The biggest mistake that companies can make is to either be too complacent or unwilling/afraid to change. But the sudden shift in e-commerce strategies due to the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way retailers think. Strategies for implementing buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup now dominate the conversation. The need for digital transformation has increased drastically, especially among the e-commerce sector. According to QuantumMetric, online shopping surged by 60% YoY, and online conversion rates have increased by 8.8% in February.
In South-east Asia, e-commerce takings soared 96 per cent for the week (ended on May 11) as compared with the same period last year. New users have become accustomed to the platforms and are continuing to shop online in the comfort of their own homes even after the circuit breaker. If you haven’t gone digital by now, you’ll be hit by the 2nd wave of crisis as consumer behaviour shifts into a “digital-first” mindset.
In order to survive in today’s highly volatile environment, retailers and marketers must start building their online presence and create an enjoyable, “painless” e-shopping experience to drive more customer conversion (where customers successfully purchased something, and eventually comes back to purchase more). Here are tips on how you can strengthen your online presence and increase customer loyalty.
Your brand must be distinctive and captivating (stand out from your competition)
Using the right tools, anyone can build a website and run an online stall with a low set up fee. With so many options available, consumers have lesser time and patience to find out who you are, what do you do, and why does it matter. If you’re selling home-baked cookies, why is your cookie special compared to other home bakers? What is the brand promise that you can offer to your customers, that is unique, that can only be provided by you? Do you have creative and interesting flavors? Are your cookies only made of healthy ingredients? We need to start questioning and think, “What kind of reputation should we build for our brand?”
Your website is now your salesperson
In physical stores, we can hire a salesperson to interact with the customers and guide them through the different products and purchasing options, but in an online store, we can’t. Thus, we need to keep the contents of your website informative, succinct, and easy to understand. You’re out if your website is taking too long to load, or if the content/information is too wordy or difficult to understand. You’re also out if your website is hard to navigate. It’s beginning to sound like the judges of Shark Tank, but that’s the reality of consumers having too many options and too little time/ patience.
Pay attention to your customer’s overall experience (journey mapping)
With today’s saturated market, whether it’s a physical store or an online store, we can’t emphasise enough how important user experience is. Consumers are spoilt with options. The moment your payment system or customer service is unsatisfactory, the customer will turn to your competitor in a heartbeat. Run simple surveys to get some feedback from your customers to see how you can improve your online systems. From loading speed to the ease of searching for a product, to online payment options, we need to look at every point of contact and constantly improve on it.
Boost your online presence
The coronavirus outbreak has forced advertisers to adopt a Maintain mentality rather than Gain/Grow. But that may also mean lesser competition when it comes to ad bidding. A recent Kantar survey of more than 35,000 consumers around the world found that the vast majority of consumers do not think that brands need to stop advertising during the Covid-19 outbreak. Though they do expect companies to think about their tone and messaging, and communicate around values. 78% think brands should “talk about how they are helpful in the new everyday life,” and 75% think brands should inform people of what they’re doing. Only 8% of consumers think brands should stop advertising during the pandemic.
Or you can hire a pro
If this article sounds like it’s a lot of work, well, it is! The amount of time spent and level of expertise needed is no joke. So why not speak to our brand/marketing specialist and see how we can help turn crisis into growth opportunities!
Related article: Pivoting out of the Covid-19 crisis