By Andy Bojko at Hidepark.
With non-essential retailers in the UK forced to close once again through government restrictions, the pandemic continues to hit businesses hard in the new year.
Consumers in 2021 will be relying solely on online shopping to buy the majority of their items, making it imperative for businesses to shift their focus to ecommerce if they wish to keep up with changing buying behaviour. To help retailers navigate their ecommerce strategy in 2021 amongst the high competition they will be facing, Andy Bojko, Director at Hidepark Leather, has set out 3 marketing tactics for businesses to implement in the new year.
1. Understand the needs of customers in the pandemic
After spending months in lockdown and being unable to live life as normal, consumers have been forced to change not only the way that they shop, but also the items which they are purchasing. For example, sales of makeup from designer brands in department stores were down by more than 40% in 2020, with consumers choosing to wear less makeup whilst spending more time at home. Instead, consumers are choosing to spend more time on skincare, as John Lewis reports sales of skincare, body and hair products rising by 234%.
For businesses this highlights the importance of understanding what it is their customers are in need of this year. The events of 2020 have caused a shift in spending patterns. To keep up, businesses need to understand which products their audience are most interested in and use this to gain an advantage. Using Google Analytics, businesses can analyse which product or service pages have received the most interest from customers over the past few months and drive their audience to these areas.
Products which have previously performed well can be placed as readily available through paid social or presented as hero products on the website so that customers can easily access them. This will allow customers to navigate quickly through the site and avoid users losing interest whilst they search for products they are already interested in.
2. Help customers out with discounts in the new year
The timing of this lockdown means consumers have been spending in November and December, with many being short of money as we enter the new year. Businesses should consider implementing “buy now, pay later” offerings from the likes of PayPal, Klarna and Affirm to aid their customers in securing the items they wish to purchase. These services allow customers to either split the cost of their purchase into equal installments, interest free, or delay their whole bill for a set period of time, meaning customers can choose to pay once their next paycheck is due.
With ecommerce businesses having to compete with the likes of Amazon who provide competitive pricing and rapid delivery options to their customers, retailers must focus on targeted communications if they wish to stand out from the competition. By sending out special offers through bespoke email marketing campaigns or SMS marketing, online retailers will be able to instil loyalty in their customers and capture their attention with targeted offers against the competition.
3. Build a personal connection with customers
Consumers are aware of the strain which COVID-19 has placed on small businesses and in fact, according to new research, the pandemic has led to more customers supporting local independent businesses than ever before. This is especially prevalent in the younger generation who seek more interpersonal connections with brands in a sea of faceless corporate giants. These consumers are looking to help out local and small businesses, so it is important for brands to ensure their ecommerce site is on the radar of their target audience through social and email marketing efforts. By using avenues such as Google My Business, Facebook advertising or introducing local keywords to their website, businesses can ensure they are picking up interest from a local audience who may wish to support them during this lockdown.
With the vast competition which retailers are facing, websites should offer something unique and personal to customers if they are going to stand out from the crowd. The website itself must be simple and easy for customers to use, with strong calls to action which guide customers along their journey to checkout. For businesses to ensure customers are comfortable using their site to make a purchase, they should ensure their ecommerce site offers the latest secure financial technology to help reassure customers that their money will be safe once they have handed over their details.
Coupling effective customer communication with a seamless onsite experience will aid in instilling loyalty with the key audience and can help convert customers to make additional purchases as we move forward in 2021.