With many retailers hit hard this year by the pandemic, businesses are turning to ecommerce to regain lost sales in 2021 as their customers move online to conduct their shopping.
The events of 2020 have caused a significant shift in buying habits, meaning online sales will become a lifeline for many businesses over the next year. To help ecommerce retailers set up for 2021, Andy Bojko, Director at Hidepark Leather, has listed 3 tips below on how businesses can successfully implement small changes to their website to succeed online over the next year.
1. Focus on understanding shifting consumer needs
The pandemic means consumers have been forced to change the way that they shop and the items which they purchase. There have been significant shifts in buying habits, with the priorities of consumers changing as they spend more time at home. The beauty industry has experienced significant buying pattern changes, where sales of makeup from designer brands in department stores declined by more than 40% in 2020. Instead, the industry saw consumers choosing to spend more time on skincare, with John Lewis reporting sales of skincare, body, and hair products up by 234%.
For businesses, this highlights the importance of understanding where your customers are choosing to spend their money in lockdown and which products they are no longer interested in. Google Analytics allows businesses to analyse which product or service pages have received the most interest from customers over the past few months, information which businesses should gather and use to drive audience engagement to these areas. Products that are found to have previously performed well can be placed as readily available through paid social or presented as hero products on the website so that customers can easily access them. This will allow customers to navigate quickly through the site and avoid your audience losing interest if they struggle to find what they are looking for.
2. Provide discounts to your customers in the new year
Many customers will be short of money as we enter the new year after spending more than usual in November and December during the Christmas period. By implementing “buy now, pay later” offerings from the likes of Klarna, PayPal and Affirm to your site, your business will be aiding customers to secure the items which they wish to purchase during this lockdown. These services operate by allowing customers to delay their whole bill for a set period of time or split the cost of their purchase into equal installments, meaning consumers can choose a payment method that best suits their financial situation.
To help in capturing the attention of consumers amongst the tough competition in 2021, your brand should focus on providing targeted discounts to each audience segment. By offering special offers through bespoke email marketing campaigns or SMS marketing, your retail business will be able to instill greater loyalty in your customer base and catch their attention against retail giants such as Amazon.
3. Prioritise building a personal connection with customers
With consumers concerned over the strain which COVID-19 has placed on small businesses, research shows the pandemic has led to more customers supporting local independent businesses than ever before. Customers, especially the younger generation, are seeking more interpersonal connections with brands and are actively searching for local and small businesses to help out.
As customers look for small businesses during this lockdown, your website must be offering something unique and personal to your audience if you wish to make it stand apart. The ecommerce site should be simple and easy for customers to use, with strong calls to action which guide customers along their journey. Coupling effective customer communication with a seamless onsite experience will aid in instilling loyalty with your audience and can help convert customers to make additional purchases as we move forward in 2021.