All of these businesses and brands are rapidly accelerating their shift to online and use of digital and ecommerce tools.
Here are three key messages that will help your business to survive and thrive by taking advantage of e-commerce and digital tools to go direct to consumers (D2C).
Build somewhere your consumers want to be and be authentic!
Now is absolutely the time to optimise your digital storefront or get online if you haven’t yet. Brands and companies that are already set up for ecommerce are in a better position, but every brand should look into how it can sell its products and services online and better communicate to its users and customers. When promoting your ecommerce brand, keep customers’s current habits in mind. Whether you’re giving them something productive to do, providing something they need, or helping them stay entertained, this focused approach will help illustrate the essential nature of your products and services. Be authentic! Try and bypass stay-at-home-specific messaging to avoid fear mongering sentiments, as this is likely to impact their trust in you now and their relationship with you in the future. We are also seeing ‘browsing-time’ on phones, tablets and other devices increase significantly. High end and luxury brands have started to exploit this with increased use of social streaming apps. Having a strong digital presence, that enables more digital connection will support you to have strong relationships with consumers who may buy now, but will be much more likely to buy later.
If you have an ecommerce platform already, undertake an audit, do some research and testing. Make sure it is as simple and secure as it needs to be in order to provide an excellent experience. If you haven’t started building your digital shop yet, take advantage of the increased likelihood of consumers buying online and jump in with both feet.
Who are your existing customers and what can you do for them?
Adjusting your marketing strategy will also prove beneficial in tandem with building an online store where people want to be it’s easy for them to buy from you. Doubling down on existing customers that have purchased from you in the past and are familiar with your brand, your business and what you offer is of utmost importance in these current economic conditions. It is important to consider that customer-acquisition costs could also rise during this time. Leveraging what is working well in your organisation currently is an important way to proactively shape your consumers needs and expectations.
A strategy that is likely to maintain cash flow is to extend exciting offers to previous customers to help retain them, provided they can make use of them online. Paid social media campaigns and email marketing should take precedence, especially if you need to communicate certain offers that may entice previous customers to return. Remember that your consumer will likely remember how you behaved in the times of crisis and will reward those that acted with integrity.
Do you need to ship? If yes, get it right!
83 percent of consumers said delayed shipment of an order would influence their decision to purchase from a brand again, and 93 percent expect orders to be delivered within one to four days.
Technology used by top third-party logistics providers (3PLs) enables real-time data for better visibility into fulfillment and distribution, allowing brands to improve delivery operations. With careful optimisation, together with your logistics provider, you can identify patterns to mitigate ordering mistakes and returns. This will in turn have positive effects on customer satisfaction and controlling costs.
Make sure that if you are shipping physical goods that you understand what your provider needs from you and how you can communicate expectations to your customers. Don’t forget ‘shipping’ in the digital world; getting quick and smooth access to your product or service will keep your customers coming back for more and continue the cycle of connection that is so important!