OCTOBER 22, 2021
The pandemic shook the retail industry, which experienced a 79% decline in sales in May 2021, compared to the same period before the pandemic in 2019. While the brick-and-mortar stores struggle to stay afloat amidst curfews and lockdowns, e-commerce has become the only avenue. As a result, several small and medium enterprises have gone entirely online, selling products through their own e-commerce sites, Instagram pages, Facebook Marketplaces etc.
However, e-commerce is a highly competitive market. With big players and multinational businesses already occupying the space, you will be competing with Goliaths, who have established brands, substantial marketing budgets and e-commerce logistics capabilities.
To win this fight and thrive online, you need these five tools in your armour.
Today, a lot of customers are choosing e-commerce for revenge shopping and impulse buying. If you take two weeks to deliver an order, the element of impulse—and instant gratification—is lost. To capitalise on the pleasure of online shopping, you need express delivery.
You need a partner who can enable same-day delivery, next day delivery and slot-based appointments to customers throughout the country. If your customer can order a dress tonight and wear it tomorrow, they will choose you over your competition. And think of you every time they need something.
Remember that retail shopping is a lot more about buying the product. It’s about the pleasure of exploring products, trying them on, and feeling great in them. While you might not be able to replicate all this online, you must do your best to make it as pleasurable as possible.
At the backend, it also helps automate several processes such as sending confirmation emails, placing the order in your order management system, booking pickup with the logistics partner, updating the inventory management system etc.
Customers today want e-commerce platforms to offer personalised experiences. In fact, if you can show them what they might be interested in, they will be happy to buy a lot more from you. Imagine delighting a customer by showing them that pashmina shawl they’ve long been eyeing!
To deliver this, you need data science and analytics capabilities that can dynamically offer personalisation for every customer. Many of the e-commerce platforms today, like Shopify or Magento, come with built-in features for this. But remember that personalisation is not just about their past behaviour on the website. You also need to include their shipping and delivery preferences to truly personalise their experience.
Sometimes, clothes don’t fit, shoe bite, jewellery isn’t as big as the customer thought. Customers want the freedom to return things that they don’t like. This is especially important when they’re trying new brands or new products. As an SME, offering no-questions-asked returns can boost your customer acquisition and retention significantly.