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A bright future for eCommerce

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eBusiness Institute Team

As the rise in the popularity of eCommerce continues unabated, we recommend strategies that brands and retailers should be using to capitalise on this trend and ensure future success.

You’ll need to have been living under a rock not to have heard about the huge – and perfectly understandable – uplift in online shopping during the COVID-19 lockdown.

But will the trend continue after lockdown? 

A recent report[1] shows that eCommerce was delivering consistent double-digit year-on-year growth prior to COVID-19 – and projects 2020 to be the strongest year yet, with 22 percent growth driven by the massive shift from offline to online.

eCommerce growth has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic – and signs are that this trend will continue – Image source: Common Thread

Here, we share some of the key highlights from the report and challenge our readers to think: ‘what can you and your business do to take advantage of this trend?’.

How are consumers researching products?

You may have read our CEO & Founder Luigi Matrone’s article ‘Why Retail Search is as important as Google for attracting customers’ back in May. 

In it, Luigi highlights why brands are very wisely beginning to invest as much in optimising search on eCommerce platforms like Amazon, Walmart and Zappos as they do their Google search strategies.

That’s because Google is no longer the first place that the majority of digitally savvy consumers start their purchasing journeys.

The recent Kantar report found that 63 percent of shoppers who visit Amazon or use these sites for initial product research. A good reason, then, for brands to prioritise strong Retail Search strategies that help their products stand out on eRetailer platforms and drive sales.

Embrace Omnichannel

According to the Kantar report, 37 percent of all online buyers visit retailer websites/apps prior to the moment of purchase.

What does this tell us? 

In the simplest terms, it confirms that shoppers are using their smartphones and apps to access valuable product information, offers and recommendations when shopping in physical stores. 

This isn’t a revelation in itself.

But it does re-emphasise how incredibly important it is for retailers – especially those reliant on a brick-and-mortar presence – to invest in powerful mobile Omnichannel strategies that:

  • engage shoppers at key moments in their shopping journeys
  • enhance experiences
  • and, ultimately, drive conversions.
Kantar’s findings confirm that more people are using smartphones and apps to help them make decisions when shopping in physical stores – and that Omnichannel customer experiences will be essential to future retail success – Image source: Which-50

Remember, too, that 80 percent of shoppers are known to research products online before buying them in store in what is known as the ‘ROPO’ (Research Online, Purchase Offline) Effect. As people across Europe begin to visit physical stores again now that lockdown is easing, they will want to go armed with information, content and recommendations that make their purchasing decisions all the easier to make.   

Interestingly, a survey conducted last year[2] showed that 49 percent preferred buying online via desktop because it’s easier to ‘comparison shop’ on desktop than it is on smartphones. Two of the most eye-opening reasons given are that mobile sites are 1. too hard to read 2. mobile sites don’t offer enough in the way of engaging content or product information.

What these insights tell us is that (and it’s something we’ve recommended repeatedly) brands and retailers must adopt a ‘mobile-first’ attitude towards their content and product information. Don’t go thinking that websites and content developed with a desktop-first mindset will work on mobile. They won’t. 

Kantar’s figures show that not having great mobile-first content will result in you missing out on engaging shoppers when they’re at their most receptive, driving conversions and the opportunity to create customer loyalty. 

Learn more about how to create winning eCommerce-driven Omnichannel strategies here

Advertising in the right places pays dividends

Some people would have you believe that advertising isn’t all that effective. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Kantar’s report reveals that 54 percent of shoppers who are exposed to advertising while shopping say that it helps remind them of something they need, or prompts an idea for something they want.

Another survey has found that 90 percent of shoppers haven’t made their mind up about a brand before starting their search[3] and prioritise the products that are right for them above brands they know. Couple this remarkable finding with Kantar’s and you’ll understand why quality online and offline advertising is still vital to business success.

So, where to advertise? 

The Kantar report revealed that 72 percent of eCommerce professionals use Facebook for digital marketing activities. And, while Facebook’s and Google’s market share is declining thanks to competition from companies like Amazon, they still dominate digital ad spending[4].  

But it’s vital that brands advertise in the places where their customers are most likely to be. And it may be that Facebook isn’t an effective advertising channel for your brand as others. 

Two-thirds of brands already investing in Amazon Advertising or Walmart Media Group have increased their investments, says the Kantar report. This kind of advertising – known as Retail Digital Media (RDM) – targets online shoppers at ‘the optimum moment of receptivity’. In other words, at the very point in the shopping journey when they are most likely to buy or add a product to their basket.

Find out more about Retail Digital Media and how it could create a great uplift in sales of your products on 3rd party eRetailer sites here.

Organisations must learn to properly leverage customer data

The Kantar report says that 56 percent of eCommerce professionals are allocating funds to data and analytics, making it the top eCommerce service budgeted for.

Little wonder, really, given that not enough eCommerce professionals – or organisations as a whole – are using Big Data & AI to properly leverage insights about their audiences and their behaviours.

User website activity, purchase history and behaviour on 3rd party apps can help organisations tap into how consumers are engaging with your brand.

This data could include user interests, engagement-levels, customer satisfaction and frequently searched items that allows brands to build a more realistic profile of customers, which brands can use to tailor and personalise highly effective marketing messaging. 

Big Data & AI are transforming organisational decision-making and enabling improved business outcomes that can give companies a hugely valuable competitive advantage – but only if properly understood and used to their best effect.

If you would like to upskill the teams in your organisation and put the power of Big Data & AI at their disposal, please contact us to learn about our popular Big Data & AI capability building program

Click on the image above to learn more about our popular Big Data & AI training

Think social

Online stores with a strong social media presence are believed to achieve 32 percent more sales on average than those with only a minimal offering[5].

And think, too, of the strides that Western social platforms like Facebook and YouTube are making with their respective social commerce strategies, following in the trailblazing footsteps of Chinese pioneers like Pinduoduo and WeChat. 

The Kantar report found that 59 percent of online purchasers are already aware of social commerce – and it’s reasonable to anticipate that more and more consumers will soon become comfortable with the idea of buying via social platforms. 

Please contact us about how we can help you incorporate social commerce in your mobile and eCommerce strategies.

In conclusion – an exciting future ahead for eCommerce

The number of online buyers is expected to reach 2.14 billion by 2021, with the value of global retail eCommerce sales reaching $4.88 trillion[6]

Forecasters also expect that around 95 percent of all purchases will be made via eCommerce by 2040.

eCommerce clearly has a bright short-term and long-term future.

If you want your organisation to be a part of that great future, contact us to access our considerable eCommerce expertise and discuss strategies that will boost your chances of success.

This article was written and created by the eBusiness Institute team.

Would you like to benefit from eBusiness Institute’s expertise?

eBusiness Institute focuses on the integration between marketing and sales to drive business results online and offline.

Our team has considerable experience and expertise in successfully delivering strategies, capability building and creative assets for brands that understand the importance of Digital Transformation, Product eContent, Data & Analytics, Retail Search and Retail Digital Media (RDM) to eCommerce sales success.

Please contact us if you would like to learn more about how the eBusiness Institute could help your organisation gain a competitive edge through these activities. 









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