eCommerce in the time of COVID 19

We won’t harp on this too much because, frankly, it’s been said, but this year has been an unwanted rollercoaster of non-stop craziness. Not just your standard hills and loop-de-loops, but the tracks are being dropped out from underneath us unexpectedly while we are whipped in a million different directions at speeds we can’t keep up with. It’s overwhelming, plain, and simple.

Every ad you see or hear starts with phrases like, “In these unprecedented times” or “we know times are hard.” There is so much focus on the negatives. It’s hard to travel, to learn, to run, or even start a business.

It may feel like there is no way to turn this ship around and start building success stories again, especially for small business owners who have traditionally relied on brick and mortar sales. 

All that means is it’s time for a change in perspective.

All that means is that it’s time for a change in perspective. Sit upside down on your couch for a minute and look at the world like it’s topsy turvy. Go ahead; we’ll wait.

Things looked a bit different, didn’t they? Maybe you noticed a few things you hadn’t before. Perhaps you thought of new ways to arrange the room around you. It’s amazing what a drastic change in perspective will do. 

The COVID-19 Pandemic has been that drastic change in perspective, and we’ve been so excited to see many businesses take advantage of this time to transform digitally. One of the most prominent players in these digital transformations has been e-commerce. 

eCommerce in the Time of COVID

It’s no secret our spending habits have changed since quarantine. With most brick and mortar businesses shut down, we’ve migrated to online shopping. Total online spending in May of 2020 was up 77% YOY from May 2019! It would have taken 4-6 years to reach these numbers if COVID-19 hadn’t come along.

While consumers will return to brick and mortar stores as we continue to open up, it doesn’t look like the trend of increased online shopping is going away. And why should it? Who doesn’t like the idea of buying all their groceries with a few simple button clicks while lounging on their couch in their favorite old bathrobe? 

The growth in eCommerce has been primarily driven by a surge in click and collect shoppers taking advantage of curbside pickup. 43.7% of major retailers now offer curbside pick up as a shopping option compared to 6.9% in 2019. Experts predict eCommerce is poised to grow to 18% of all consumer spending in 2020, including expected growth in average spend per buyer.

43.7% of major retailers now offer curbside pick up as an option.

We could argue this shift towards the digital space was inevitable; after all, consumer behavior has been trending this direction for years; however, it happened much faster than it was supposed to. While early adopters of eCommerce technology have already built out their online stores and digital presences, most businesses were not prepared to move into the digital space. eCommerce stores were quickly thrown up using whatever tool was easiest to integrate with the existing Point of Sales system. Social posting was ramped up but didn’t have a lot of strategy or direction. It’s been a reasonably confusing race to reach the bare minimum standard. 

On the bright side, consumers were facing this same challenge in real time. This made them much more forgiving and supportive as their local business navigated the new, digital environment. In fact, according to a recent survey by Clickz, 37% of shoppers are planning to do their holiday shopping with small, local businesses! This tells us that businesses need to start preparing for online holiday shopping now to take advantage of this support. A good user experience, especially a good mobile experience, could lead to high returns for small businesses this year.

With this trend of online shopping continuing to grow, building a high-quality digital presence for your brand remains a top priority. In terms of building up your eCommerce store, we have a few recommendations!

How to Get Loud in the E-Commerce Space: Our Top 5 Tips

1. Make sure your ‘in-store’ experience translates online.

Like our partner, Kemo Sabe, many high-personality brands are known for their unique and exciting in-store experience. Oftentimes, it’s what draws shoppers into their location in the first place.

So how do you use your brands’ unique personality to draw in the online window shoppers the same way you would at a brick and mortar location? 

Through an interactive eCommerce site with high-quality, engaging content!

Check out our Kemo Sabe Case Study to learn more about how quality content can showcase your in-store experience online!

2. Optimize your website for conversion rate and average order value.

Your website should be a highway, not a parking lot where consumers just browse and never purchase. The best way to do this is to ensure you have a seamless shopping experience. This means thinking about consumer behavior and the user experience on your site. 

How will users look for specific items in a boutique? By designer? By clothing type?

Is your checkout process simple, or are there a lot of cumbersome steps involved?

What sort of payments can you accept? Is one-click check-out possible? 

By thinking through these various aspects of the user experience, you can increase your chances of consumers purchasing your products online. 

Check out our Top 5 Tips for Increasing Conversion Rate and Average Order Value on Your eCommerce Site!

3. Implement Sales, even if you’re a luxury brand.

Just because you are a luxury brand does not mean you should shy away from online sales. That’s throwing away a chance for conversions from a new audience. 

There is a common misconception that if a luxury brand runs a sale online, it will lose brand equity. The theory forgets one major player, the consumer. If consumers see the brand as high-quality and luxury, it’s doubtful that a sale will change this perception, especially if your products are consistently high-quality.

Another concern we often see from luxury brands is that sales train consumers to only shop during sales; however, this is not true. If it were, no brand would ever be able to sell anything at full price.

Generally speaking, we see a lot of benefits from online sales. We’ve seen up to 40% increases in conversion rates just from one sale. If done correctly, an e-commerce business should run a sale every 6 – 8 weeks.

4. Advertise where your customers are, not where they used to be.

They say location is everything, and that holds true in digital advertising. If your customers don’t see your ads, they won’t shop at your store. Simple as that. 

With the rise of COVID-19, streaming services, and print media decline, consumers can no longer be reached the same way. They aren’t going to see your billboard on their drive to work, because they’re working from their couch, kitchen table, or home office now. They won’t see your TV ad between their favorite sitcom episodes because they paid for Hulu Plus. You get the idea. 

So, what does that mean for you?

It’s time to change where you advertise and meet your consumers where they’re at. 

Where are they? Well, they’re online.

This means your marketing dollars should be going online as well. Digital advertising, content development, and SEO management should be your new best friends.

Not sure how to reach your customers? Give us a shout! We’re happy to help!

5. Create compelling content and encourage reviews to build trust with your brand.

Content and reviews are how you interact with your customers online; make sure you’re engaging. 

Look at things like your product photography and descriptions. Do they convey the quality of your products and your brand? Consumers use these to determine whether or not they will purchase your products. Taking the time to make sure they’re well-done will be worth it.

Learn more about How Photography Builds Consumer Confidence in eCommerce Shopping!

As you interact more online with your customers via shopping carts, emails, social media, etc. don’t be afraid to ask for reviews, also known as social proof. Honest reviews are the new word of mouth marketing and are the most trusted source of information for online shoppers. 

Make it simple to share an opinion or get assistance.

Take advantage of user-generated content.

Don’t neglect the negative comments. Make sure to empathize.

These are just a few quick tips to get those positive reviews you need!

Is Your Business Ready for a Digital Transformation?

You know it’s crucial to build up your digital presence online, but what exactly does that mean? How do you digitally transform your business?

Inventory your existing digital presence for the following: 

  • Website with ecommerce options
  • High-quality, interactive content
  • Engaged Social Media presence
  • Active Email Marketing and a well-maintained CRM
  • Brand Recognition

If you’re missing these things, your Digital Transformation might need a boost. 

We are experts in digital transformations and love to see businesses succeed online! 

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