Despite the sweeping changes the pandemic has made to our economy, today’s e-commerce brands are well-positioned to capture — or recapture — shoppers just in time for the holiday shopping season. During the pandemic, retail giants such as Amazon.com and Walmart reported astounding growth in e-commerce sales as consumers used online shopping as their new way of getting products. In particular, product categories like food and grocery, home and garden, pet supplies, and games and leisure experienced tremendous growth. E-commerce brands must think long and hard about what they learned from the online activity that has taken place during the pandemic. These important learnings and best practices will help retailers devise a successful path forward, with holiday sales in tow.
Start By Analyzing Current E-Commerce Sales
For businesses operating during COVID-19, running analytics to identify salient trends is an important starting point. Key metrics to analyze include revenue, profit, average order value, average transaction value, cart abandonment rate and cart conversion rate. Recapturing the shopper by looking at your analytics doesn’t mean only focusing on what happened in the past; rather, spending time understanding how shoppers have reacted during COVID-19 can help influence future sales. For instance, an e-commerce bicycle business owner may experience high revenue numbers since many shoppers purchased bicycles during COVID-19. However, after looking at product categories, that business may realize it sold hardly any city bikes since not as many people were commuting. Through careful evaluation of these metrics, that business can determine how much inventory to keep in the future and whether to continue to market this type of bicycle — or if it's better off focusing on a better-performing product category.
Prioritize Website Optimization
There are a variety of ways to optimize a website so that it can run as smoothly as possible. Using the best plug-ins, ensuring optimal speed, featuring solid content, and creating a strong call to action are all effective ways to keep shoppers engaged and clicking throughout an online store. In addition, providing shoppers with flexible payment options online can be an important differentiator for shoppers and merchants alike. For example, buy now, pay later options can help shoppers break up their purchases into smaller, more manageable payments while helping merchants decrease cart abandonment rates. Interestingly, surveys have found 35 percent of shoppers are more likely to make a purchase if they're offered the ability to pay in interest-free installment payments.
Practice Retargeting Your Shoppers
With holiday shoppers up for grabs, now is a great time to make retargeting shoppers a permanent part of the digital marketing plan. Reaching out to potential customers after they've left your website can help direct distracted shoppers back to the site and work toward building customer loyalty and trust. Retargeting can be accomplished in a variety of ways, but email is a great place to start.
While the reverberations of COVID-19 will be felt for a long time, e-commerce brands have the opportunity to come out on top if they pivot successfully and build upon what they’ve learned over the past eight months. Data-driven metrics, website optimization, and behavioral retargeting can all play an essential role in helping e-commerce brands translate these efforts into holiday sales.
Brad Paterson is the CEO of Splitit, a payment solution that divides a purchase into smaller monthly installments. Splitit partners with retailers.
Related story: How to Cut Cart Abandonment in the Time of COVID