COVID-19 continues to have a massive impact on retailers around the world. Different strategies from retailers are determining which companies will succeed and which will fail.
Martin Francis, Global Digital General Manager for FitFlop joined Peter Irikovsky, Exponea’s CEO, at a recent webinar hosted by Internet Retailing. They discussed strategies that are working now along with their thoughts on the future.
You can access the whole webinar by clicking the image below. Keep reading to see our top four takeaways from the event.
1. An increase in customers presents both opportunities and risks
Both Peter and Martin noted that companies are seeing an increase in new visitors to ecommerce sites. For some companies, many of those new visitors make just a single purchase and don’t return to the site they bought from again.
Exponea internal research showed that customers who didn’t return to make a second purchase almost always had some problem with the customer experience: too many steps to checkout, logistics problems, payment challenges, etc.
Companies that can identify these problems and react to them quickly have a far greater chance of turning these first-time shoppers into loyal customers.
2. You need to reassess your customer personas ASAP
Customer behavior has changed significantly, even for the customers you had in the past. Exponea has noticed that many customers are shopping and very different times than before, so the timing of messages needs to be reworked. For clients using AI-powered techniques like optimal send time, the learning window had to be shortened to account for the sudden change in behavior.
Different segments of customers are also reacting differently. For some Exponea clients, they’ve seen an increase in spending for customers with a high average order value, but a decrease in spending for customers with a medium average order value. This information can significantly influence marketing spend and the segments targeted.
At FitFlop, they needed to quickly change their messaging in order to promote more comfort-oriented homewear, instead of the typical early summer apparel they’d promote at this time. Adjusting quickly to changing customer preferences helped them maintain strong engagement with their marketing campaigns.
3. Invest in tech that delivers ROI and improves the customer experience
Many companies are experiencing smaller budgets due to COVID-19, but are simultaneously faced with the need to innovate to survive. Technology can be a key driver for innovation in a company, but it can be overwhelming trying to decide what’s worth investing in.
Peter and Martin gave some suggestions: focus on tech that can deliver ROI while improving the customer experience.
Companies that are performing well now are those that can act quickly and adapt to changes. Any technology that enables fast reaction times while also creating value is a good bet.
What does it mean to improve the customer experience? Remove obstacles to comfortable, easy shopping and treat your customers like real people.
This might mean sending fewer emails to customers based on their preferences. Or setting up product recommendations to only recommend items available in a customer’s size. Technology that makes this possible is worth investing in.
4. Predictions can be wrong, but adapting quickly is always a safe strategy
Peter said that his experience with COVID-19 and making predictions about ecommerce’s new normal has been very humbling, since many things didn’t turn out as he expected.
One example: he expected ecommerce performance to decrease after stores started to reopen, but in countries where the lockdown has been lifted, ecommerce performance remains strong.
It’s still too early to know which predictions will come true and which won’t, and the situation is evolving on a nearly daily basis. Nevertheless, one thing has stood out as true the whole time: companies that can react quickly have a serious advantage.
Investing in the efficiency of teams, turning around campaigns in shorter amounts of time, and improving communication and planning abilities has paid off for companies like FitFlop.
Martin suggested one mantra that companies can live by now: innovate or die.
Assess your capabilities and stay competitive
Like Martin and Peter said on the webinar, it’s very difficult to know what the future holds. But it’s clear that the growth of digital is accelerating and it shows no signs of slowing down. To stay competitive, you have to innovate in a smart way.
It’s difficult to know where to start. That’s why Exponea created an assessment to help you understand your current capabilities. After you take it, you’ll get placed on our New Normal Ecommerce Quadrant, which will give you an idea of where you need to grow. You’ll also get next steps tailored to your current position. Give it a try and get some clarity on what to do next.
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