Even as many businesses are reopening, consumers are spooked by the persistent presence of the virus — and many of them are discovering the convenience of shopping from the comfort of their home. eCommerce is nothing new: Amazon is one of the world’s leading retailers, and most major brick-and-mortar chains now offer online shopping. Still, eCommerce represents just over 14 percent of global retail sales, with projected growth to 22 percent by the year 2023. Due to COVID-19, though, that growth may happen more quickly than expected. Here’s what that means for you.
While overall retail sales have fallen, stores that offer eCommerce have experienced a huge boost in online sales. Target, for example, had its digital sales grow by 275 percent. They had been offering buy-online-pickup-in-store and delivery options even before the pandemic, and now, more consumers than ever are taking advantage of these options. Even small businesses can follow Target’s example. By incorporating eCommerce into your site, you too can capture digital sales and appeal to the people who prefer to shop from home.
These days, classic eCommerce sites are more important than ever. In this model, retailers list products online and ship them out to customers. eCommerce sites can match their brick-and-mortar counterparts’ inventories, and some retailers offer “online-only exclusives” that entice customers. When deciding how you’ll handle your inventory, evaluate which products would be most appealing for online purchase. Research shows that clothing, shoes, entertainment, and electronics are the top-performing verticals.
Depending on what you sell, shipping your products might present a challenge. That’s why buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) is a great option. It gives your customers the convenience of shopping online, but still gets them into the store, where they can make additional purchases. BOPIS also minimizes the time they spend in the store, which helps enforce social distancing and makes your customers more comfortable.
An evolution of BOPIS, curbside pickup appeals to customers who are trying to isolate from others during the pandemic, as well as people who are always in a hurry. In this setup, you’d accept orders online, then have your staff assemble the purchases and run them out to customers at the curb. When done well, this model provides the ultimate convenience to your customers. That encourages them to keep shopping at your store.
If you haven’t yet implemented eCommerce for your business, it’s time to start. Whether you choose one model or all three, the key to driving sales online is to make the checkout process as easy as possible. Try using PayPal to accept payments — it’s the most popular digital wallet among U.S. consumers. And of course, you’ll need a robust eCommerce site that’s user-friendly and high-converting. For expert assistance with your eCommerce site development and marketing strategy, reach out to Dotlogics.