There was already a shift towards browsing and buying online. The COVID19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has accelerated that. The ways in which consumers are behaving is shifting, as countries and continents move through the pandemic; their shopping habits are perhaps some of the most changing behaviours.
Focusing your attention on your e-commerce offering and being able to deal with customers digitally now must be a top priority!
What do businesses need to be considering to adapt and thrive in this new environment?
Can your potential customers buy online in a simple, safe and secure way?
The stay-at-home lifestyle, or the go-to-the-shops-less-often lifestyle, is likely to stay as the pandemic response subsides. We should expect that previous behavior, where shoppers would browse online and then transact in-store to decrease, and shoppers will expect to be able to transact and buy online. 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. Every business should have a simple, safe and secure manner to sell and transact online.
How do you capture attention in a more-digital consumer market?
With fewer physical trips to the supermarket or shopping mall, consumers are also focusing their shopping efforts. Making sure that the message and value of your product or service is clear is more important than ever, to stand the best possible chance of capturing the consumer. Positively, 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 the friction free buying and transaction cycle mentioned earlier, will be a recipe for continued success.
What is the route for your customer to get to you, your products and your services?
Consumers are also getting necessities delivered to the door, often through contactless delivery. In a statement to Bloomberg, Amazon said that they ‘have seen a significant increase in people shopping for groceries online’.The ease and convenience that these services provide during the pandemic will likely result in continued increase in usage and adoption beyond the pandemic response. In these cases it is important to consider what the impact to your business will be if all of the potential selling to a customer is done through a series of third party websites. What impact does this have on margin, on your brand’s relationship with consumers and on the size and volume of your product or service that is likely to be bought? Having your own direct to consumer e-commerce offering can bring a strong competitive advantage, in addition to providing access to your products and services through e-delivery and expanding e-grocery services; downloads of these apps has more than doubled since the start of the COVID19 outbreak.
How do you talk to your customers?
Judging the mindset of your customers and knowing what they need, how their needs are changing and when the time is right for you to re engage in certain activities will be vital for continued growth. Being able to judge when to take certain actions, from increasing production, to launching a new product, or rolling out a marketing campaign in a certain geography, will provide a path to sustainable post pandemic recovery. Having a flow of information both to customers and from customers is crucially important. Customers being able to build trust, to know you are still there and to be able to find you and buy from you when they need your product or service, will create the sticky relationship needed to retain and gain customers. For this to be achieved, a successful digital presence combined with the appropriate e-commerce platform will provide a basis for successful growth in the pandemic and post-pandemic landscape.
Globally, many businesses, large and small have seen huge increases in the demand for e-commerce in the past few weeks and months. Acting now to have a strong digital presence and a robust approach to e-commerce is vitally important.