Getting online: things to consider when setting up your e-commerce site

Over the past 20 years, the continuing trend has been for online sales to grow steadily year on year. 2020 not only continued this trend but, for obvious reasons, accelerated it significantly. It was predicted that online sales would increase by 11% in 2020. Thanks to COVID-19, shoppers had to do much of their purchasing online, and it is now thought that online shopping increased by 19% during 2020. We can’t know what 2021 will bring, but we can be reasonably sure that online sales will continue to grow and grow even as the pandemic abates.

This trend means that it is becoming even more critical for retailers to have a robust and effective e-commerce website to cater to the increasing number of online customers. Easy to say, but what do you need to think about when selecting the right e-commerce platform for your business?

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Omnichannel Retail: The Basics

Online sales have been growing steadily, year-on-year for the last twenty years. Everybody assumed that 2020 would be no different and that this trend would simply continue. Of course, none of us had any idea what 2020 would have in store, or how it would affect the wider economy and how individuals and organisations can interact with each other and do business. It was predicted that online sales would grow by 11% in 2020. Instead, thanks to COVID-19, shoppers have had little choice but to do much of their purchasing online, and it is now thought that online shopping will have increased by 19% during 2020. We can’t know what next year will bring, but we can be sure that online sales will continue to grow and grow.

What does this mean for retailers? The massive increase in the amount and proportion of online shopping means that becoming an omnichannel retailer is more important than ever before. But what does ‘omnichannel’ actually mean? For this blog, we thought it would be a good idea to take a step back and revisit some of the basics, cut through the industry jargon, and help you see why ‘omnichannel’ isn’t just another buzzword that will soon fade away.

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The future is bright for Omni-channel retailers

As we begin a new decade, retailers simply cannot afford to stand still – to survive they must deliver the experience that customers demand if they are going to have a successful future.

It goes without saying that 2019 was not a good year for all high street retailers. While challenging retail conditions and high business rates have played their part, there is no denying that shopping habits have changed and many retailers have simply not kept up.

One of the biggest areas of change for retail has been the usage of bricks and mortar stores. In the past, most retail stores measured success through sales made from in-person transactions. As a result, price became the key driver for retailers to attract customers and this has led to a growth in big sale events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. However, while these events may have delivered some short-term gains, for many it also signalled the start of the race to the bottom. With some retailers focusing on offering products as cheaply as possible, the long-term health of many businesses was severely jeopardised. Research has also shown that sale events have even been seen to devalue products and brands in the minds of consumers, the knock-on effect of this is that consumers become less likely to shop during non-discounted periods.

To break this cycle, retailers need to look at how they can improve the customer experience. Indeed, research clearly shows that if retailers are to survive over the next 10 years then they will need to focus on customer experience. With customers shifting their shopping habits and buying more and more products online, retailers need to ensure their customer experience matches these habits.

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How to be a savvy bricks and mortar retailer

How to be a savvy bricks and mortar retailer

Despite the convenience of online shopping, recent research shows that three quarters of people still prefer to shop in store. But bricks and mortar retailers must be savvy with omnichannel technology to survive in the digital age, we have 12 customer retention tactics to show you how it’s done.

Although the rapid growth of e-commerce has significantly reduced footfall to the high street, recent research from ONS showed that three-quarters of customers still prefer to make a purchase in a store. With 82% of these saying this is because they prefer to receive the product as soon as they’ve purchased it and because they value the input of staff, particularly when it comes to making major purchases. As well as this, 90% of UK shoppers stated they’ll always research a product online before going into a store to purchase it.

Retailers which embrace technology to track their customers across the whole customer experience, have a strong strategy in place for building customer loyalty, meaning satisfied customers, glowing word-of-mouth referrals and open doors for years to come. But with increased competition vying for each and every shopper’s attention, it is also vital that you implement customer retention tactics to ensure that you do more than simply sell stock.

Here are 12 customer retention tactics that will lead to increased sales and long-term success:

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