The meteoric rise of eCommerce has brought about a seismic shift in the way people shop.
Tech revolution and shifting consumer buying behavior have paved the way for this trend to take off. People are hooked on the unparalleled convenience of online resources. They want to do it on the fly, from the time and place of their choosing.
Likewise, they use a heap of different channels and devices as paths to purchase. This is “the new preferred way”, making conventional shopping a thing of the past.
Well, eCommerce businesses may be determined to hit it big, but the profit isn’t just there for the taking. The main challenge is that there’s a multitude of factors that shape consumer decision-making. They range from the age of shoppers to differences in cultures and tech infrastructure.
We have to boil things down to patterns, differentiators, and modes of behavior that carry the most weight. This actionable knowledge gives you a real fighting chance in the highly-competitive arena. At ASDAL, we’ve created software to help automate and streamline operations for Amazon businesses. Here’s our guide to putting together a sophisticated eCommerce strategy and rising above the competition.
Brick-and-Mortar Stores vs. eCommerce
In the U.S, online shopping accounts for 9% of all retail sales, and this figure is only poised to grow.
Millennials and Gen Xers are the keenest online shoppers of all. They were quick to jump on the bandwagon and they still show no intention of leaving it. This comes as no surprise, considering the amount of time they spend on their smart devices.
The appeal of eCommerce is in its convenience and flexibility: a plethora of products is just a few clicks or taps away. They essentially come to people instead of people having to cope with traffic jams, odd work hours, and unbearable crowds.
But the truth is, brick-and-mortar stores aren’t going anywhere just yet. They still represent one of the largest sources of traffic, alongside pop-up shops, markets, and events. Industry leaders like Alibaba and Amazon have even opened physical stores in recent years. Smaller players may decide to follow their example.
This is to say that eCommerce businesses have to fight for their place under the sun. At the same time, we must acknowledge mobile shopping has blurred the lines between the two worlds. A shopper can, for instance, use online resources to gather information and then visit a physical store.
This kind of conjunction between traditional and online is often overlooked. It’s all about understanding what sells better in person and what sells better online, and how to create a distinct sales strategy for each facet of your business.
A Matter of Customer Service
Modern consumers are spoilt for choice. They shun brands that fail to deliver exceptional customer service. In fact, poor customer service is one of the chief culprits behind shoppers switching loyalties. It goes without saying you don’t want this to befall you.
So, step up your game and develop a rock-solid customer service system. Have a properly trained staff that excels in communicating with a diverse customer base. Provide convenient return policies, be perfectly transparent about everything, and ensure you have a feedback tracking system to always monitor a customer’s buying experience. One example of this system would be through the use of our customer feedback manager tool within our software suite dedicated to the Amazon marketplace. This tool allows a brand to track all positive and negative feedback on their products, track all customer messages, and easily respond to all feedback to improve the buying experience for a customer. If you’d like to learn more about this tool and the other features of our software, click here.
Harness the power of digital channels, such as social networks, to extend the reach of customer service. Try to improve your response time and emphasize value propositions, such as premium shipping.
To fill in the remaining gaps, you can summon cutting-edge technology to your aid. Chatbots are popping up throughout the eCommerce ecosystem. They’re far from perfect as it is, but they can answer simple queries and FAQs.
Rest assured your efforts in this department should pay dividends down the road. At the very least, impeccable customer service generates social proof. Customer reviews, testimonials, and recommendations will empower you to outpace the competition.
Related: eCommerce Trends to Watch in 2020
User Experience (UX) Plays a Pivotal Role
UX can make or break both online and in-store shopping. It’s estimated that the majority of customers find this factor more important than the product price. And when we say UX, we mean everything that impacts people’s emotions and attitudes.
The problem is that eCommerce lacks the tangible sensation of inspecting, touching, and seeing the products in a store. People cannot ask a friendly salesperson for advice, either. Precisely for these reasons, around 49% of customers prefer brick-and-mortar shopping.
What eCommerce brands must do is find ways to make up for these UX faults. The good news is there’s no shortage of tools for making it happen.
A beautifully-designed, well-performing storefront is the mainstay of online UX. It should be pleasant on the eyes, quick to load, and easy-to-navigate. A blend of these qualities separates you from the crowd and maximizes revenue potential. For help creating a profitable storefront and streamlining all your operations for the Amazon marketplace, schedule a call with us here.
Notice that on top of that, modern technology opens doors to real-time personalization. This fine touch tends to improve conversion rates, the lifeblood of your storefront.
So, make things as easy and effortless for shoppers as you humanly can. Carry out personalization, customization, and localization across all stages of the buying cycle. Either that or you rely on the infrastructure of established marketplaces.
Pricing and Payment Scheme
Pricing is one of the major selling points of online shopping.
People cherish the opportunity to compare prices and hunt down the best deals. So, scope your competitors’ strategies and get on top of the numbers game. Take your time to create a smart pricing strategy. Learn more about how to create a profitable pricing strategy for your products sold on Amazon with the use of our Amazon repricer tool by clicking here.
By featuring prices that are a bit lower than the competition, you make a strong case for yourself. Of course, the trick is not to go too low and compromise your revenue streams.
Next off, it’s of paramount importance to use trusted and secure payment gateways. You can’t go wrong with PayPal and other reputable provides here. Beyond that, mobile wallet solutions are worth pondering as well, with Apple Pay and Google Wallet being the top contenders.
Note that hidden costs represent one of the biggest concerns that plague eCommerce buyer journeys. The problem stems from unexpected shipping expenditures, taxes, and other unexpected fees.
Lastly, bear in mind a simple checkout and payment process is where you can make a real difference. It prevents shopping cart abandonment from causing enormous revenue losses.
Social Media and eCommerce: A Match Made in Heaven?
Social media has given shoppers a strong voice and another robust shopping platform.
We all know a bad customer experience can act as a spark that spreads like wildfire across popular networks. This raging viral phenomenon tarnishes brand reputations in no time.
But, there’s the other side of the medal too.
Brands that react promptly can turn a bad situation around. At other times, they may capitalize on positive attention and gain new customers.
Besides that, social shopping is one of the fastest-growing trends in and around the eCommerce landscape. Already, 74% of shoppers claim social media is integral to their shopping. A smaller portion uses social media for “window shopping”.
Thus, we have to take advantage of various built-in network features. We’re talking about news feeds, groups, communities, chat, and discussions. Some social hubs in the league of LivingSocial are even made with one purpose in mind— selling to groups in bulk.
And this is just the beginning of what could be the next big era of online shopping.
We haven’t even mentioned abundant marketing and advertising opportunities on social media. Well, thanks to the immense quantity of data available, we can’t afford to neglect it. It’s possible to precisely target campaigns and maximize ROI like never before.
Related: What is Amazon Premium Shipping?
How to Successfully Adopt a Strategy for Consumer Behavior
Understanding, let alone shaping consumer behavior, can be a daunting task.
You want to start at the beginning— by fully embracing a data-driven approach to eCommerce.
Uncover customer preferences and analyze their online behavior. Make good use of online analytics to gather actionable insights and dig deeper into demographics.
Once that is sorted out, figure out how to cater to people’s wants and needs. Here are some great tactics you can use.
- Ramp up your content production. For example, leverage eCommerce staples such as product descriptions and images. Take your time to craft striking videos of people presenting or using your products.
- Prioritize conversion rates as your key performance indicator (KPI). They refer to the percentage of store visitors that complete a desired action (most often a purchase). Maximizing conversions means you’re able to extract great value from prospects, leads, and customers.
- Optimize your pages for smartphones, the go-to shopping device. In other words, have a mobile-responsive site in place. Streamline shopping with features like auto-filling.
Make sure your pages load fast unless you operate in marketplaces like Amazon, which already move at light-speed.
The list of viable tactics goes on, so feel free to explore on your own.
Master the Art of Steering Consumer Buying Behavior
eCommerce has ushered in a brave new age of shopping.
But, it isn’t the kiss of death to brick-and-mortar that many assume it to be. Therefore, it’s best to tread carefully and take a deep breath before diving in.
The first thing to do is to develop a deeper understanding of consumer buying behavior and tailor your whole strategy to the findings. Then, invest in setting up a strong digital foothold.
Your primary goals are to ensure customer service excellence and foster stellar UX. While at it, get the pricing right and do away with everything making the purchase process cumbersome.
Stay abreast of the latest developments and align your business with emerging trends in the sector. Constantly measure your performance and fine-tune the approach. By following these steps, you will make strides towards your goals and thrive in the era of ever-heightened expectations.
In case you want to dominate the Amazon marketplace today, get in touch with us. Our software solutions can automate your operations, making your life easier and profits healthier.