Consumer habits have changed massively over the pandemic. Whether throwing themselves into online shopping sprees or tentatively turning to e-commerce to get their hands on essentials they’d otherwise buy in stores, everyone was forced to change the way they shop. As a result, e-commerce success looks very different in a post-pandemic marketplace.
A June 2021 Ofcom report found that British consumers’ online spend increased by almost 50% on the previous year. It’s unsurprising that 9 of the top 10 e-commerce companies experienced double digit growth in 2020 as a result. But the pandemic’s great e-commerce boom hasn’t only impacted the big players. Smaller brands and businesses also had the opportunity to thrive. That is, if they took the right steps to adapt…
Fast forward, and you’ve weathered the storm of high demand, stock crises, shipping delays and more, steering your e-commerce business to success during restrictions. Now, you’re worried about getting stranded in the online traffic of the post-pandemic e-commerce landscape.
At a time when we are (hopefully) moving away from the worst of COVID 19’s impact on commerce, how can you ensure the e-commerce growth you attained over the pandemic is sustainable over the long term? Check out our tips.
Streamline and target your marketing tactics for post-pandemic e-commerce success.
Rather than focus all your efforts on directing a blanket strategy at your entire customer base, segment your audience and target accordingly. This generates content with a customised, personalised feel, encouraging more engagement. In turn, leads are generated from different demographics, fuelling a campaign whose start point is its end goal: the customer.
An example could be directing an email about a new line of dresses towards customers who you know have purchased dresses before, or a new plant-based product to one who has purchased vegan-friendly products. Open-rates then feed into the algorithm’s learning process.
You’ve heard it before but we’ll say it again: be where your customers are. In the current era, regardless of your target audience, that means online.
Partnerships with micro-influencers are an efficient way to boost your brand awareness to the right people in one swift marketing move. While high follower-count influencers grant access to a huge swathe of potential customers, they come with a hefty price tag for a minimal feature. Plus, a large fraction of their audience may not be your audience.
Influencers with a smaller presence and more niche brand, on the other hand, tend to offer more content at a negotiable price point. By choosing your micro-influencer wisely, you stand to achieve more effective exposure, as the audience is already partially won over to your brand’s values by its association with someone they admire.
Shouting to Be Heard (about the right things):
We can say with certainty that to survive the pandemic, your brand’s online presence and user experience were probably subject to significant improvements. Whether you’re an exclusively e-commerce operation or were forced to close physical stores, you were the part of the race for internet space that coincided with lockdown. This digital panic has since evolved into just another part of everyday operation.
We hate to break it to you, but that’s not the end of that. Simply being present isn’t going to cut it, especially if that presence leaves a sour taste. While social media opens up lines of communication between brands and consumers, it can also make it harder to gauge their needs, concerns, and frustrations. As a result, addressing them in a timely and appropriate manner is harder.
Many brands fall short in their monitoring of official profiles, including moderating comments. While this can be time-consuming, it has a huge impact on the impression your brand makes on potential consumers. Think about it from the consumer’s perspective. Would you consider buying from a brand if their Instagram comments were full of people calling them a scam and berating their poor customer service? Unlikely.
This puts into perspective the value of a vigilant and dedicated Social Media Manager.
Comments aside, consider the voice and values your brand promotes. Are they current and engaged with trends and pop culture? Will they resonate with your audience? Do you have a stand-out signature tone of voice?
Look to social media branding successes like Innocent Smoothies. They’re outspoken about their charity and environmental initiatives online, while maintaining their signature comedy tone and participating in trends.
When social media is fast becoming cemented into the consumer journey, you can’t afford for yours to let your post-pandemic e-commerce performance down. See our earlier post about the rise of C-com if you don’t believe us…
The Customer is Always Right:
So you’ve made it this far – you’ve wooed the right kind of consumer with your data-savvy skills and impressed them with your smooth social presence, what now?
Humour them, ask them about themselves. Relationships never work without communication, even in e-com 😉
Just like dating, you should ask for their opinion. On social media, this takes the form of interactive content. Asking followers open-ended questions through surveys, polls and giveaways is the perfect way to extract more data, at the same time as forging a personal connection with your brand. Currently, ‘this or that’ style Instagram stories are one of the most popular forms of harnessing social engagement, and are a favourite of fashion and lifestyle brands like ASOS.
In addition, you could integrate your interactive content plan with shopable links that direct users straight to the pictured products on your site. The efficiency of this route raises conversions due to the effortless nature of the user experience, but also makes the shopper feel in control.
The good news is, once your social media presence has gained traction, opportunities open up for campaigns that widen your reach further through their viral potential. One example is Ben & Jerry’s’ regular campaigns to crowdsource new flavours and product names from fans, as well as giveaways and more.
By giving the customer trust, credit, and a voice, you build lucrative long-term consumer relationships in the post-pandemic e-commerce marketplace. After all, doesn’t everyone just want to be made to feel special? 🥰
Keeping Up with Jeff:
While in-person shopping is now an option once more, so far, this hasn’t triggered a return to pre-pandemic retail stats. The people still want e-com, and they want it now.
Consumer expectations generated during 2020 and beyond demand infinite possibilities of products, shipped to any location, within constantly shrinking time frames. Some retailers have ‘delivered’ (pardon the pun), while others struggled to keep up. We’re nicknaming this ‘the Bezos effect.’
In this race to the bottom, rapid advances in technology, intended to streamline customer experience from first impression to purchase, have created as many challenges as they’ve solved. Once considered a rare incentive, free and super-fast delivery is now universally expected. The pressure on smaller businesses to keep up with the big names of e-com is immense.
While an Amazon Prime level of operation is hardly achievable for most, growth is still possible. Keep your finger on the pulse of new tech advancements filtering into the industry. As it stands, post-pandemic e-com resilience lies in realisation and response to the dynamic nature of new customer expectations. This is true for all brands, from household names to small independent businesses.
Phew, that was pretty hefty, right? Hopefully it didn’t all go over your head, but if anything in this article left you feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to contact DMT. We’d be happy to get in touch and tell you about our services in Paid Social, PPC, Email Marketing, Social Media Management, and more.