The paradigm shift in consumer behavior was rather apparent ever since the lockdown happened. People have embraced the new habit of buying the majority of their purchases online – whether these goods are for pick-up or delivery. Sadly, many brick-and-mortar stores have had to close shop; however, the surge in online traffic and conversions gives sellers hope. Now is a great time to set up shop online, whether as a stand-alone online retailer or a shop in popular marketplaces like Amazon or Shopify.
Shifting to E-Commerce: The Better Alternative.
E-commerce has helped keep many retail companies afloat while most of the stores have had to shut down during the pandemic. With traffic moving online, more people and brands have adopted the e-commerce model.
Because these are two different models, proper planning is key, and here are some tips on how a retailer can transition to e-commerce:
Virtual Shopping Experiences
There is a need to replace the in-house experience that only brick-and-mortar stores can offer. To address this, online sellers post high-quality images and content that pique the customers’ interest. Product listings also aim to provide customers with as much product information as needed to help them decide on the purchase. Furthermore, technology has allowed for filters that allow online customers to try on the products virtually. Most stores have also eased up on their return policies, given that consumers are not able to try on their products before they place their orders.
Shipping and Other Fees
You’ll want to be strategic with this one because according to the study conducted by Barilliance, shipping fees and hidden charges have made 25% of customers abandon their carts. Check if removing shipping fees is feasible; otherwise, a good strategy is bundling the product cost and the shipping fee. Other merchants offer free shipping for a minimum order.
You’ll need strategic pricing to thrive in an already saturated marketplace. If you are unsure if your pricing strategy is profitable and competitive enough, you can get a repricer to help in your decision-making. Repricing software updates your product rates automatically after comparing the behavior of the competition.
Inventory management systems are available and are commonly used by online sellers to make sure that they don’t run out of inventory. These applications can help manage your online and offline orders. Most have barcoding features and inventory alerts so that you’ll never run out of your most popular products.
Strategic Online Marketing
In e-commerce, driving traffic and aiming for better conversion are crucial, and that’s why having strategic online marketing is imperative. You’ll want your products and your shop to be highly visible.
According to research conducted by McKinsey, 75% of American shoppers have changed their brand preferences. Due to the pandemic, consumers have become less picky. That said, all marketing efforts should be strategic and ramped up because brands can’t guarantee conversion nor customer loyalty anymore.
People are also more inclined to stay online, so you’ll want to be constantly seen on social media, emails, and search engines. Plan your marketing strategies carefully, as online advertising rates have also increased due to the pandemic. If this is not your forte, hiring an expert might be a good move for your business.
In e-commerce, merchants utilize various means to promote customer retention. Considering how intense the competition is in online retailing, you’ll want to retain your existing customers the best way possible. Some stores run loyalty programs that promote high volume purchases and frequent online interactions with the brand. There are also subscription-based loyalty programs.
Most online retailers also have customer service representatives available 24/7 to assist customers regarding their purchases and help them track their orders. Customers always appreciate good and timely service, especially due to the instantaneous nature of online transactions. A good website and a user-friendly interface also help retain customers because consumers always want the easiest and most convenient means towards their products.
Success stories from sellers who have made 7-figure annual revenues have made the rounds and have proven that one can actually make it big in e-commerce through proper planning, implementation, and monitoring. The shift may not be a walk in the park, but it sure is going to be well worth it in the long run.