The changing landscape of e-commerce represents an exciting window of opportunities for innovation – however, new challenges and threats often rise at the same speed. Increasing conversion rates whilst improving your customers’ online shopping experience is the goal, but the pace is changing and customer needs are constantly evolving. With that in mind, we’ve put together the biggest e-commerce challenges business will face in 2019 (and beyond) as well as the most important courses of action to mitigate these:
Although online shopping is more common than ever, many customers are still wary of purchasing on the internet. There is a fine line between making payments quick and making your customer feel insecure, so finding the right balance is key.
First of all, protect your data and ensure your website runs with https enabled to prevent security alert messages from browsers that can scare customers away. You don’t want to lose on the basics.
To make payments more agile, start by offering guest check-out option – mandatory full registration before purchase is one of the main reasons why customers give up and abandon carts. Speed up your check-out page (yes: ONE page) by allowing autofill fields and the option of scanning credit cards with an image recognition software. These solutions save time and prevent typos that decline the sale and can put your customer off trying again.
One-click solutions by trusted providers are best though – even if you have to sacrifice a little of your margin, the uplift will render that insignificant. Payment methods that are well-known such as Paypal, Google Pay, Apple Pay and so on are best placed to assure customers. Display the logos on all pages as well, so your payment options are visible and your customers will know, from page one, that they are in friendly and safe territory.
Website optimisation & new technologies
A website that is fast, has engaging content and provides an easy customer journey is crucial. Make it as intuitive as possible, whilst ensuring you provide all the information your customer needs to feel confident to close the sale. Then use that information to improve and explore new opportunities within your website. Gathering and analysing data from abandoned shopping carts, for example, can help you identify issues and find creative solutions.
Explore the new technologies available such as augmented reality, chatbots and voice e-commerce, and find how it can be effectively implemented on your website or app. This makes consumer experiences more seamless and engaging in completely new ways.
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of social media in generating revenue. Social e-commerce is now a reality – and, with the help of digital data, you can learn what your target audience is saying about your brand and product, ultimately making it easier to adapt and improve.
Specialised brands are often affected by volatile performance due to seasons. To ensure your brand isn’t forgotten during slow periods, adapt your digital marketing strategies to get customers to engage with your brand, so it remains relevant. This creates a relationship between customers and brands that can thrive your business – but don’t forget to nurture this relationship all year round. Loyal customers who are let down later might not only leave your brand, but also generate bad online sentiment.
Use digital data to analyse the market and predict trends that attract your customers, so you can diversify the range of products and services. Data can also be used to learn about new audiences and develop strategies to approach them.
Whether it is the environment, modern slavery, gender equality, animal’s welfare or something else, online customers are very vocal about their passions and values. Unsurprisingly, they also demand brands and companies to be clear about their ethics – and, now more than ever, this can be critical to define a brand’s success or trigger a major crisis. Engaging and inspiring the community in initiatives that help to improve the world can get your brand extra points while, well, improving the world.
The use of plastic, for example, it’s one of this year’s big villains, and the attention towards the problem will increase in 2019. Although customers support the idea of eco-friendly products and recyclables, they often don’t know where to start. That’s a good chance to get ahead with projects and initiatives that can tackle issues customers care about.
Use data analytics to understand your target audience, the issues they care about and work on your ESG. Don’t wait for your customers to question your brand’s ethos: surprise them showing what your company already does to be environmentally & socially responsible and guarantee that golden star.
Don’t be scared of Amazon
More than 55% of customers already skip Google and go directly to Amazon when searching for an item. As the marketplace grows, other online retailers struggle to compete. To battle Amazon, retailers must invest in personalised, effective service and engaging community feel. Building a connection with customers represents a big challenge for Amazon, that still relies on emotionless (but effective) aspects such as price and convenience – so why not fighting with the weapons you have?
It’s also important to remember that Amazon’s business was created on the basis that customers want good prices and quick delivery, and that is still what makes the marketplace so powerful. Although little can be done about prices, since this requires a broader business strategy, there is a lot to be improved in terms of delivery. Not all retailers can offer next day delivery, but a free service is basic. Other perks such as sale preview and discount vouchers for next purchases can also retain customers to your website while increasing customer loyalty – a double win.
Finally, remember that Amazon’s most valuable asset is the data it collects from its customers. Any business can do the same, even if at a different scale. Examine carefully the information your website collects – it contains hidden answers that can provide the best ideas for your business.
As new technologies develop and change consumer behaviour, the online retail sector will continue to evolve and face new challenges – but also new opportunities. Being able to analyse the market, predict trends and identify risks gives investors the necessary information to make the best decisions. Although big brands and small retailers operate through different business models, both can benefit from digital data to adapt and improve operations & marketing strategies to propel the business forward.
For more information on how onefourzero’s digital data & market analysis can help you understand a brand’s equity and leverage trends in your product and campaign development, click here or contact firstname.lastname@example.org