How to Take Advantage of the E-Commerce Boom

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An unprecedented period of growth is upon the e-commerce world, with its market penetration increasing more in 3 months than it has in the past 10 years. The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing massive leaps away from physical retail toward online shopping (in fact, 5 years worth of acceleration in just a few months, according to IBM’s US Retail index), and the time has come for many brands to take on the oft-mentioned digital transformation.

Surely you’ve heard enough about why your brand needs digital transformation, so let’s say you’ve already invested in the tools of the digital trade – how do you maximize their value ahead of a mostly-online Black Friday and holiday shopping season?

The first step is basic, but more important than ever as face-to-face shopping loses popularity globally. How can you understand and properly engage with consumers you can’t see? The answer is in the data. Taking advantage of your website’s analytics and audience tracking is key for building your brand’s customer profile. Beyond this, it’s essential to track the behavior of customers on your site for the purpose of crafting the ideal purchasing journey. With consumer interaction compiled and analyzed, you can begin to craft conversational, engaging messaging that stands out.

Now that you know what your customer wants, you must craft your mobile messaging strategy to cut through the noise of their everyday lives. While any one tactic could make some of your messaging pop from time to time, the best approach for consistent results is the following:

1. Give consumers flexibility for how, when, and where they read your messaging.

2. From font size to headline, design your message to be memorable at even the quickest glance.

3. Make your message shareable, but not necessarily to social media. Allowing consumers to move your content between devices and social circles prevents them from relying on memory alone to engage with your brand.

4. Meet your customers where they prefer to be contacted; whether through SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, voice messaging or a classic email, pursuing an omnichannel customer experience expands your reach and customer engagement.

Despite the advantages of quantitative data, it’s important to remember that no one knows a customer’s preferences better than they do. Maintaining open feedback channels for customers is a great way to learn about their experiences with your brand directly from the source, providing a qualitative branch to your customer profile build – not to mention that an online shopping rush met without proper customer service channels is bound to be disastrous for both retailer and shopper. Invest in quality customer engagement practices, and both your customers and your support agents will thank you.

The process of transforming into a online-centric business can seem daunting for many brick and mortar retailers, but with the right approach, the outcome could bring about a well-oiled e-commerce machine in the marketplace. It requires a commitment to end-to-end engagement, from the first message delivered, to stocking the online shopping cart and completing the purchase, and finally to the delivery and post-purchase feedback.

There is little time to waste before the 2020 holiday season, but the path to successfully repositioning your business online is both doable and highly beneficial if you follow the steps outlined above.

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