With 2020 marking a key accelerated year for ecommerce, it has brought in many more shoppers, and cemented online shopping into the everyday behavior of millions of people.
Yet the surge in online shopping has brought with it fresh challenges and new realities that brands and retailers must get to grips with if they are to advance online.
Among these challenges is the heightened expectations among consumers. And here are some of their increasing demands and expectations.
Really simple returns
With so many of us buying products online, it has meant not being able to physically interact with them nor try them on until they reach the front door. This has led to a predictable increase in returns.
To keep up with such increases, brands and retailers have tried to accommodate this by simplifying the returns process. Quite a few have made it possible for customers to print their own shipping labels and a delivery driver will pick up the unwanted product.
Finding ways to lessen the burden of returns can even help to boost brand loyalty, because for customers, returning a product doesn’t necessarily mean that they are disappointed by the product itself, but perhaps they want it in a different color, or a different size.
A phone-first approach
Thanks to the development of technology and growth of social media apps, we are increasingly using our phones first rather than our laptops. And so brands and retailers that focus on mobile-first strategies to ecommerce are increasing their chances of success.
Yet that doesn’t mean neglecting the laptop experience. Because cross-device shopping remains extremely popular. And in fact, despite using our phones for researching items, we still predominantly buy from our laptops.
Get on the socials
If you don’t have a presence on social media by now, then you’re living in the margins of modern society. For businesses, it’s not good enough to only be on Facebook. Today you need to be on text-dominant platforms (Facebook), instant messaging apps (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger), video-centric platforms (TikTok, Snapchat), and image-focused apps (Instagram, Pinterest).
Much like the Big Man upstairs, businesses must be omnipresent. But an interventionist one. A responsive one where you interact with customers and users as soon as possible.
Make it personal
Personalized digital journeys used to be a funny, trendy feature of few websites. Today, it is imperative to personlize each point of contact a brand has with a customer. We have come to expect it when we shop and when a brand reaches out to us online.
The complexity here – beyond the development difficulties in implementing a good personalizable digital strategy – is that online shoppers increasingly value security and privacy. One way to not be creepy about this is to be transparent: put personalized journeys in place beyond the login of a user account. You don’t want lost customers to be thinking “how the hell did they know that’s what I wanted?”
Shoppers – and particularly younger ones – are more conscious about sustainability and environmental causes. So when it comes to things like shipping and delivery options, it may well be worth taking some advice from organic brands and looking at offers based on reusable packaging.
Online shoppers are willing to wait to receive products. However, the time of receiving an order does affect a customer’s loyalty. And the reliability of delivery is one of the factors that come to mind when consumers think of switching or ditching brands.
Attempt to be boring and predictable when it comes to delivery options and shipping times. Reliability reinforces loyalty.