E-Commerce Success = Enriched Product Content and a Safeguarded Supply Chain
As COVID-19 rapidly spread across the globe, consumers flocked to online retailers. Many of these homebound shoppers purchased everyday items online for the first time. In fact, data shows that more than a third of shoppers made their first online grocery purchase this past March.
Although some retailers were ready for the influx of online shoppers, others struggled to keep up. The shift forced many to play catch up with digitally savvy competitors that had already been building online user experiences for years.
No one could have predicted the dramatic shift in shopping behavior 2020 would bring, but retailers that fail to adapt now will lose out on the current wave of digital shoppers. Developing a robust e-commerce process takes time. However, there are two areas you can focus on to boost your online shopping experience and catch up to the competition:
1. Upgrade online product content.
Poor online product content is one of the quickest ways to send consumers directly to your competitors. Without a detailed product description or quality photography, many consumers will jump ship. Consider that 20 percent of shopper purchase failures can potentially be attributed to missing or unclear product information.
Take a jar of peanut butter, for example. In a brick-and-mortar store, customers typically have a limited number of brands to choose from and will base their purchase on the jar’s physical design and packaging label. Conversely, online shoppers have an essentially endless aisle of different peanut butters at their disposal and the choices aren't limited to your store. It’s easy for shoppers to click over to a competitor’s site to find exactly what they want.
So, in our peanut butter example, you’d want to make sure your description has all of the following information:
- nutrition facts;
- quality information (i.e., organic, Fair Trade certification, kosher, etc.);
- shelf life;
- how to find the “Best by” date; and
- high-quality photos.
While the details listed may seem obvious, many retailers still don’t take the small step to list them on their website. On the other hand, some retailers take the product description even further by providing customer FAQs, suggestions for ways the item can be used, and other informative details. In the end, the more information you can provide, the more likely a customer will go from “Add to Cart” to “Confirm Purchase.”
2. Safeguard the supply chain.
Once customers are satisfied with the online buying experience, the next step is to ensure their product is delivered in a safe and timely manner. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen many reports of consumers unable to buy certain items or experiencing shipping delays due to overwhelming product demand.
To mitigate these issues, innovative retailers thought outside the box to safeguard their supply chain and keep it moving. For example, at 1WorldSync, we worked with a retailer that was unable to purchase from its usual flour manufacturer due to high consumer demand. Instead of waiting on its manufacturer partner, the company turned to food distributors to purchase flour directly and sold it in their own packaging to reboot the supply chain.
Providing a user-friendly online buying experience is only half the battle. Shipping hiccups can push customers to turn to your competitors just as easily as poor online product content. Moving forward, get creative and find multiple ways to keep your supply chain moving during the pandemic — and beyond.
Consumers have grown accustomed to the ease and convenience of online shopping in recent months. E-commerce will only continue to grow, long after the virus has been contained. Invest in the product content on your site and diversify your supply chain to level up with the competition now and start getting ahead for the future.
Harris Diamand is vice president, customer experience at 1WorldSync, the global leader in product information solutions.
Related story: The Importance of Good Content for E-Commerce