Ecommerce business is in a typical situation these days.
For one, people are glued to the internet more and more, as people, almost 50% are sitting at home because of state-enforced lockdowns. Another thing being, with layoffs and furloughs on the horizon for millions of people, ecommerce conversion rates have taken a beating, by 14%.
Bottom line? People are flooding online stores. But then, they are tight-fisted.
Not just the ecommerce sector, supply, and shipping companies have been facing terrible times because of the lockdown in China. In fact, businesses that import products from China are facing stock issues. Dropshipping ecommerce business is also facing difficulties, given that products are shipped directly from China, which means their delivery dates are getting extended.
So what are the ecommerce sites suppose to do in this precarious situation? The answer to this is: Do what is in your control. Look for opportunities in this adversity. As downloads of Instacart and Walmart Grocery app have increased by 218% and 160%, respectively, compared to the previous year, this means people do want to make purchases online, but they want to make it worth their money.
So, here go a few best practices that you could implement at your ecommerce store to keep it up and running during these difficult times.
Experiment with your Ecommerce Store like a Lab-rat
Yes, literally. You need to think of your ecommerce store as a lab-rat and see what experiments are genuinely workable. For instance, you should be tinker with your website content and promotional strategies in real-time and even measure the results quickly. More than that, you could test new product offerings, before you step on the gas.
In short, brands should take advantage of the dynamic nature of ecommerce to conduct experiments and see the impact of new variables on traffic. So far, only a few brands are investing in experimenting with their ecommerce stores. According to a survey by Profitero and Kantar of 200 brand executives, only 37% of the brands' test and optimize their content to improve sales. For more ideas on ecommerce experimentation, consult Zfort ecommerce developers.
Enhance your Ecommerce offerings
As it turns out, basic consumer goods are highly in demand. According to Common Thread Collective, besides grocery, there is a gamut of products with high demand.
Source: Common Thread Collective
Sectors such as finance, health, pharmaceuticals, and media also have witnessed a 35% increase in traffic on their websites.
This means, ecommerce companies have to adapt according to changing customer needs.
With social distancing being the norm, and more and more customers are flooding the online stores, even technology-averse 60+ groups have started exploring ecommerce options.
So there’s no choice left for online marketplaces but to evolve and be more customer-friendly by offering products that are in keeping with their requirements.
Introduce New Essentials Category
Get this: New essentials would make up nearly 40 percent of sales among consumers.
Agreed, people these days divide their spending into two categories: essentials and non-essentials. And these essentials include food, water, and electricity. Everything else comes under non-essentials.
However, in the shadow of government-enforced lockdown, priorities have changed, bringing into the picture a third category: New Essentials. And these include health and fitness products, office supplies, cosmetics, home improvement equipment, toys, and more. These basically our items that help you make your life comfortable while staying at home.
With people spending more waking hours at home, almost 14 hours, is driving customers toward new essential spending.
Avoid Applying Offline Tactics to Online
In physical stores, brands are competing with less number of products. However, in the online world, they end up competing with thousands and that too on different parameters, such as retail, pricing, assortment, and promotions. Though seasoned companies differentiate between offline and online marketing strategies and even have tailored promotional strategies; however, the unseasoned ones use a one-size-fits-all approach applying the same promotional strategy online and offline. This could erode the profitability and damage the reputation of your ecommerce brand.
Pair Essentials and Non-essentials Products Together
When the future is so precarious, it’s pretty much evident that people will prefer to spend on essentials.
Nevertheless, all hope is not lost if you are selling non-essential products, such as couture or perfumes. Two strategies could be tried out in such a case: 1) Offer huge discounts, 2) Try bundling.
When you start offering huge discounts, people who were interested in your product in the past, but didn’t purchase because of the high cost may get tempted to buy them.
Also, you could try bundling an essential product with a non-essential one. Like, say, you could pair free lipsticks with personal care products and so on.
Invest in Social Media Ads to Fuel Sales
Travel, B2B brands, consumer packaged goods, et al. have reduced their online ad spending amidst the crises. With decreased spending on ads, the cost per thousand impressions has diminished. This means, if the ecommerce stores start investing in online advertisements, they’ll see increased returns on their ad spends.
And with the costs of ads down, sales will be better as the customer purchase cycle will move faster.
Promote Substitute Brands through SEO
Limited availability of essential items has prompted customers to opt for substitute brands. This is where eCommerce SEO fits in. Effective utilization of SEO practices should ensure strong ratings and reviews of substitute brands. Even other SEO tactics should be played out for product discovery.
Aside from the above mentioned best practices, you could even tryout the following strategies to keep up your tempo during the lockdown
- Rework on your website content
- Rework messages on your social media ad campaigns
- Work out a retargeting strategy
- Run A/B tests on your ads
- Rework on your video ad script to make it more compelling
- Work on social media calendar
Sure, Coronavirus has created a host of challenges for retailers, but then there’s a positive side to this as well. People who were ignorant about ecommerce stores are being forced to learn more about online shopping and switch their shopping method. No matter what the future has in store for us, people will at least view eCommerce differently post-pandemic.
Ecommerce was always known for convenience, but now more people realize the goodness of online shopping.
Author Bio: I am Jennifer Warren, a Content Crafter with GoodFirms, a research and review platform for service and software companies. The company provides a curated list of top mobile app development companies, top writing service companies among many others.