The pandemic has catapulted e-commerce forward, but how will you adapt? Here are three approaches you can put into action right away.
Remember how carefree life was before the COVID-19 pandemic? No, neither do I! Long before the virus struck, many industries and places around the world were in crisis management mode.
Trade disputes and climate chaos, to name a few, have all played a role in making international retail very risky in recent years.
When the pandemic resulted in calamities, lockdowns, empty streets and working from home it appeared as if the only aspect of life that remained unaffected was our online presence. As a result, shoppers shifted their purchases from traditional stores to e-commerce platforms.
According to statistics, the pandemic accelerated the shift from physical to digital shopping by about 5 years.
Many physical stores were struggling long before the pandemic. The COVID-19 shutdown appears to have hastened the decline.
Department stores, in particular, saw a significant drop. According to the same survey, department store and other “non-essential” retailers’ sales fell by 25% in the first quarter of 2020. In the second quarter, this figure increased to 75%.
Now that most of the world appears to be adjusting to some sort of post-COVID life, the idea that we will revert to the old normal appears improbable.
So, what is the future of e-commerce?
Here are three approaches to dealing with the key factors shaping the new normal.
- Rather than focusing on loyalty, plan for diversity:
During the COVID pandemic, product inaccessibility and lack of availability forced many clients to abandon their previous brand loyalty and look for alternative options online. As a result, a large portion of the shopping public is now familiar with the methods of e-commerce.
According to reports, a large proportion of e-commerce newcomers are pleased with what they see. According to the study, 75% of customers tried a new way of shopping during the pandemic, and roughly three-quarters intend to continue their new online shopping habits.
The scope of selection, the ease of hopping between stores, and the ability to obtain product reviews and additional information will have come as a surprise to both newcomers to e-commerce and long-established brick-and-mortar shoppers. There is still room for both, as e-commerce is helping many small businesses survive by giving them access to a global market.
Easier online shopping is also a wake-up call for e-commerce companies hoping to capitalize on the new wave of post-pandemic shoppers. Often, these clients do not go online to change their loyalty to a specific e-commerce store. They are going online because they are looking for the most appealing offer on the Internet.
An e-commerce business is, by definition, international, with prospective consumers from a wide range of cultures and languages. The most important thing an online retailer can do to make sure their site’s content gives visitors the most welcoming and appealing advertising messages is to make sure it’s in the right language.
E-commerce localization is more than just translating. It also changes the text to account for local cultural references, units of measurement and currency, date formats, idioms, and other things that make sense in that country.
E-commerce websites have a wide range of content. They need to translate more than just product text and descriptions. They also need to translate images, marketing content, and other parts of the site.
If you get this right, your website will entice these eager browsers to stay and continue their journey to the checkout.
- Be technologically savvy:
Prior to COVID-19, Internet usage was already shifting away from computers and toward smartphones. It has not slowed during the pandemic, and thanks to enhanced use by the previously described new wave of online shoppers, smartphones are becoming an increasingly common tool for shopping.
There is some evidence that in 2017, 34.5 percent of e-commerce sales were made on smartphones. This figure is expected to rise to 54% by the end of 2021.
There has been a lot of mobile use, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. This has made the smartphone an important part of most people’s daily lives, with shopping and many other things centered around their pocket-sized portal.
The increased importance of social media is another aspect of the smartphone revolution. Due to recent social distancing rules, more people are using social media platforms to talk to friends. Shopping is also becoming a part of the online social mix, with research and purchasing decisions frequently being made through a smartphone social media app.
Any e-commerce company that doesn’t make their content local so that it works well with smartphone users from all over the world risks following in the footsteps of brick-and-mortar stores that didn’t start selling online a decade ago, which lost money.
- Use Artificial Intelligence Technology to Personalize Content:
Cookies are commonly used to track a client’s browsing behavior and purchase history in order to customize their shopping experience, but now personalization can be taken to a whole new level.
Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have enabled hyper-personalized customer journeys. By monitoring a wide range of data and responding in real time, it is possible to predict each customer’s intent and present them with uniquely tailored content and offers.
In the midst of a surge in demand, every brand on the planet is scrambling for new customers.
After COVID, AI’s ability to test and optimize e-commerce content at scale, in real time, across multiple cultures and languages is especially exciting. Such a precision-targeted approach to catching a customer’s attention and automatically mitigating reasons they might dismiss the product-buying process before it happens offers internet retailers a significant competitive advantage.
The Online Future Has Arrived:
The aspirations of a younger generation of shoppers are fueling the rapid post-pandemic evolution of e-commerce. It doesn’t matter that a store has a website for this group of people. They won’t care just because the store has one.
For today’s shoppers, the “new normal” entails a smooth customer journey within a seamless digital ecosystem that allows them to research brands, find inspiration on social media, make a quick purchase, and then follow their favorite brands and the larger community online.
Any e-commerce company that wants to reach this growing customer base needs to make sure that its website is in the right language for each region.
After all of the ambiguity of 2020 and 21, one thing is certain: the e-commerce landscape has shifted, and new strategies are required to survive and thrive.