commerce, the buying and selling of goods and services electronically, is becoming the preferred way for the modern consumer to purchase goods. Consumer behaviors began changing prior to the pandemic to online and electronic shopping and are projected to nearly double in the next two years. As a company that wants to succeed, it pays to understand how eCommerce is changing, how to utilize eCommerce for profits, and how to market an eCommerce business to gain the most benefit.
Modern consumer behaviors are quickly becoming wrapped around eCommerce through omnichannel buying. Omnichannel buying behaviors allow a modern consumer to purchase items through multiple channels for a seamless shopping experience. It allows consumers and brands to communicate in a variety of ways.
Instead of a consumer being tied to only one way to shop for a product, omnichannel shopping allows the same shopping experience whether the consumer is shopping in a brick and mortar store, on their smartphone, or on a computer. If a consumer starts a purchase of a product seen on a social media platform, leaves that platform and visits the store from a smartphone, the items previously viewed or placed in a shopping cart will still be available without any extra steps.
Another example of omnichannel buying is using reward points for a brand. The customer may use a physical card to swipe while in a brick-and-mortar store to gain points on items purchased, an app to use away from the store to order a product or to order ahead that links points, and automatic rewards when ordering online from a website. Wherever the customer shops, the points are always there.
Ecommerce come a long way from its inception in 1969. With technological advances and a global pandemic, the need and desire for e-commerce continue to grow as the preferred way to shop. Online purchases increased from 53% prior to the pandemic in 2019 to 60% following the pandemic during 2020-2021. Ecommerce trends are projected to reach 22% of total global retail sales by 2023. This is compared to 14.1% prior to the pandemic in 2019.
When examining only one area of eCommerce such as grocery sales, the growth has been slower in 2021 compared to the growth of 2020 due to the lockdown of the pandemic. Projected digital grocery sales are expected to skyrocket from $122.4 billion in 2021 to $243.7 billion in 2025. Just as large chain grocery stores will profit from an eCommerce platform, small businesses like convenience stores will be able to join in on the revenue created with an online presence.
When marketing an omnichannel concept for a brand, there are several ways to approach the campaign once the initial platforms are created. Prior to marketing, customer-based considerations need to be decided, then the marketing strategies can be paired with those considerations.
How will the brand find, support, and manage the target audience and chosen marketing techniques?
Once the decisions have been made, consider different ways to market the product or service to the audience through an omnichannel approach:
When it comes to ecommerce, do not underestimate the power of social media. In fact, online stores that utilize a social media presence, like Instagram and TikTok, have 32% more sales than sellers who do not have an online presence. With 90% of ecommerce businesses utilizing social media, it becomes a necessary part in competing for customers.
Customer loyalty is a key concept no matter what type of business is in place. In fact, repeat business accounts for 65% of a company’s revenue and it is more expensive for a business to gain new customers than it is to keep repeat customers. So how is customer loyalty attained?
Keep customers coming back by offering special reward just for repeat buyers. Ensure these rewards are ones that speak to the demographics of the customer base.
Give all customers the same output as they put into their buying experience. If they spend more time or money, give them first access to sales or services. Make them feel good about the time and money they give to the brand.
Make sure customers know they are valued. Give them a variety of ways to contact the business. Give them reminders when they have left something in their cart. They want to know they matter and that the company cares about their return business.
Technology and people are always evolving, and since ecommerce brings it all together, the future is always in a state of change. It's never too late to jump in, learn something new, evaluate it for your business, and move methodically forward. For now, consumers are in the driver's seats and ecommerce businesses will be customizing the journey ahead for them.