It is fair to say that 2020 has not been the year many businesses would have expected. The COVID pandemic has affected almost every industry, forcing dramatic strategy changes, working from home, closures and even unemployment. Amongst the chaos there has been one positive. The growth of ecommerce. For many brick and mortar stores, being able to offer their goods and services effectively online has been the difference between survival and closure.
Whilst ecommerce has continually grown year on year, the demand will be that much higher due COVID, this may mean your online store will continue to be a success into the new year, but will this continue once we are ahead of the virus?
As an ecommerce business it is important to be pro active and prepared for anything. If 2020 has taught us anything it is to ditch the complacency and prepare for all outcomes. For those looking for some guidance we would like to share some key areas to address to improve your ecommerce longevity during 2021.
Will your growth last?
The first thing to address is whether your growth is down to being at the right place at the right time or have you developed a strong online brand and presence that has led to your success?
During the pandemic, many large online retailers have had to reduce their marketing efforts due a rise in demand causing a slowing of their fulfilment process. This led to many smaller online sellers filling that gap. This will however come to an end. With larger retailers better managing demand their marketing spend will also increase, leaving those small sellers dead in their path.
If you can address where your online business currently sits in the marketplace and whether its success is built off these temporary market gaps or something stronger then you will be in a much stronger position when it comes to developing your ecommerce strategy moving forward into the new year.
One thing we are sure online retailers and consumers alike will have noticed is the delays in delivery times during the pandemic. With both online retailers experiencing periods of high demand and courier services at full capacity many organisations cannot deliver on time. Therefore, if you fall into the category of only relying on one courier service it may be worthwhile making arrangements with as many logistic partners as possible thus limiting the risk of any future delays during high demand.
A continual issue that we see when it comes to smaller online retailers is a lack of integration. Many online retailers operate with disparate accounting, CRM and ecommerce systems. Whilst this is not entirely an issue, the lack of integration between the systems means information must be transferred manually which not only takes time, putting a strain on resources but can slow down the fulfilment process.
Our product Cloud Data Exchange is something to consider of you are in this position, our simple connectors allow the automatic flow of data between your ecommerce sites and other business systems, speeding up your order processing and reducing strain on resources allow you to better manage during periods of high demand.
Attract new customers!
Generating more online sales and addon sales from existing customers has been another temporary source of ecommerce growth. With those less likely to bulk buy or buy online after the pandemic those sales are likely to return to normal levels. It seems obvious to say but to maintain your growth attracting consumers who have never been to your site before is key. If you can focus your marketing efforts on growing your customer base you will more likely succeed post COVID.
To grow your ecommerce store in the new year it is important to monitor the changes in technology and take advantage of those that can offer a new way to attract customers.
An example would be Smart Speakers. According to Modernretail, approximately 20% of smart speaker consumers use them for shopping-related activities. This figure however is expected to rise significantly to 52% within the next four years.
Therefore, if you are not optimising your site for voice search you may fall behind many of your competitors. The quicker your business can utilise changes in technology the greater your chances are of future growth.