How to Manage Your Digital Commerce Investment for Long-Term Success
Online commerce has been in high demand since the outbreak of coronavirus. The Magento Commerce team received calls from two types businesses as they tried to sell online from businesses without a digital presence. They are processing hundreds of transactions per minute and their volumes have increased dramatically.
The second type does not have any online commerce capabilities but would like it, preferably today. These companies are from all industries, including garden centres and millers, who have lost their retail outlets and now need to sell directly.
As ever, the old saying that “disastrous times call for dramatic measures” is true. It’s never been more important for businesses to be fast and decisive. It’s even more important to keep your long-term goals in mind. Stop-gap solutions now can stall your business growth, making it more difficult (and potentially even more expensive) to adapt to the market’s next shift.
Because customers are being forced to change their behaviours over the past decades in just weeks. Many of these customers find that they enjoy the new experiences. You’ll be more than a temporary partner if you are able to participate in those experiences.
For years, I have been making a habit of getting a cup of coffee every morning on my way to work. This habit was broken in less than a month. I don’t miss it, because I have a grinder. I also buy beans. Coffee I make at home tastes better and is cheaper than coffee you get from a cafe. You don’t have to throw away either.
It’s not me. The demand for coffee is so great that the Brazil coffee bean stocks are low. When we return to work, I won’t be going back to coffee shops. I will continue to buy beans and make better, more affordable coffee. This is an opportunity for a bean seller to acquire me and retain me.
My family has also turned to the local farm’s vegetable boxes for fresh food. We love the convenience, quality, lack of packaging, and how easy it is to get our fresh food. We don’t see any reason to buy vegetables again from the supermarket. We’ll be there for the farm’s new customers longer than the virus that drove us to buy from them.
If you are a farmer looking for a website that will allow you to sell three sizes of vegetable boxes, then you might be tempted. What happens if your customers demand more? Perhaps they want milk added to their orders or you see the opportunity to offer recipe boxes. You might find out that many of your customers have moved to the internet when you reopen your shop. It won’t be possible to find a quick fix.
It is important not to lose sight of the long-term possibilities. You will need to pay rent and staff, but cash flow is also important. You might feel like you are being shoved into a corner. But it does not have to be. An investment in digital Commerce should not be about a quick fix. Digital commerce has been moving faster than ever in the last 25 years, thanks to the current pandemic.
Companies have the opportunity to create a customer journey that is continuous and build the relationships that go along with it. This is a chance for customers and retailers to take advantage of an opportunity that was not there two months ago.
These changes are happening so quickly that many businesses have accelerated five years. You can keep your trading going if you are one of these companies. You will be able to gain new business and move in a better direction in the new world. The competitive landscape may be very different from when we started the year. Make sure you are prepared.
Navigating the New Normal in eCommerce
Nielsen identified six thresholds that consumers globally are passing through as they move through this pandemic.
We are in the beginning of the “restricted life” stage in many countries. Ecommerce businesses already see a shift in customer preferences and shopping behavior in this stage. Although many of these changes are temporary, they will have a lasting impact on how customers interact with your brand when they move to the “living in the new normal” stage. Although the new normal is not yet here, it will soon – regardless of whether it takes weeks or months – once we venture further outside. Brands that invest in technology to improve customer experience online will be better positioned than those who don’t.
How can eCommerce businesses adapt to the new norm? We will be discussing some adaptations that you need in your digital media technology stack in order to adapt.
1. Online shopping must be as visually realistic and detailed as possible
Millions of people worldwide are now able to work or study from home. This gives consumers more incentive to shop online. Although everyone loves to shop in-store and all of us love to touch and feel products, the shift to digital by consumers may not last as long as hygiene or health concerns. It could also be permanent as they incorporate online shopping into their daily lives.
Your product details pages (PDPs) are the only way a customer will have an experience with your product. Brands that provide PDPs with videos showing how the shoe moves or how it flexes, have seen higher engagement and conversions. They also experience lower product returns. Although this trend was first seen in fashion and lifestyle brands long before the age restricted living, it has not yet been extended to everyday necessities, electronics, or groceries. For these products, simple images and at best, spin sets were sufficient. In a world where online experience is the primary (and often only) way to get an experience, this will not suffice. Modernizing your PDPs should be done with rich video and augmented visually experiences.
2. In your direct to consumer channel, you need to be more agile
Consumer needs and spending ability can change in the wake of hardship. While necessities like groceries, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer were first on the mind during the quarantine stage of the current pandemic outbreak, the focus moved to exercise apparel, crafting supplies, and educational aids for children in the restricted living stage. Demand, supply and pricing change as economic uncertainty hits many of us. Direct-to-consumer channels must be flexible and ready to re-price products, change visual messages or tone to accommodate consumer needs. It is essential that companies ensure that their e-commerce platform allows for greater business agility.
3. For loyalty and trust to be earned, you should make authentic connections
To maintain a loyal customer base, brands will have to adapt to this new reality. These are often outside of the realm of digital experience, such as social responsibility, local origin and corporate citizenship. However, there are some changes that can be made in the digital media experience.
Engaging consumers is easy with user-generated photos and video. Social proof can be used to duplicate the in-store social shop visit. This requires automation for moderation, image and video auto-cropping, enhancement for visual appeal, and many other digital considerations such as upload and delivery performance. These are technology investments that will be worthwhile over the long-term.
4. How to Make Your Digital Distributed Teams More Effective
This is what we’re doing right now. Marketing, creative, development, and design teams no longer work together; they all work from home, managing kids and pets, keeping healthy, and working. While there will come a time when everyone will return to work, something has changed for the better. Teams will be focusing their retooling on more efficient workflows that allow for truly global collaboration. Cloud-based technologies such as company-wide digital asset manager are a great investment. This will allow you to centrally manage digital media assets and provide a single point of truth for team collaboration. To ensure repetitive media management tasks can be automated so that they do not require lengthy round-trips to your tech or creative teams, you will need better tools. This will reduce bottlenecks.
5. Rich Media Management should be consistent through your Magento Tech Stack
Integration of a best-of breed media platform into your Magento stack will yield rich dividends in customer experiences wins and consistent brand imagery that loads quickly on all screens.
Recommendation: Use a media management platform to integrate your tech stack.
The Key Takeaway
Technology is the way forward for both businesses and consumers as they embrace the new reality of living in a world with COVID-19. The new normal will offer consumers richer and better digital experiences. Brands that invest today in DTC competence and create new experiences with customers will be better equipped to connect with them in the new norm.