E-commerce marketing during COVID-19
While COVID-19 has stalled economic activity around the world, e-commerce seems to be an exception. Online sales continue to grow in the US with corporations accelerating their efforts to improve the online shopping experience. It will become even more important in the future to optimize business by placing e-commerce at the center of the strategy. To do this, let’s start with a better understanding of what is happening in the market.
The pandemic’s effects
The millions of Americans observing the COVID-19 quarantine-at-home restrictions significantly increased the demand for online shopping. For example, year-over-year growth in online revenue in the U.S. retail industry was 68% as of mid-April 2020. It is even higher than the year-on-year growth rate of 49% in early January, when demand was high during the holiday season.
Online retailers’ supply chains, order management, and inventory replenishment systems are facing tough times as the number of orders have increased by triple digits. While a difficult challenge to meet, it is a good sign that companies are focusing significant resources into improving the quality of the online customer shopping experience.
The role of e-commerce will persist through next year
Online shopping has become an important pillar supporting the economic countermeasures against COVID-19 in every country. Even after home quarantine is eventually lifted, the impact of millions of people adopting the habit of online shopping during this period will continue to be felt. Many customers will choose to continue shopping online until the vaccine is available. According to one survey conducted in April 2020, 24% of customers said they would not want to shop in a physical store or mall for the next six months or more.
Safe and convenient online shopping has never been more appealing to customers, and this trend is likely to continue for a long time. This is a great opportunity for e-commerce companies to offer new customer experiences on their websites and mobile apps.
A streamlined shopping experience is the key to success
To meet this challenge, it is important to create a customer experience that provides consumers with safety and comfort at the same time. While web content and promotions have become increasingly personalized in recent years, it is also important to personalize account management and security for each customer. There needs to be an applied approach that reduces friction during shopping while ensuring security, such as allowing VIP customers to shop with fewer authentication steps than new customers.
One of the newest approaches to making online shopping safer and smoother is a mechanism called “Count Control” that uses AI and machine learning. It better analyzes patterns of failed login attempts in real time to quickly prevent fraud and account hijacking. Plus, you can properly recognize repeat customers even if they log in from a different location or device. Responding with a personalized login response without immediately denying access can improve the customer experience and make them become more loyal customers.
Anticipate increased governmental involvement in e-commerce market
While the efforts of each company are fundamental to the expansion and growth of the e-commerce market, the role of governments is also important as the response to COVID-19 evolves. What can governments do to improve the environment and promote e-commerce? Here are three points to consider.
1. Improve access for businesses and households to the digital economy
Governments need to adjust or relax various regulations on online services and also help families create an internet environment in each home. Governments can support such endeavors by requiring Internet providers offer special service packages during a pandemic.
2. Ensuring e-commerce security
Operational safety standards are required to prevent companies responsible for e-commerce and delivery of goods from spreading the virus. For example, eliminating the need for a package recipient signature. It is also the government’s role to alert the public about online scams and ensure the security of the online environment. Governments can also work with banks and others to help more people choose secure, contactless payments.
3. Support of e-commerce through entirety of a pandemic
Governments can designate e-commerce and delivery service employees as frontline workers and ensure they have priority access to the health care they need. It is also important to preserve transportation infrastructure, including the national postal service, which is a primary mode of delivery.
Both businesses and governments are trying to keep up with the surge in e-commerce demand caused by the pandemic. It turns out customers are also more predisposed to shopping online than ever before, and now is the turning point in changing the future of e-commerce. Watch closely to see how COVID-19 will change the retail landscape and who will seize the big business opportunities caused by it.