E-commerce is blooming in Covid-19 as a result of lockdown and travel restrictions. Not only does the pandemic change customer buying habits and patterns temporarily, the shift may be semi-permanent and persist after the pandemic is over. According to a survey by Statista on retail website traffic, there is a dip in retail website traffic after the holiday season in Jan and Feb 2020, but a spike occurred right around the pandemic. Traffic in June this year was 6 billion higher than the same period of last year, showing what lockdowns have done to consumers. Conversion costs are much lower now and there are many opportunities for retailers to save their business and increase revenue. There are things retailers can do to improve the customer journey online to increase sales and customer loyalty. Retailers can implement what’s called Buy and Pay Later Policy to alleviate the economic burden on consumers during pandemic, make sure their E-commerce site is mobile friendly, and facilitate faster and smoother check out process.
Buy and Pay Later Policy
With trade war raging and Covid-19 induced lockdowns, the economy around the world is suffering tremendously. A lot of people are out of work and relying on unemployment and their savings. It is difficult for people to follow their regular purchasing habits. Many studies have shown that people are mostly spending on essentials and less on items, such as apparel and electronics. It is difficult to expect people to follow their regular purchasing habits.
Recently Shopify is partnering with Affirm to facilitate various payment options for customers to make purchase easier and more flexible. Different options including pay full after a period of time, pay later installments in 3 or 4 equal, interest free installments, and even finance the purchase by splitting into as many as 36 monthly payments. This type of freedom is welcomed among Gen-Z and millennial shoppers, but may even attract older generation shoppers in the long run. The company noted that sellers offering this option saw increased sales and order value.
Mobile Friendly Platform
According to a survey by AdColony, More than 59% of US customers say that they will prefer shopping on smartphones over tablets and computers for back to school shopping this year. Furthermore, 55% of people said that they have purchased something directly on a mobile device. Even for consumers who are visiting the stores, smartphone apps are helpful for researching competitive prices as well as looking up reviews and discounts. This means that having a mobile friendly site or application is extremely valuable for consumers who are interested in your products. It is not simply squeezing all the information on a website onto the application. The mobile site should be good at funneling people down the purchasing process as efficiently as possible, which can be done in a few ways.
From the retailer side, curating virtual collection of goods is important in the absence of physical stores. By segmenting customers based on needs and curating different “online showrooms” for them, it will help customers find what they want to buy in a shorter time with no frustration. The problem with many e-commerce platforms is the overwhelming amount of choices, sometimes so much that it becomes unbearable for customers. Being able to navigate and pinpoint products especially on a smaller screen such as a smartphone makes the discovery more pleasant.
There are technical aspects that can be enhanced for a mobile site, one of the most important one being the loading speed. Based on Clickz’s information, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Utilize cookies and users’ personal information to craft personalized shopping experiences for them, with full consent of course. Lastly, simplifying your website’s navigation will make it easier for people to find what they want, thus increasing their chance of making a purchase.
Facilitate Faster and Smoother Check Out Process
The difference between a mobile and desktop e-commerce platform is that you can browse a lot more and faster on desktop. On the mobile retail app, however, it is important to be able to sieve through information in a simpler fashion and make purchasing decisions from there. A good retail e-commerce app should facilitate the purchasing process, from discovering a product, looking at the information, to checking out the product.
Notifications of empty or abandoned carts will remind consumers to come back to the app after an extended period of time. Some e-commerce sites and platforms have poorly built check out implementations, which causes errors and lags when someone is trying to finish the purchasing process. There are also instances where carts empty out and refresh too quickly, or overlap in multiple browser tabs, which may discourage customers from completing the process.
Users of Ecommerce have been steadily increasing, especially under the influence of the pandemic. In order to capture new groups of customers converting from brick and mortar to this new type of shopping habit, retailers must invest resources in beefing up their Ecommerce platform. Building up a good Ecommerce platform is not something that can be done in a day, and it’s far from just dumping all products onto a website with a check out button. From a desktop Ecommerce platform to mobile version there are practices that retailers should follow to maximize the consumer experience which ultimately boost sales and loyalty. There are few ways to improve the Ecommerce platform overall, including flexible payment options, curating mobile friendly platforms, and facilitating a smoother check out process.