This world is becoming progressively more digital, and the covid-19 pandemic especially has caused a lot of business to move online. In fact, it has been predicted that e-commerce will reach an annual turnover of $4.9 trillion by the end of 2021 and that as much as 95% of all trade and retail will happen online by 2040. With 51% of all Americans stating their preference for online shopping, these figures come as no surprise. Therefore, there has never been a more pertinent time to move your business online. Below are a few things to keep in mind if e-commerce is completely new territory.
Connect with your Customers
The best way to ensure a prosperous business is a guarantee that your customers are happy. This can be achieved by connecting with your target group in as many ways as possible – including social media and market research – in order to ascertain what the overwhelming majority is truly looking for in terms of products and customer service. As Markus Lindblad, the Head of External Affairs at the Haypp Group so aptly puts it:
“the closer we become with our customers, the more we will understand their needs across different markets and customer segments. Only then can we be on the customers’ side and create proper change.”
Building a customer-centric business plan has worked well for the Haypp Group, as their subsidiary Nicokick was able to boast a 250 % sales increase within six months, as well as an increase in sales during the height of the Corona pandemic. As such, the company has been able to expand within both the US and Europe.
Care for your customers
It has been reported that consumers become more inclined to look for bargains and ‘pampering’ products such as chocolate during times of crisis. Covid-19 has reinforced this view, with the sales of confectionery and other, more budget-friendly, luxuries rising in 2020. The financial constraints that are being felt worldwide with job cuts and businesses closing their doors have forced consumers to ‘tighten their belts’ and cut back on their spending habits. Therefore, anything that you can offer your customers to alleviate these financial concerns would be highly appreciated, in turn creating loyalty and positioning your business as top-of-mind for future purchases.
However, these budget-friendly offerings do not need to put a strain on your business. Gestures as small as free shipping, or even small discounts on bulk purchases, are enough for customers to feel that they are gaining value by bringing their business to you. In fact, if you needed any more persuading in this regard, studies have shown that free shipping is enough to make a customer prefer one business above another.
The path of e-commerce is littered with abandoned shopping carts. Whereas a few customers may merely forget to check out their items, the vast majority of customers will abandon their shop if the site is not user-friendly enough. Moreover, 30 % of shoppers have reported leaving the checkout of an e-commerce site due to poor optimization for mobile shopping. As the average adult spends at least three hours on their phone every day, it makes sense that they would prefer to conduct their online shopping from the comfort of their own mobile device, rather than needing to move over to a computer. As such, it is highly important that you make your website as user-friendly as possible across all platforms – or you will be noticing abandoned shopping carts along the way.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are the best places to truly connect with your customers. The ease of social media communication breaks down the geographical barriers and red tape that consumers usually need to cross to connect with their favorite brands and stores. Reach out to your customers via fun and interactive posts and create a relationship with them.
Indeed, social media will also enable you to conduct informal, fast and free polls, in order to deduce what your customers want, and where you could perhaps improve your performance. The direct messaging systems incorporated into social media also provide you with direct access to customer complaints and problems, allowing you to help consumers as swiftly as issues arise, thus heightening your reputation as a company that provides the optimal customer service experience.
The fact that millennials and Gen Z prefer to conduct a lot of their shopping via social media is another benefit to showcasing your product range on these platforms.
There has never been a better time to take your business online. Although it may take some time to grow accustomed to e-commerce, it is truly the best decision you can make for your company.