Following on from our previous article outlining predictions and trends for 2018, the world has changed beyond anything we could have envisaged. 2020 brought in the biggest disruption that our planet has ever seen. The unprecedented pandemic that has swept through the world has changed the rules of the game for every industry. But, every cloud has a silver lining and in this article we will explore what the “new normal” means for e-commerce websites and the industry as a whole.
Impact on e-commerce websites and other online industries
Some industries have benefited hugely from the pandemic. Companies like Zoom, saw their share price grow by 400% during the global pandemic, as everyone moved to their virtual online platform to connect. Similarly, e-commerce websites have also witnessed unprecedented growth as customers preferred to change their shopping habits by going online and avoid the supermarkets altogether.
However, what will the future look like for e-commerce websites, as the world moves into the new normal?
Even though there is hope that the COVID 19 vaccine will eventually put an end to the pandemic, people’s shopping habits may have changed forever. In the new normal, customers will continue to avoid crowds, maintain social distancing and continue to shop in the safety and convenience of their homes.
Let’s take a quick look at what this means for e-commerce, as an industry.
Consumers are now motivated to carry on with their online shopping experience, as many countries around the world continue to remain in lockdown.
While people are working or studying from home, it is far more convenient for them to go online and complete their shopping. But, we mustn’t forget that an important consumer behaviour is ‘touch and feel’. In a digital world, shoppers cannot do this and have to be satisfied with images and video to experience a product.
Rich video, 360° views and augmented visual reality can make all the difference. Brands that are experiencing market share growth and customer acquisition in the e-commerce website space have already invested heavily in creating lifelike representations of their products on their product detail pages (PDPs).
Modernising these pages with visual and descriptive details of the products can create higher customer engagement and boost the rate of conversions.
Agile marketing through consumer channels
One of the big things that have changed during the pandemic and the lockdown is consumer preferences.
To understand this, we must recognise that the pandemic has created two distinct stages of living for all of us. During the height of the pandemic, people were in the quarantined living stage. During this stage, survival was the topmost priority. Consumers focused on buying commodities like food products, daily groceries, household items and sanitisers.
However, as we enter the new normal, we are shifting out of this stage and moving into the second stage. This is called restricted living. Here, the preferences have moved to buying exercise equipment, comfortable home clothing and even educational classes for the children to continue pursuing their hobbies.
At the same time, economic uncertainty has created seismic shifts in demand, supply and pricing. E-commerce websites and the businesses that operate them, therefore, need to be agile in their marketing, especially in the direct to consumer channels. Reacting quickly to changing consumer preferences and having a flexible business strategy will ensure timely responses to these changes and better customer acquisition.
Loyalty and trust
In the new normal, loyalty and trust is the new currency of businesses.
Companies need to move to user-generated content, including videos and images on their marketing channels to connect better with their audiences. These connections need to be honest and direct.
Businesses need to reward loyal customers and acquire new ones by building trust in the brand. Market leaders like Amazon have already started allowing consumers to post images in the product review section to build greater transparency. It’s also important to recognise that businesses need to be more accountable to their customers, now more than ever.
Virtual teams will dominate e-commerce marketing
The pandemic has already changed the way businesses work. Digital marketing teams have already moved into the virtual space, and their creative and content development people are no longer co-located.
Eventually, businesses will return to their offices, but having experienced efficiency, better workflows and teams that collaborate globally, it is unlikely that most businesses will return to the old way of working. E-commerce website owners must realise this now and invest in better cloud-based technologies and create digital asset management systems for their marketing teams.
Social media updates and other regular, repetitive tasks can also be executed with the help of online tools that can do this automatically. In the new normal, we’re likely to see the transformation of marketing teams forever through these new technologies. It is true that many of these technologies already existed before the outbreak of COVID 19. However, the pandemic has accelerated the pace of adoption across the industry.
Changing supply chains
The pandemic has witnessed the closure of many retail stores, restaurants and other local businesses.
So, the existing supply chains have been disrupted forever. This has resulted in greater opportunities for e-commerce website businesses. Direct to consumer channels have grown exponentially. Companies that specialise in local distribution have also seen their businesses grow rapidly.
Smart e-commerce companies are now preparing for the new normal by redesigning their supply chains. However, this also means creating a lean distribution system, with shorter lead times to fulfil orders quickly. It also means creating flexibility in the way payments are handled and investing in packaging systems that are hygienic and eco-friendly.
Get in touch with us for your e-commerce website and digital marketing needs
We are a specialist e-commerce agency in Birmingham providing solutions for Magento, WooCommerce and digital marketing. We are well-known for creating innovative, integrated marketing solutions for businesses and we focus on creating results-oriented web solutions that consistently generate business for our clients.
Creating a robust digital marketing strategy is the need of the hour for any e-commerce websites or business, as the global economy moves into the new normal. Solutions that integrate SEO, content marketing, social media, PPC and e-commerce can help your business connect better with customers.
Call our team of specialists on 0121 371 0435 or connect with us via email, and we will call you back.
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons, PxHere, Mohamed Hassan