Preparing E-Commerce for the Post-COVID Bounce Back: 5 Things You Need To Know

E-Commerce


COVID-19 has had a huge effect on the global economy and continues to affect businesses around the world. Things nowadays are very different to what they used to be, and in order to stay afloat, businesses need to adapt to the new realities. Especially so, e-commerce businesses. If they want to bounce back in the post-COVID world that we are hopefully currently shifting towards, they need to change their strategies in accordance to some new rules. 
 
Here are the top 5 main things to know! 

Make Sure Your E-Commerce Business Is On Top of Its Contactless Pay Game 


It has already been mentioned in the article that coronavirus has had an immense effect on a lot of things starting from some very little specific area of our lives and ending with our attitude and perception of various concepts. Some of the things that used to be uncharacteristic in the past and were seen as weird are now a universally accepted norm. For instance, face masks. Just a couple of months ago you would probably give a weird look to someone showing up to an event wearing a face covering. Today, it is the complete opposite - chances are you would stay away from someone who does not. 

However, not all of the concepts of the post-COVID world are entirely new and unheard of before. Some of the changes prompted by the international lockdowns and the pandemic, in general, had already been in action before the virus hit. The coronavirus and the measures we as a global community had to take only further sped up the development of such processes. 

One such concept is our perception of cash. Even before the COVID-19 people had been trying to go cash-free and use contactless card payment as much as possible. It is a convenient way of paying for your purchases as it is much quicker and overall more efficient. Besides, it is for a fact that cash is, perhaps, one of the dirtiest things known to humankind. Both figuratively (oh, the irony of laundered money) and literally. In fact, according to research, a single paper note can potentially carry more bacteria than a household toilet, while a couple of banknotes can be as severely contaminated with germs of all kinds as a public lavatory. Viruses are no exception. Hence, it is only natural that with the spread of a deadly virus and the health advisors around the world recommending to minimize any contact with the outer world, people have promptly shifted away from using paper money and gave their preference to alternative digitalized payment methods.

Even though it is already a normal practice for e-commerce businesses to accept digital payments (after all, on a number of occasions inline stores and marketplaces ask their customers to complete purchases online as opposed to paying upon delivery), it is still something to take into consideration if you want to stay ahead of your game. As a result of the coronavirus, consumers are becoming progressively more tech-savvy and therefore more demanding when it comes to the technology offered by the e-commerce businesses they shop with. In order to be your customers’ first choice, you need to make sure that contactless payment is available when purchasing at your business, and you have plenty of payment methods so that customers could choose the one they feel most comfortable using.
 

Work On Developing Solid Incentives That Would Encourage Your Customers To Make Purchases With Your E-Commerce Business


A large number of e-commerce businesses are currently faced with an acute finance-related dilemma. It is the case for all businesses regardless of their size but is particularly relevant to smaller businesses that do not have the advantage of the economy of scale. This means they react more intensively to the rise in prices along the supply chain and are forced to up the retail prices of the products they sell. 

To an extent, this is a natural move that needs to be made in the realities of a worldwide economic crisis. After all, as a business, you predominantly operate to generate profit and would rather not retain the prices lower than your competitors if that means running the business at the expense of your revenue. Therefore, you should not hesitate to increase your prices a fair amount. As long as those increases are justifiable and do not come across as a ripoff to your customers, they will be accepted with understanding. 

At the same time, however, there is a clash of interests. Even though customers understand the necessity of the businesses bumping up prices on certain products, they are not really willing to spend more. According to the statistics, millions of people have lost their jobs since the beginning of the COVID outbreak and even more of them have suffered from a decrease in income. In the current situation, customers commonly have a smaller disposable income, which means if your e-commerce business operates in a luxury goods and services sector, you might need to work extra hard to bounce back in the post-COVID environment. Even if you do not specialize in luxury products, you may still want to work on ensuring you motivate your customers to buy the more expensive goods. 

One of the best ways to do so would be coming up with alternative methods of promotion and giving out incentives to purchase luxury items. It is essential for you to re-evaluate your marketing strategy and focus on boosting customer experience. After long months of quarantine, a lot of people are starved for some good emotions, and you need to remind them that your product is capable of bringing those. 

Besides, you may also focus on strengthening your corporate social responsibility policy and putting emphasis on the good your e-commerce business does for the world. COVID has shown us as a population that it is incredibly important to have each other’s back and made us realize how much we ourselves impact our own lives. It is a noticeable trend in e-commerce for customers to give their preference to the businesses that give back to society. For instance, people are more likely to shop for masks at the places that invest the revenue from those into fighting the virus. Even though on a smaller scale it is not profitable for the business doing that, the larger picture shows that it encourages customers to shop for other, more expensive items on the retailer’s website.

Stay In Touch With Your Target Audience 

One of the most important things in e-commerce is staying in touch with your customers. However, in the world of endless streams of information and media content, it might be more difficult than it seems. As an e-commerce enterprise, you have to be creative with your communication methods and make sure you are always in your customers’ and target audience’s heads. 

Remain Relevant

One of the best ways to promote your business and bounce back in the post-COVID realities is to make sure you fit in well in the modern world. In order to do that, you need to be responsive to the external stimuli and make your reactions visible. 

You need to provide all the information your customers want and need as it will show them the benefits of buying your goods. 

Retargeting Is A Powerful Tool 

It was mentioned previously that people are less motivated to make purchases as they are not particularly confident in their purchasing abilities. However, it does not mean that it is going to stay that way forever and you should lose a loyal customer because of that. After all, it is a proven fact that retaining a customer is 5 times less expensive than obtaining a new one. Therefore, if you want to succeed in the post-COVID bounce back, you need to make sure you have your loyal customers stay by your side.

In order to do that, keep reminding them about your business by retargeting them from time to time. This is especially relevant if some of the items they were seeking were out of stock but got back on the site! Just make sure you sweeten the retargeting process by making it personalized. 

Be In Control of Your Stock

It has already been said that one of the things that went through the most disruptions because of the coronavirus is the stock control of e-commerce businesses. A lot of supply chains were wrecked because of travel restrictions and closed borders around the world. This is particularly relevant for businesses that work with China. However, this has also taught e-commerce businesses a valuable lesson: in order to bounce back, you need to be in control of your stock. 

You need to promptly react to the changes in the behavioral patterns of your customers and adapt your stock management strategy accordingly. It is best you continuously analyze the demand for certain products and track all the fluctuations that could affect your business. In fact, it is essential you keep a close eye on the trends and approach the problem carefully. Unfortunately, in the given situation it is difficult to apply the traditional methods of predicting future demand patterns for goods and services as e-commerce is even more unpredictable and rapid than ever before. However, you need to be a true expert and understand the needs and wants of your customers.

At the same time, due to major disruptions in supply chains all over the world (especially in the areas and industries where demand massively outstrips supply), it is inevitable that some products will be out of stock no matter how hard you try to fix the issues. 

Provide Valuable Alternatives To Rare Items That Are Often Out Of Stock 


The aforementioned is the exact reason it is important you keep tabs on all the products that are not likely to successfully make it to the customers and retain the customers by offering them alternatives. If the product your customers are after out of stock everywhere, they will likely for the second-best option. And this is where you can outrun your competitors.
    
Make sure your website analyzes your customer’s request and in the case of it being unavailable the site offers something equally as good. In fact, you could even suggest your potential customers purchase an item slightly pricier than the one they were originally looking for (as long as you are being sensible about it) and get higher revenue. 

In addition to that, you should also make sure your website is suited for the situation and has all the appropriate filters. For instance, people are more likely to come to purchase things at your e-commerce enterprise if the process is straightforward, easy, and not time-consuming. Ensure you have ‘in-stock’ filters in place! 

Adapt Your Website To The New Post-COVID Realities 

This has already been brushed on, but this article cannot stress enough how important effective SEO and website optimization are for all the e-commerce businesses trying to bounce back in the post-COVID realities. 

Customers have become much more exigent when it comes to the quality of their user experience and the extent to which the website they use for shopping is user-friendly. More and more e-commerce businesses have spent their quarantine time upping their SEO game, so you need to make sure you benchmark and play up to the industry’s standards. 

Effective Search Engine Optimization Is Key

SEO is the backbone of any e-commerce business. If your website does not rank high in Google search results, it is pretty much invisible to your customers. Think about it yourself, how often do you scroll past the first couple of results when looking for something? 

In order to get ranked, you need to make sure your website’s pages are relevant to the searches your target audience makes online. To do that, you need to maximize the effectiveness of your keywords, how things are spelled, and whether you provide any structure within the site. For instance, if you want to find the best dating website for gamers, you will type in the aforementioned keywords in the search bar. The same goes for the products you sell. Invest in a good and well-thought-through search engine optimization to do well. 

Another pivotal thing to consider is the relevancy of certain things to your customers. As it was already discussed earlier in the article, you need to obverse your customers and adapt your website appropriately. If you want to boost your conversion rates, it is important you understand the context of your customers’ requests and address them correctly.

For instance, back in March, a search for ‘gloves’ mostly meant customers seeking a trendy accessory. However, today, given the circumstances, it is most likely to be people looking to buy medical gloves to protect themselves from the virus.
 

Observe And Analyze Your Customer’s Consumer Behaviour In Order To Efficiently Tweak Your On-page Optimizations


At last but not at least, you should also frequently conduct the audit of your website and how effective you use it to make the revenue for your e-commerce business. With so many changes prompted by the COVID, people nowadays have different values and pay closer attention to the things they would not find that important in the past. 

This calls for a restructuring of the platform when needed and possible altercations of the purchasing journey your customers take before they click the ‘pay’ button.
 
The Bottom Line

To sum up, COVID has changed a lot of things and has done so very rapidly. This led to a lot of disruptions in both regular lives of regular people and businesses. However, humans are resilient, which means there is a chance for the post-COVID bounce back. If you manage to successfully adapt to the new realities, they promise to be rather good for e-commerce. After long months of quarantine, people have become more interested in online shopping, and it is a great opportunity to exploit for all the businesses in this sector.

Bio:

Sandra Manson is a passionate journalist who has been contributing to major media publications. She enjoys writing about human psychology and lifestyle. Sandra also runs her blog https://singlehearts.org where she covers topics of great interest in modern society.