COVID fundamentally changed online shopping for thousands of sellers and buyers. So what can ecommerce shops plan for in the coming decade?
While the way ecommerce and traditional merchants have done business has changed over the past decade, COVID has accelerated some of the more prominent digital trends.
In this guide, we’ll go over six of the latest trends regarding ecommerce activity and how you can boost your sales with new trends.
Multichannel marketplaces are the new norm
“The sooner we drop the ‘e’ out of ‘e-commerce’ and just call it commerce, the better.” - Bob Willett, former President of Best Buy International
Multichannel marketing is when a seller or business owner uses more than one channel to communicate and convert customers. And it works. Customers who shop across multiple channels are worth acquiring, as they have a 30% more lifetime value than those that just use one channel.
And it’s easy to see the opportunity to reach customers through multichannel marketing. 82% of shoppers use their smartphones when making a purchase in-store. No matter where your store is, it’s likely your customer is looking for information online.
If you’ve never used this approach to marketing before, it is often overwhelming when you realize what can be included under multichannel marketing. From using content to video and social media, there are several ways to reach your consumer. And each has its own integrations, objectives, templates, and best practices.
But whether you are starting out or experienced in multichannel marketing, one of the best tools to use is the multichannel shopping feed.
For example, let’s say you sell on Shopify. But what if your products also came up on Google searches? On Amazon? Shopzilla or Commission Junction? Multichannel data feeds allow you to showcase your product on multiple marketplaces quickly and efficiently. That means more revenue streams and potentially more financial stability.
How to win with multichannel marketplaces
To succeed in a multi-channel marketplace, you’ll want to optimize your product data feeds. Each platform has a specific layout and format for inputting key information like:
- Product IDS
- Product titles and descriptions
- Technical information
Each platform has its own metrics and optimization requirements. Of course, this can feel impossible to manage if you are creating and uploading spreadsheets manually. Shopping feed management tools can help.
To save time and resources, consider moving to a feed automation tool to manage and analyze your product information. Not only will you be able to easily access multiple marketplaces faster, but you’ll also have access to more advanced analytics.
Dominate customer service BOPIS (buying online pickup in-store) and other omnichannel strategies
“Marketing should not be completely automatic. You need some personal touches. Which is why I use voice notes to reach my clients. I would say 80% of our funnel is automated, the other 20% is human.” - James Taylor, Founder of PowLeads
You may have heard the term omnichannel used more in the context of marketing. But what it’s really about centering customer service at every point of your sales funnel, from marketing to designing the shopping cart.
For example, an omnichannel approach can allow customers to buy on your website but choose to pick up in-store.
And one of the most popular omnichannel strategies for ecommerce merchants with a physical store is offering a buying online pickup in-store (BOPIS) option. Also called click-and-collect or curbside pickup, the shopper buys the product from their desktop or mobile app. You fulfill the order. Then the shopper picks it up at a physical location.
Customers love it because it ensures you have the product and they can avoid shipping fees. At the same time, you can better gauge inventory, spend less on shipping, and you get more quality time with your customers.
While this is a major advantage for merchants with a local presence, it isn’t the only omnichannel method available for ecommerce businesses.
Founder of online funnel building software Powleads, James Taylor, believes that a major factor in a successful omnichannel setup is the combination of automation with human interaction. While options for 1:1 communication are often limited for online sellers, it is still possible to personalize emails, chatbots, landing pages, and other marketing channels based on your target market.
How to win with omnichannel strategies
If you’re planning on implementing BOPIS, you really just need a website with an order form, a local store, and a method for real-time inventory analysis.
But what other omnichannel techniques can you include in your efforts? Some ideas include:
- Social media contest for in-store or customized prices
- Loyalty programs connected to online and physical store purchases
- A QR code for a mobile-friendly menu (perfect for restaurants looking for contactless solutions)
- Having in-store iPads for updated product information
- Create personalized ads for certain locations even if you don’t have a physical store
- Customize and personalize your email newsletter for hyper-specific audiences
- Make it easy for customers to buy on all of your channels, whether it’s in-store, or on different online marketplaces
- Try using voice messages for your chatbots, so customers feel like there is another person at the other end of the line.
- Segment your current customer lists as accurately as possible so you can create customized marketing materials for each segment.
Sustainability as a local advantage
"There is accumulating evidence that consumers are impacted by the perceived sustainability of [a] brand, and further, that consumers are willing to pay a premium for products from a sustainable brand over a non-sustainable competitor brand." - Dr. Matt Johnson, professor at Hult International Business School and founder Pop Neuro
According to a study by Nostro, 43% of shoppers want brands to be more aggressive about highlighting sustainable products. But part of going green is going local. And that gives small businesses a distinct advantage over the big box stores, even if you’re selling online.
Even if you factor in BOPIS, local businesses often translate into more local purchases and fewer environmental impacts, such as less transport mileage and pollution.
As we progress into 2021 and beyond, shoppers are bound to be more conscious of sustainable and local offerings. And customers are already up for paying more for sustainable products.
So what is there to lose?
How to win with local and sustainable approaches
There are many ways that you can incorporate sustainable and local approaches into your business. You can source materials or labor from local sources, use sustainable or recycled materials, or consider donating proceeds to an eco-friendly organization.
Some other initiatives you can take in your business to highlight your sustainable approaches are:
- Using green or efficient energy options
- Going paperless
- Developing a local and sustainable supplier purchase list
- Partnering with other small businesses
- Set a baseline for physical store facilities
- Consider sustainable shipping and packaging facilities or BOPIS options
Digital payments are the future
“78% of consumers have changed the way they pay for things to reduce contact.” - PYMNTS
COVID has brought digital, contactless payments to the forefront of retail and ecommerce. Digital payments are taking over and usage is set to double by 2023. The United States is second only to China when it comes to the use of digital payments.
If the term “digital payments” sounds a bit abstract, don’t worry. You’ve probably either used or are using some form of digital payment app. Stripe, PayPal, Square, Google Pay, and Shopify are all popular examples of digital payment platforms.
Basically, a digital payment platform is any platform that allows customers to pay without using cash or a physical credit card. If you’ve been in the ecommerce game for a while, this is nothing new. But the payment options you may want to support are likely to expand as more payment applications and companies pop up.
Some additional popular providers and payment apps include:
- Amazon Pay
- Circle Pay
- Facebook Payments
How to win with digital payments
It’s easy to get started with using digital payments. The biggest challenge will be choosing the right vendor. We suggest canvassing your current customer base to see what platforms they are already familiar with. Then check your suggestions and see how the pricing of each platform would affect your revenue stream.
Most platforms have a small transaction fee, but others, like Shopify, offer tiered monthly payments that can lower your transaction fee. This may be a good option for businesses who are experts at using digital payments quite often.
So how can you get started making more with digital payments? Here’s our checklist:
- Choose a vendor
- Sign up and verify your account
- Put a link to your new payment method on your website
- If using programs like Square, get a physical processor as well for your store
- Let customers know about it!
And it’s that simple. Once your customers know, you will start receiving digital payments.
Mobile commerce is growing
“The first thing businesses need to do is optimize for mobile. That’s where the majority of shopping is taking place.” - Chavy Helfgott, D2C Brand Strategist and Copywriter
Mobile Commerce is when a shopper completes a purchase on their smartphone. More and more consumers aren't just researching items on their phone. They are also completing the purchase process, and buying items from a store even while they are at the physical location.
By 2021, 54% of ecommerce sales will be linked to mobile shopping.
The reason this sector is growing is simple: It’s convenient for customers. Now not only can customers receive and use coupons, loyalty points, and complete payments on their phone, now they can also shop on the go.
How to win with mobile commerce
A great way to start winning with mobile commerce is to integrate the mobile experience with your omnichannel marketing approach.
Some strategies you can use are:
- Ensuring your website is mobile-friendly
- Design your website or app so that it loads quickly and is intuitive
- Use geo-location to reward customers about local deals through SMS or other online notifications
- Use QR codes for menus, special deals, your online catalog and more
- Accept mobile payments
- Make it easy for mobile shoppers to leave feedback or contact support
Are you ready for the next decade of ecommerce?
Overall, small businesses and ecommerce stores can look forward to offering more mobile support and expanding your shop to other outlets using modern shopping data feed technology or multiple payment methods.
FeedFactory can help you expand to omnichannel, fast. Get started today for free.