The COVID-19 pandemic has given online shopping a big boost, and we know that means there’s been a rise in pre-shopping research as well. While we may have thought, and hoped, that this crisis would be short-lived, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, as well as Canada’s top public health officials, are warning otherwise.
Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said, “People might think that if we get a vaccine then everything goes back to normal the way it was before. That’s not the case… All of the measures we’ve put in place now will still have to continue with the new reality for quite some time.”
The impact of the pandemic has already taken a huge toll on retailers who rely on in-person shopping, but e-commerce is on the rise. eMarketer is now forecasting that online sales will be up 21% in Canada and 18% in the United States. That’s great news if your website is up to the task.
If the products or services that you provide can be delivered without face-to-face contact, you need to make an investment in your website now. Any delay at this point is just giving money away to your competitors.
So, what makes a great online shopping site? Beyond the basics, you need:
Think about your target audience and speak to them in terms they use every day. Don’t force them to choose between blouses and shirts, or couplings and fittings. People are even more impatient than usual right now.
Returning items is also more difficult these days, so help out your customers and your bottom line by clearly and precisely describing each product or service. Remember that colours look different on different devices, so “blue” isn’t enough. Include as many descriptors as you can: dimensions, thickness, material, etc. For services, tell visitors the intended outcome; e.g. A Representation Agreement allows the named representative to make personal care and health care decisions on behalf of the signatory.
Pricing is one of the most critical decision-making criteria for shoppers of any product or service. The old excuse about not wanting to let competitors know what you charge isn’t valid. Believe me, they already know. So help your customers make an informed decision before they leave your site and never return.
Simplicity is key here, but give it some thought. Obviously, a product needs to get into the hands of the customer, so they either have to pick it up or have it delivered, but there are still options. Can you offer curbside pickup? Perhaps you could if you had a cordless POS unit. So, get one. Can you offer a low cost vs fast home delivery option? Great. For services, it’s a bit trickier but ponder on it. What options are there for signing a will?
It’s time to get creative folks! The pandemic has accelerated the use of all sorts of technologies, and the world is never going to be the same. Give us a call to get your business ready to do business in a new world.