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With the world in the middle of a global pandemic, retailers are forced to shift their operations and adapt to e-commerce. Canadian retailers are in a position where they have to think of new strategies that ensure they stay open-for-business, catering to customer needs with caution.
This substantial e-commerce moment shouldn’t go unrecognized! The shift from in-store to online is leveling the e-commerce playing field, allowing less established retailers to have a better shot at expanding their brand, reaching new customers and becoming more competitive against existing online retailers.
Remain successful by adapting to this new trend with some of these tips and resources!
Retailers need to act fast and not miss out on the opportunity to reach many Canadians already buying online. Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, the number of online shoppers has been accelerating regularly.
Recently, there has been a high volume in searches for “curbside pick up.” With that being said, consumers are now being more open-minded when considering purchasing from new brands online, since their go-to walk-in stores are closed. There are now more people willing to test new brands due to lack of availability of their usual preferences, especially those that were typically found in-store.
Make your products available online so that consumers can view what you have in stock. Communicate any changes you’re making on your on a regular basis. Inform consumers about delivery timelines and delivery zones, while including important information such as “contactless delivery” and “curbside pick up” in your messages.
Typically, shopping patterns are predictable, especially when searching for seasonal products like bathing suits, winter accessories and back-to-school essentials. However, now that everything is currently out of sorts, standard shopping trends don’t apply.
There’s much more variety in the products people are searching. Some common products and interests include: vegetable seeds, sweatpants, puzzles, running shoes, basketball nets, yeast and much more! This shows that working from home, staying fit from home and homeschooling are changing people’s everyday activities, hobbies and overall, shopping interests.
It’s important for retailers to monitor these shopping trends and anticipate for future trends, due to unexpected bursts of interest in certain products. Think of the way people’s lives can change today and a month from now.
A great resource retailers can use is Google Trends and Google Alerts as they both help you monitor and track search interest in your product category.
Every business is in crisis mode, but that doesn’t mean that businesses should neglect their long-term plans and goals. There’s no room to be shortsighted. Use this time to take significant steps and devise a long-term digital strategy, utilizing the best ways to keep up with e-commerce for the rest of the year and beyond.
Develop an efficient checkout process, keep all product information current, and ensure that delivery information is clear and accurate on your website and social channels. Google provides free diagnostics tools used to evaluate your overall website by testing its mobile speed and providing you with suggestions on how to make your e-commerce site more user-friendly.
If you’re overwhelmed or finding it difficult to fulfill all online orders, try your best to resist shutting down your site. You can manage the online flow with small actions such as pausing checkout options while permitting people to still browse, add-to-cart to purchase later and informing consumers that specific products are sold out.
High-density shopping seasons including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day will be coming at the end of the year. Prepare your store with an online holiday strategy and determine the products you think will be essential based on ongoing trends and where you think society may be.
If physical distancing is still in place by the holidays, ask yourself questions including:
As a final step, it’s crucial to plan for a recovery phase. Even though stores will be open eventually, people may continue to shop online and online marketing strategies will be more important than ever before.
E-commerce has never been more important! Thoughtfully set up your site so that it’s user-friendly and provides a pleasant shopping experience during these difficult times. Stay tuned for more tips on our next blog!