The future of shopping has arrived—much earlier than expected.
The fundamental shift to digital and mobile-first purchasing that the industry thought would come by 2030? It just happened before our eyes. Due to social distancing and stay-at-home measures, ecommerce penetration increased from 16% of all U.S. retail sales in February, to 27% by April, according to data from the Bank of America and the U.S. Department of Commerce. The way people shop advanced 10 years in just two months.
Some businesses were more prepared than others. Now, all businesses have the opportunity to update their ecommerce approach.
Here are four ways your brand can evolve to connect people with products online:
1. Reimagine loyalty
While ecommerce brands are known for pricing wars, customers are looking for more than just a good deal—they want total value. In a recent global survey conducted by Ipsos, two in three respondents said the way businesses respond to Covid-19 will impact their spending. And half said they’re willing to pay more for products with quality and safety assurance, according to Nielsen research.
The right customer approach can help you further deliver that value. Sixty-three percent of consumers surveyed say customer service is important when deciding where to shop online, according to a Facebook commissioned Kantar study. By transparently updating order details and shipping timelines, you can enhance their experience.
Problem-solving is another key opportunity. Using platforms that enable real-time messaging can help make transactions frictionless and more human. That goes for the difficult stuff too. Your willingness to issue refunds, reship products and engage 1:1 with customers can help add brand value.
Advancing social good, via nonprofit donations and partnerships, also helps. By showing customers how their purchases give back, you can build a sense of community and positivity.
2. Build for Boomers
Baby Boomers aren’t always thought of as active ecommerce users. But their mobile and online purchases have grown 85% year-over-year, according to research from Facebook IQ. Given the size and average income of this demo, they could represent your next big opportunity.
However, 78% of respondents in the same study told us they experienced challenges while holiday shopping on mobile, which means you’ll need to develop the right UX strategy to engage them.
Their top points of friction include: fonts that are too small, slow-loading sites or apps, hard-to-review product info, and too many screens or steps. UX personalization can help you deliver better shopping experiences for these customers.
It’s a good idea to consistently poll different groups that use your site or app too, so you can identify top purchase barriers and make adjustments as needed.
3. Embrace agility
In a recent survey from GlobalWebIndex, 80% of respondents said they’ve delayed a major purchase due to the outbreak.
You can’t afford to wait for demand to bounce back—you have to accelerate it. How? By seizing this opportunity to implement an agile org structure.
Agility brings your senior leadership team into alignment, allowing you to make marketing decisions in real-time. We’ve seen several positive traits of agile brands:
- They use learning agendas to isolate variables and identify drivers of success
- When tests succeed, they quickly funnel budget into areas of opportunity
- They use offseason experimentation to test and solidify peak-season strategies
- They hire outside specialists to explore areas beyond their expertise
This measured yet quick-moving approach increases risk tolerance and drives continual evolution.
4. Adapt to FOGO
That’s short for “fear of going out.” Only half of people surveyed across the globe want to come back to store right now, according to GlobalWebIndex data.
Ready for more acronyms? There’s been a 208% increase in BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) purchases compared to 2019, with over a third coming from first-time BOPIS shoppers, according to data from Adobe Analytics. Consumers are also more open to contactless shopping.
FOGO is especially relevant if you’re a business with a large brick-and-mortar presence. Many retailers have successfully implemented solutions that minimize in-person interaction, such as mobile payments, self-serve checkouts, contactless returns and enhanced browsing experiences.
And even if they don’t operate their own stores, brands known for their large retail presence are taking this as a cue to develop offerings that can be ordered entirely online.
Don’t settle for business as usual
The best brands are built during crises. Challenges that seem insurmountable today could actually be change opportunities that power your business for the next decade.
Ready to innovate your ecommerce approach? The holidays could be the perfect chance. Check out the latest holiday 2020 shopping resources and insights to get essential marketing guide, and access Facebook’s video series to ensure you’re ready for the busiest shopping season of the year.