While eCommerce was already on a steady incline over the past few years, the COVID-19 crisis accelerated the shift online drastically. Since the onset of the pandemic, consumer spending has skyrocketed by 44% from 2019 to 2020. Even as we return back to normal and stores begin to open their doors, it’s safe to say that online shopping is here to stay. As we near the end of restrictions and the world starts to normalize, the question is: how will an eCommerce company have to revamp its strategies to attract new customers and retain existing ones.
Here are 5 Changes eCommerce websites can anticipate and tips to prepare for online business when all the restrictions are lifted.
Increased Digital Competition
The COVID-19 pandemic forced people inside their homes for months on end. But instead of succumbing to boredom, many discovered new hobbies, developed new skills, and then turned their new creativity into online businesses. This at-home innovation has led to a significant increase in digital competition across many industries, especially in home-related niches.
As competition grows online in these markets, eCommerce companies will have to work harder to maintain market share and attract new business. While an eCommerce website is an effective way to approach this new challenge, now more than ever, companies everywhere are realizing the value of introducing robust digital marketing into their sales strategy. As a result, online ads and content marketing are expected to be more competitive.
To combat the surge in competition online, eCommerce companies would benefit from teaming up with a local digital marketing agency that will further personalize and refine their online marketing approach. From page speed, PPC marketing, and search engine optimization services, the eCommerce website development team and online marketing specialists at Xi Digital will optimize websites, content marketing, and digital ads based on the specifics of your industry to outperform competitors.
Flexible Shopping Options
For a long time, the choice between in-store shopping and online shopping was a tug of war for consumers. While eCommerce websites have continued to gain more traction online, in-store shopping never completely lost its footing until the pandemic forced business online. Even older generations who had previously been incredibly resistant to online shopping have become accustomed to eCommerce websites.
Now, the way we shop will shift again as malls and other retail stores reopen.
Experts anticipate that physical stores will be met with high traffic once again, as people yearn for the ability to try new clothes on before buying and to touch products before bringing them home. Yet with an average annual growth rate of 25.6%, online shopping is not anticipated to decline significantly. Still, eCommerce companies will have to adapt.
The prevalence of both online shopping and in-store commerce indicates that consumers want flexible shopping options: mobile apps, curbside pick up, virtual try-on, in addition to the ability to purchase and deliver online.
Brick and mortar stores can work with eCommerce website development teams to create websites, social media channels, and mobile apps that extend their in-store offering online, giving customers more than convenient ways to access their inventory.
Businesses that are already online with an eCommerce website can develop mobile apps to support shopping and in-store orders from smart devices. In addition to search engine optimization services, PPC marketing, and eCommerce website development, you can call the Xi Digital team for app development services as well.
Strong Digital User Experience
With a large number of customers visiting eCommerce websites and their competitors, one of the most distinguishing factors to make your eCommerce website a unique one is to provide a high-quality user experience. You can do so by working with your eCommerce website development team to create an interactive user interface, integrate convenient payment options, and optimize site navigation. The general rule of thumb is that no eCommerce website page should be more than three mouse clicks away. Anything more will become frustrating and inconvenient for your online visitors.
Investment in Uptime
Uptime should always be a top priority. Not only does consistent uptime improve your search engine ranking, but studies also show that it is a crucial decider of whether an online visitor will convert into a customer. Google research found that bounce rate (a visitor leaving a page after online viewing one page) increased by 32% if a page’s load time increased from one to 3 seconds, around 90% at 5 seconds, and over 100% above 10 seconds. Slow load times and website downtime sends potential customers to competing websites.
At Xi Digital, our eCommerce SEO team and web development team work together to ensure page load speeds, navigation and all elements meet the parameters and standards of Google and other major search engines so your online store never loses out on sales.
Shipping Disruptions & Online Order Transparency
One of the major lessons for all businesses and organizations during the COVID-19 crisis is that global supply chains are vulnerable to disruptions. Yes, eCommerce web development plays an important role, but at the end of the day, your customers expect you to deliver their products securely. Disruptions to supply chains, just like we saw in the COVID-19 crisis, can cause shipping and manufacturing delays.
These delays emphasize the importance of being transparent with customers shopping online about stock availability and shipping times. A simple way to create this transparency with online shoppers is integrating mobile or online package tracking to be viewed securely by customers, allowing them to easily see the location of their package when it will arrive, and any related delays. Additionally, automatic online stock updates that reflect on the front end of your eCommerce website will keep your customers in the know regarding any delays your business experiences from warehouses and suppliers. This feature will help prevent customers’ frustration due to missing inventory or out-of-stock products too far into their purchasing journey.
ECommerce will continue to grow stronger in the coming years. So get your online store prepared with the high-end, cutting-edge website development and digital marketing strategies that will keep your business competitive post-pandemic.
Contact Xi Digital at 416-628-5410 today to learn how you can get your business ready.