The Covid-19 pandemic introduced a massive influx of online shopping. However, e-commerce sales began declining once brick-and-mortar stores opened their doors. Fortunately, by incorporating a few key marketing techniques, your online business can keep flourishing in the next phase of e-commerce.
In this article, we’ll review how online sales skyrocketed during the pandemic and discuss why the acceleration rate is slowing down. We’ll then outline three essential tips for keeping consumers interested in the post-pandemic future. Let’s get started!
How the Pandemic Changed Shopping Behavior
Consumers worldwide turned to online retailers for basic necessities to avoid leaving their houses during stay-at-home orders. Online shopping became something to do during quarantine. Furthermore, government stimulus checks for many people funded new consumer behaviors.
E-commerce sales increased at the fastest rate since 2002 in the second quarter of 2020. Quarterly e-commerce revenue in the United States alone skyrocketed to a historic $200 billion:
We can attribute some of this behavior to the new convenience of online shopping. Buying online is now easier than ever with curbside pickup and same-day delivery options:
Furthermore, many shoppers continue purchasing online to avoid long lines and social distancing restrictions. Moreover, more than 65% of consumers prefer touch-free payments over face-to-face interactions.
Why E-Commerce Is Expected to Slow Down
The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated e-commerce sales. However, many consumers were anxious to get out of the house once stay-at-home orders were lifted. We have started to experience slowing growth for online shopping because of this trend.
E-commerce sales peaked in 2020 due to the unexpected quarantine and government-mandated restrictions for brick-and-mortar stores. The share of e-commerce in the United States was 15.7% in the second quarter of 2020.
However, in Q2 2021, retail sales stood lower at 13.3 percent:
These changing trends may leave you feeling concerned about the post-pandemic future of your e-commerce business. Fortunately, there are ways to prepare for this transitional period.
How to Prepare for the Next Phase of E-Commerce (3 Key Tips to Keep Consumers Engaged)
E-commerce growth may be slowing. However, you can keep your customers engaged and web traffic up by following these three essential tips!
1. Increase Your Store Visibility
E-commerce competition is fierce. Still, you can compete effectively by making sure you maximize your online advertising to reach more customers.
For example, you can invest in programmatic advertising. It is a cost-effective form of AI marketing that uses software to buy ad space using a Real-Time Bidding (RTB) structure. Therefore, it can increase your store exposure without taking up your resources.
You can set up programmatic advertising using a platform such as SmartyAds:
Furthermore, you can invest in omnichannel marketing. This approach aligns all of your advertising channels to provide a seamless customer experience across the board. As such, it can increase consumer satisfaction and strengthen your brand image.
E-commerce SEO techniques can also increase your store visibility. For example, you can add custom meta descriptions to category pages and small blurbs with keywords at the bottom of product pages.
Moreover, you can set up structured data for rich Google results. Using structured data on each page can provide images, review snippets, and star ratings in search results:
Finally, you can increase your e-commerce store’s visibility by cross-posting products. Many audiences skip Google search and go directly to Amazon or their favorite marketplaces. In fact, statistics show that 63% of consumers search directly on Amazon when looking for a product.
Therefore, you might consider stocking your products on Amazon as well as your e-commerce store. By doing so, you can reach a wider customer base.
2. Create a Flawless Shopping Experience
You can prepare for the next phase of e-commerce by creating an online experience that customers will prefer to in-person shopping. You can do this by ensuring your website is robust with an effective design.
For example, you should consider optimizing your online store for mobile devices. Fast loading pages and responsive elements can improve the overall customer experience. Creating a mobile shopping app is an even better option.
Furthermore, interactive customer support such as a chatbot can answer consumer questions immediately and increase conversions:
Moreover, you might like to consider how your business will handle potential customer service problems. For instance, you can actively monitor logistics or employ a reputable logistics company to avoid shipping delays.
Offering free shipping could help lower customers’ expectations for faster shipping. Shipment tracking is also critical and can help ease buyer frustrations.
3. Focus on Building Customer Relationships
Certain attributes of the Covid-19 consumer are likely here to stay. You can gain even more insights by analyzing your audience to understand their shopping habits. Fortunately, you can easily collect this data using customer surveys and product reviews.
Additionally, don’t forget to respond to both good and bad customer reviews so that consumers know you are listening and maintaining open communication:
In addition, you can strengthen relationships with your customers through email marketing. Sending promotions, exclusive content, and newsletters directly to consumers can keep them informed about your business. However, take care not to spam your subscribers with too many emails or irrelevant content.
Finally, you might consider engaging with your customers through interactive social media posts. You can encourage your followers to engage with your brand by commenting, sharing, or tagging their friends in your posts:
You can also include social media follow links in your emails and on your website. By doing so, your customers can easily reach you across different social platforms.
E-commerce traffic is declining due to the changing nature of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, you can follow a few essential tips to keep your web traffic flowing and your customers engaged in a post-pandemic future. In particular, you should consider focusing on increasing your store’s visibility, creating a flawless shopping experience, and building customer relationships.
Do you have any questions about preparing for the next phase of e-commerce? Let us know in the comments section below!
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