Undoubtedly, you changed your personal spending and shopping habits during 2020 and 2021. In line with populations across the world, you may have used online stores to purchase groceries digitally for the first time, buy a yoga mat or home decor to spruce up your space. E-commerce was already growing, but this was an extra push that forced businesses to go digital, wherever possible.
The Covid impact
While most aspects of life adjusted in light of Covid, these are just a few key changes seen in e-commerce:
- New audiences. The closure of shopfronts and the transition to digital formats drew new audiences to online shopping. For example, elderly individuals started shopping for groceries online, as the safer and preferred way to buy, with easy delivery methods.
- Increased online spending. One report that studied data from 47 countries outlines the online share of spending as rising from 10.3% in 2019 to 14.9% at the pandemic’s peak. Strict lockdowns no doubt contributed significantly to this.
- Omnichannel shopping. The option to shop online, go in-store, or arrange a click-and-collect delivery has up-ended traditional forms of shopping, with options that suit every need. In some countries, ordering online and then picking groceries up increased 250%.
What’s happening now?
The reign couldn’t last forever, could it? IMF’s research found that e-commerce’s rapid increase is slowly receding, falling more in line with pre-pandemic levels. Some industries are faring better than others – food delivery, healthcare, electronics and clothing are maintaining considerable online sales.
In Australia, September experienced a 28% YoY decline (according to AusPost findings). At the same time, 83% of online shoppers are now purchasing each month, an increase from 76% in 2021. It’s not over for e-commerce; instead, it’s time to reanalyse strategy and ensure you’re targeting the right customer in the right places.
How to remain competitive
- Utilise social media. It’s a tool that has a myriad of benefits, one of which is acting as a research function. 50% of Millennials say social media is an important part of finding products – a way to extensively analyse offerings before buying (whether that is online or in-store). Consider integrating shopping capabilities directly into your brand’s social media, with in-app purchases boosting sales for small and large businesses.
- Analyse messaging. Is your copy and messaging, whether ad-based or on your social feed and website, speaking to your audience? Ethical, sustainable and Australian-owned messaging is increasingly important for breaking through the noise and encouraging purchases (46%, 47% and 64% of those surveyed, respectively, believe this is important). Even more, 34% are now buying online from smaller businesses, opening the playing field.
- Personalisation and trust. With consumers changing their shopping patterns again, building trust and creating community is more important than ever. Allow them to gain (or maintain) confidence in your brand and what you have to offer. Direct connections encourage customer loyalty, so consider adding tools like EDMs, SMS marketing, and loyalty programs and using in-depth analytics to maximise targeted ad campaigns.Mobile-first strategies. Today’s consumers, according to neuroscience research, are more physiologically stressed by slow mobile loading times than watching horror films. Don’t turn potential customers away because of poor design. Create a mobile-first strategy that ensures speed, easy navigation and a seamless experience as mobile shopping continues to take hold. While apps are the preferred shopping method, no matter your business size, make sure your website is doing the hard work for you in generating leads and conversions – capture audiences as they scroll on public transport, in waiting rooms and watching TV (because we are all multitaskers now).
Get help with your digital marketing and ensure your e-commerce brand continues to grow, despite the fade of lockdowns. Chat to the RealClicks team today for more information.