What the Pandemic Has Taught Us About eCommerce

Aug 2022 Sydney Clifford
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The COVID19 pandemic forced many small businesses to reassess decades-old traditional business models or risk closing their doors. According to the 2020 Annual Retail Trade Survey, e-commerce sales increased by 43% ($244.2B). Basically, when 2020 happened everyone wanted an eCommerce site. It was a hectic time, but we learned a lot of things along the way. 

When deciding to take the plunge and add eCommerce to their websites, the number one question clients asked was “How can I get the biggest return on my investment?” 

The short answer here is to focus on the sales funnel and what customers are doing on your website. For many clients, this includes UX research. Informed UX research tells our team exactly how to decrease your bounce rate while increasing conversions and site traffic. ​​Data-driven decisions are at the core of our web design strategy.

Regardless of the type of business, a website is oftentimes a critical component of a company's success. A website is the “backbone” of a businesses 24/7/365 phygital (Physical/Digital) presence and your marketing strategy is what is going to drive users there. Realistically, we can’t expect the site to do all of the heavy lifting. That is why it is so important to optimize the media mix to be sure that you are pulling the right triggers to draw people to the website. Your website is just as much your product as your physical, purchasable products are. The foundation of the website is the biggest thing that we can make sure is optimized, but also make sure we are also optimizing the tactics that draw in the user traffic.

Cultivate customers to make them want to come back. 

Your website and retargeting efforts need to include strong retention tactics. Custom emails can target a customer based on products that they have previously purchased from your online store. For example - Is it a product with a 30 day shelf life? Alert your customer that it is time for a refill. You can also use the customer data that you already have to offer complimentary product suggestions - If they purchased a swimsuit, why not now market them with a coverup? The bottom line is that it is significantly cheaper to retain a customer than it is to get a new one. When you start to calculate a customer's lifetime value, you will see that it gets higher and higher with the number of purchases they have made on your website.

How to get started

Before you can set up an eCommerce website, you have to decide on a CMS solution. Choosing the best solution for your business depends on the scope and budget of the project. At Lapero, we are able to support multiple eCommerce platforms, including (But not limited to) Sitefinity eCommerce, Shopify, and WooCommerce.  

The obvious first step to setting up an eCommerce website is gathering quality product information. Your customers need to know what you are selling - They are looking for SKUs, specs, and images. The less obvious step to eCommerce is defining workflow. What happens when an order comes in? Who on your team is directly responsible for fulfillment? Do you have a shipping strategy in place? Your business doesn’t have to be the size of Amazon to be able to support eCommerce, but in 2022, an online customer expects a seamless process when they buy something online. Helping to define this process is something that our team at Lapero specializes in. 

We have also been gaining recent experience in social commerce, which is the idea of expanding your online store to different platforms such as Facebook shops, Google shops, or Amazon. Expecting a customer to solely shop on your website is like trying to pull them to your own little island. Instead, we are interested in exploring where they are already scrolling and then bringing them in at checkout to encourage the growth of online sales. While you are selling products directly on your website to catch all of the customer data, you can also work to build a seamless transition between social browsing and the online transaction. 

Final Thoughts

One of the most beautiful things about eCommerce is that everything is trackable. We can see everywhere a user goes and every product that they look at. All of this data is available to you to then go forward and market your store. Having synergy between your development team and marketing team is the best strategy for gaining conversions. Ultimately, what we have learned in the last few years about eCommerce is that the more you know about a customer, the better you can market to them without wasting marketing dollars.