E-commerce has become a norm for businesses in the United States, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Leading up to the pandemic, online shopping was already growing. From 2018 to 2019, e-commerce went up by $75 million in the States.
However, from 2019 to 2020, this form of shopping went up by a monumental $263 billion. Now, your business must adapt to stand out in the crowd.
1. Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly
As an essential first step, your website must be mobile-friendly. The number of smartphone users increases every year, with 3.8 billion worldwide users in 2021. This kind of usage means countless people will access your business’s site from their phones. If the site can’t accommodate mobile users, people may click away, and you’ll lose the sale.
Instead, you can work with platforms like WordPress or Squarespace to create an efficient site everyone can access. If you have an existing site, you can enlist web designers to optimize the layout and interface.
Remember that a clear, concise, and easy-to-navigate website is the goal. Simplicity is key.
2. Offer New Delivery and Pickup Services
With the pandemic keeping everyone at home and stores at limited capacity, retail has been the clear solution. However, to stand out, retailers have gone a step further by offering delivery and pickup services. Specifically, 85% of shoppers increased curbside pickup usage since the pandemic began.
Integrate these services into your business model to stay competitive. You can optimize your order fulfillment process, too. Once you receive an online order, you should process the payment and provide updates through email or text about when customers can pick up their items.
This kind of communication and contact provides better customer service on top of delivery and pickup.
3. Personalize the Experience
Connecting with consumers solidifies a bond and builds loyalty. The way to achieve that kind of relationship is through personalization. When a customer shops with your business, it’s critical to cater to their specific needs and wishes.
For instance, Netflix uses automation to suggest content based on viewing history. You can do the same with purchase data and browsing history. These data platforms, like Google Analytics, help you advertise to each consumer individually, whether it’s through personalized offers or emails.
In a survey, 40% of respondents named personalization as an integral factor for boosting sales. In the era of e-commerce, personalized shopping is the way to stand out.
4. Add a Standout Factor
Customers look for an “it” factor when shopping. They want to work with a brand that has everything they need, but also one that goes above and beyond. This standout factor could be as simple as receipt-free returns or free shipping.
Other times, you can dig deeper for creative solutions. You can stand out with innovative ways to package items for your e-commerce orders — through using sustainable materials or with eye-grabbing designs.
Another option is to add advanced tracking to orders. Services now let customers see where their orders are and at what time they can expect them to arrive. This feature is something that adds a creative factor to customer satisfaction.
5. Provide Excellent Customer Service
Last but not least, business boils down to customer service. You want to please the customer to facilitate a sale and keep them coming back. With e-commerce, you can do so in several ways.
First, you can integrate around-the-clock assistance. Whether it’s live support or a chatbot, customers should always have access to help. Then, you can consistently follow up for feedback and use what customers say as inspiration to improve your services.
In addition, you can post good customer reviews on your site to advertise that you are a trustworthy brand that puts consumers first. You’ll immediately stand out as a primary e-commerce business.
Make Yourself an E-Commerce Professional
With these tips, you’ll solidify yourself, and your business, as a top competitor for online shopping. Though the pandemic has changed the game forever, you now have the tools to make a difference.
Credit: Devin Partida is a retail writer and blogger. You can read more posts from Devin at ReHack.com, where she is the Editor-in-Chief.