Online sales - the trend of the new decade
For the sake of fairness, we note that online shopping has gradually and confidently gained popularity over the past 5 years, but this process was systematic and unhurried. The situation has changed dramatically in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, which happened at the start of 2020. The e-Commerce segment has rapidly gained momentum, as offline business has stopped for several months due to quarantine. A new reality has emerged that entrepreneurs have had to put up with and accept the current economy of the country in the state in which it found itself as a result of the pandemic.
The number of people buying online is growing and this is an undeniable fact. For example, in Italy, one of the first countries to adopt a quarantine order, the volume of e-commerce transactions has increased by more than 80% since the end of February. Under quarantine conditions, ordinary stores had to either completely close their doors or radically reduce their capacity. Even now, some consumers find it uncomfortable to shop in a crowded environment. And this spurs even more online sales.
Users are changing their views on online shopping and are more focused on purchasing goods directly from brands that they know and love. Now more than ever, it is imperative to have a direct channel to the consumer and offer them a variety of purchase options to build brand loyalty. For example, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos earned $ 29.9 billion in 2 months of quarantine (from March 23 to May 22, when almost everything was closed), Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton, became richer by $ 12.8 billion , and the owner of the Zara brand, Amancio Ortega, was enriched by $ 5.2 billion.
According to experts, it was COVID-19 that had the most significant impact on online sales in 2020, and it turned out to be positive, making such a trading format a trend for the next few years. According to analysts' forecast, e-Commerce will become the largest beneficiary of the coronavirus epidemic, and by 2025 its penetration rate will increase from the current 15% to 25% (according to the MarketWatch center for financial statistics). This is driven by an influx of new consumers who will continue to shop online as they have already made sure it is fast, convenient and safe. Hence, if you haven't developed yet website for an online store, it's time to fill this gap.
What needs to be done to make a customer want to buy your product online?
The best way is to minimize the interaction of your customers with the site wherever possible. You need to reduce the number of clicks between the moment they first visit the landing page and clicking the “confirm payment” button in their shopping cart. If a user has to close a pop-up to subscribe to your newsletter, minimize chat, and accept cookies before they can look at a product, this is already three steps of potential interaction in their buying experience that could negatively impact site visits.
In addition, it is important to accurately and timely inform visitors about the availability of goods. Let's take online grocery shopping for example. When a customer is wasting time choosing what they want and adding it to their cart, they expect those products to be available to order. After that, he goes to the checkout, and if part of the basket disappears due to the lack of goods, the customer gets upset and no longer wants to buy in your store. Lack of information about the availability of goods is a huge disadvantage for online trading.
Hot deals are another way to get customers to buy from you. For example, during the quarantine period, the products of the pharmaceutical group and products sold by online supermarkets became sharply in demand. Also, in connection with the closure of stores, they began to order electronics, clothing, shoes, cosmetics, household appliances more often online. Focus the attention of users on the things that are in demand and you will always be in trend.
How else can you improve customer relationships?
With the influx of e-commerce customers and changes in logistics processes to keep workers healthy and safe around the world, many brands are facing order delays. While these changes are necessary and important, they have affected many consumers who expect to receive their products on time. Well-established communication with customers, bringing them regularly updated information about the status of the order can ease their disappointment from a long wait. It is imperative for brands in an online trading environment to be as honest as possible with their customers, especially in the event of delays.
Indeed, right now, as at all times, honesty is a key factor in building trust in people. If you have problems fulfilling orders or are experiencing long delays, please let your customers know.
In recent years, leading brands have taken advantage of subscriptions to reach consumers who need access to the latest products, bestsellers, promotions, and sales. And as the economy changed dramatically and people started shopping online, subscription services have proven to be a necessary part of the success of the e-commerce sector.
The return to normal life after the end of quarantine restrictions is likely to be slow, gradual, because even now, when half a year has passed, and there is no such strict control, and it seems that we have already begun to get used to the pandemic, online sales remain in public demand. People continue to shop online, and this trend will continue for the foreseeable future. With this in mind, adapting to the changing marketplace is critical to the success of any retail business.