You won’t need our team at Piranha Designs to tell you that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has profoundly changed our world – and it isn’t over yet. In many ways, the crisis has accelerated changes that were already in long-term play – just look, for example, at how the percentage of retail sales that occur online has surged in the UK since the country’s first lockdown.
Another extremely important point to underline, though, is that the world is highly unlikely to revert to normal once the worst of the COVID-19 situation has passed. We aren’t just saying that because the pandemic might not have a well-defined ‘end’, but also because too much has already changed.
This much could certainly be said of the ecommerce world. Many brands’ high-street locations – if they had one – have long since closed for business, while their online arms have experienced massive growth. Customers’ expectations, too, have heightened, particularly when it comes to the online shopping experience.
Expecting everything about customers’ relationships with online and offline retail to “go back to normal” after the pandemic is therefore a risky strategy, at best. What, then, are some of the things your e-tail brand should be doing to help ensure its survival throughout 2022 and beyond?
Continuing to develop and optimise a strong mobile presence
In recent years, mobile e-tail sales as a percentage of total retail ecommerce sales have been hovering above the 50% mark – and they continue to climb. In some less developed parts of the world, the percentage is thought to be nearly 100%.
Certainly, if there’s one thing the coronavirus crisis has not threatened to stop, it is the ever-greater refinement of mobile commerce. The experience of shopping on a smartphone or tablet continues to become quicker and easier, aided by such developments as even more intuitive mobile-optimised interfaces and streamlined checkouts.
Investing in your own brand’s mobile ecommerce presence, then, won’t just be something you do ‘for the pandemic’ – it will help bring real dividends in a ‘post-COVID-19’ world.
Even more comprehensive personalisation
It used to be the case that if you addressed your customer by their first name in your firm’s marketing emails, you were doing just fine on the personalisation front. Today, customers have much higher expectations, including for recommendations of relevant products and reminders to buy.
If, then, you are currently trying to ready your brand for an ecommerce landscape after COVID-19, you should be considering what tailored, dynamic content you ought to be delivering to those who shop with you.
Many platforms make available APIs enabling businesses to access information that triggers certain actions or inserts specific content – such as personalised offers – into messages. Such details as a given customer’s geolocation or purchase history could serve as prompts for a personalised offer.
The use of increasingly sophisticated chatbots
Most of us are probably more than familiar with customer-service ‘chatbots’ on e-tail sites by now. As we look to the ecommerce landscape of 2022, it’s important to take account of how much more refined the most effective chatbots are now becoming, powered by artificial intelligence (AI).
Granted, it’s still the case that even AI-driven bots can only answer routine queries. If the customer has a more unusual problem in need of solving, a live human agent will still need to step in.
However, the advanced chatbots of today are also impressive in their ability to direct shoppers to the products that are especially relevant to their needs, and even help with payment issues at checkout. Combining professional and responsive human customer service with the right chatbots can therefore help make this aspect of your online store’s offering a strong one.
The above are all good reasons why we should not expect the ecommerce world to “go back to normal” after the pandemic; those days are more than done. Instead, think forward, based on your target audience’s preferences and habits now.
Contact Piranha Designs today, and whether your interest is in ecommerce website design, graphic design or CRM systems in Gibraltar – to mention just some of our areas of knowhow – we will quickly advise and assist.