Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, global eCommerce sales are projected to reach $4.13 billion in 2020.
Digital sales all around the world are absolutely booming, partly because the pandemic has made people hesitant to shop in person, but also because the vast majority of consumers are finally comfortable with making purchases online for almost everything they need.
However, bigger audiences also mean stiffer competition, so eCommerce stores will need to stay ahead of the curve to be successful.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the most important aspects of eCommerce growth in 2021 and beyond.
Build an App
If you thought apps were a thing of the past, you were wrong. 82% of U.S. online shoppers have used an app to make a purchase, and that number is not getting lower any time soon.
For one thing, providing a better user experience will lead to sales. If people don’t get bogged down with messy layouts and complicated checkouts, they are much more likely to buy, and an app is a perfect tool for making that happen.
Apps can also provide you with a ton of insights about user behaviour, helping you tweak and adjust its layout and features to maximize conversions and increase customer retention.
But probably the most valuable aspect of having an app is the ability to continually interact with your audience. When someone downloads an app, they are making a pretty big commitment to your brand, as it takes effort and space on their phone to make that happen. It also means that they trust you enough to feel like your app is safe and that it will enhance their shopping experience.
Being able to send notifications from the app directly into the phone of your shoppers is an invaluable resource that will enable you to share news, send personalized offers, and keep your store on the mind of your audience.
One of the biggest fears that eCommerce stores have about developing apps is the time and cost involved.
But figuring out how to make an app doesn’t have to be a complicated process, especially if you follow a proven process and use the services of a company that can offer creative solutions that save you money.
The bottom line is that eCommerce stores that want to succeed in 2021 shouldn’t look at apps as something that would be nice to have but should consider it a vital part of their strategy for catering to today’s mobile audiences.
Develop a Customer Loyalty Program
In the previous section, we talked about the importance of having an app because it can help build trust and loyalty with your customers. But if you want to really establish a loyal fanbase, you must also have a way to reward your best customers for choosing your brand over the competition.
And that’s why having a customer loyalty program is so important.
It’s one of the most effective tools for building lasting relationships with your audience, making more sales, and attracting new customers from the competition because of your reputation.
Some of the things you could offer your customers include various discounts, exclusive offers based on their past purchases, coupons, or even free merchandise. Whatever it is, it must be perceived as valuable in the eyes of the customer and make them feel like shopping with you is worth it.
In return, you can enjoy much higher customer retention because people will get used to buying from you and not the competition. Over time, you might even be able to move some of your customers up the purchase ladder and get them to buy bigger quantities and more expensive products.
If your loyalty program develops a reputation, you will also have an easier time attracting new customers. People are always looking for better deals and want to feel valued, so if your loyalty program can excel in your marketplace, your marketing campaigns will become much more effective just because of it.
You can also use your loyalty programs as a central part of your influencer marketing campaigns. If you can get influencers to talk about the amazing perks your loyalty program offers, people will be much more likely to be interested.
In the end, even though a loyalty program is nothing new and even though it can cost you a bit more upfront, the long term benefits and the increased customer lifetime value make it hugely beneficial for your business in the long run.
Ensure Seamless Support
It’s hard to overstate the importance that customer support plays on eCommerce success. Some are even calling it the single most important marketing tool for store owners.
And it’s easy to see why it plays such a critical role. Your relationship with your audience will largely depend on the interactions that you have with them.
Sure, a significant percentage of customers will buy from your store without ever reaching out. Some of them might even be your best customers, shopping regularly without needing help.
However, many of your prospects will not be ready to buy immediately. They will have questions about your selection, shipping policy, refunds, or even technical issues with the website.
When that happens, you need to make sure that you are available to offer immediate help.
Today, only offering email support is no longer an option. If people have to fill out a form and wait for days to get a response, they will go to the competitors without thinking twice.
To meet their expectations, you must provide a multi-channel experience that makes it easy to reach you using their preferred method. If they want to chat, have a live chat and a chatbot to answer basic questions. You should make sure that your social media DMs are also monitored for requests, as many people will go there when they have urgent issues.
If you want to excel in your customer support, make sure to run regular surveys, asking people about your services and requesting suggestions on what you could improve.
Finally, start working on a knowledge base that you can use as a go-to resource for both support teams and customers. By thoroughly answering some of the more common questions, you can use those resources to free up your support team’s time for more unusual or urgent problems.
Even though the eCommerce industry is booming, building a loyal following is also becoming more difficult. Therefore, companies that want to excel must ensure that they strive to provide a better experience than their competitors.
By engaging your customers through an app, increasing customer loyalty with the help of rewards programs, and providing excellent support, you will be well on your way to becoming a leading brand in your field.