The pandemic was not expected, but if it had been the shift to ecommerce would have been predictable… The question is now: Will the Ecommerce explosion continue or will it be short lived?
In broad terms that’s up to individual Ecommerce Retailers that have enjoyed a bull market for the last few months. There’s many that believe we will come through this crisis and be back to business as usual but nice as that might be, the harsh reality is that, it seems unlikely.
The global ecommerce platform Shopify reported a 45% increase across all their partner sites globally of people buying from a website for the first time [mid 2020].
Okay you can always challenge statistics but the reality is that if there is a 45% increase in new buyers online this represents a shift in trust from traditional to online retailing. Okay it’s not the end of the road for the shops but will shopping become a leisure activity, when the family gets out and about together? We're sure that everybody will want the shopping experience from time to time.
However, this unprecedented crisis has created a dependence on ecommerce, and many will have proved the reliability and the ease of purchasing goods and services which they previously would not have thought to go online for.
The challenge now for Ecommerce retailers is how to make sure that we can sustain these new levels of retailing online.
There are three important factors to ensure success in Ecommerce retail from 2020 onwards. Summarised as follows: Excitement, Communication and Consistency.
Excitement - or Emotional attachment
In reality the traditional retail method has a lot going for it. A traditional retail shopping trip takes planning, possibly for a weekend, perhaps a family activity. High streets and shopping centres joined up long ago - bringing together shopping with eating out. Because of the planning involved and the journey and the experience any purchase has a subliminal emotional attachment. Along with that the opportunity to see exactly what you are getting and take possession there and then. Ecommerce retailers have been hard pushed to make the experience of negotiating around a flat screen come near it, although they have definitely tried to.
One of the challenges of Ecommerce is the returns culture in comparison to traditional shopping. The experience of buying online is often times a function to buy not to be compared with the experience of shopping, so when the items are delivered (even coming next day) there is not the same emotional engagement with the products. The train of thought has been interrupted and taken down a different course and the frame of mind at point of delivery could be very different to when purchasing for any number of reasons completely outside the retailers control. So a unique or refreshing unboxing experience with a little excitement goes a long way towards getting engagement with your Ecommerce brand and creating delighted customers that can share their story, and promote your brand.
Communication - or keeping the customer in the picture
The online tools are all available to create informative updates for your customers after they have purchased with a string of emails and text messages about their delivery time. In addition to this, can you build the connection and add further value to your sale with helpful information about their purchase, for example: Washing instructions or guides to good care of your purchase. After all, you know the products best until they have used them. You can tell your customer anything that will bring value for them and, at the same time, build trust in your brand.
It is essential to build some expectation of the delivery, with just a basic thank you email. However, delivery options are growing with timed delivery updates becoming more common in the UK. Some couriers offer services whereby Recipients can adjust the delivery timing to better suit them. Even though it's maybe just an option offered by the courier, it reflects positively the Ecommerce brand being delivered.
Consistency - or sustainable fulfilment and ongoing reliability
Because of the mystique of Ecommerce there is a danger to think that workplace environments are not as essential. The successful retailers I've met place a strong emphasis on their team and following good business principles to create a sustainable reliable trustworthy company.
We really owe it to the whole Ecommerce community to create reliable and trustworthy reputable online transactions. From images and cost and payment flexibility, to delivery, returns, and after sales, savvy buyers are looking for companies that can consistently perform well and make good decisions that will benefit the customer and build the brand relationship.
Added to this, Communities are looking for companies that can deliver sustainable products and services without over impacting on the earth's resources, giving due regard to the environment.
Ultimately it takes a good working environment for teams to make good decisions, consistently delivering the right outcome for the customer.
If you would like to learn more about how to continue your Ecommerce explosion and where we can help, call us on 01923 220055