Whether your company sells to other businesses (B2B), to consumers (B2C) or to both, now is not the time to take a wait-and-see approach to eCommerce. The global pandemic and the need to shelter in place have spurred a monumental shift to buying online. If you’re not spending to increase and improve your eCommerce presence at this time, you’re actively turning down revenue. Does that sound like a good strategy?
There are companies that can turn your underperforming site around or get it up and running within 6-8 weeks from now. Some say that life will be back to normal by then and shopping online will subside, but they haven’t been paying attention. Forbes reports that more customers are shopping online now than when physical stores were shuttered. A recent US survey showed that people expect the pandemic to last well into 2021. No one is giving up on online shopping, and the spikes in search volumes that we saw in March – when the pandemic got real – have remained constant and consistent.
How B2B and B2C have been adapting to the shift
To adapt to the dramatic changes in customer needs and to support social distancing, new B2C service models have emerged, such as curbside pickup. The pandemic was pretty much the catalyst for that extra service, which gave shoppers an option beyond delivery when they needed to shelter at home. If shoppers have a say in the matter, curbside pickup is not going away.
B2B companies also stepped up their service levels to meet demand at a time when 81% of the world's workforce faced full or partial workplace closures. When face-to-face sales calls were no longer an option, companies that adapted to an online business model could protect revenues. In fact, no matter whether they were selling B2B or B2C, those that had strong eCommerce sites were able to support existing customers and likely gain new ones when buying online became the new normal.
To thrive today, companies need to ramp up their existing digital offerings or fully commit to having an eCommerce presence. But there’s a catch – there’s always a catch. The site had better produce a positive customer experience. Sites with sluggish loading, unintuitive interfaces and poor search experience will be left in the dust.
A good customer experience is essential
Some companies have been struggling with providing a positive online shopping experience. Often it’s because they chose the wrong eCommerce platform. Maybe they decided to start small with a service like Shopify and then ran into scale and feature limitations. There’s also the matter of speed. Optimizing pages for fast load speeds requires some investment and expertise, but it’s important to the customer experience. Relevance is possibly even more important. If a search pulls up incomplete and/or irrelevant data, customers won’t buy. That’s where investing in data enrichment and intelligent search come in. When the entire world is turning to online shopping, it’s not enough to be just good enough. Today, the companies that will do well have to have best-of-breed sites with an eCommerce platform capable of intelligent and relevant search, analytics that will inform a personalized shopping experience and a Cloud server ready to handle demand.
What are you waiting for?
If you’re ready to move forward, it might be wise to enlist the help of experts. Your best bet is a company that embraces modern technologies like machine learning but makes sure humans are involved in customizations. They can work with you to ensure that search and recommendations are highly relevant to your particular customer. It’s critical that your site truly reflects the needs of your customers, so choose an eCommerce platform that provides actionable insights to understand shopper behavior, identify underperforming customer journeys and optimize your site experience.
We can help with all of that. Many of the world’s leading online retailers rely on us to continuously improve their customer experiences and increase revenues with ETL, data enrichment, intelligent search and invaluable analytics. We’re a committed partner every step of the way, from onboarding to go-live to health checks. The result is a site that deeply engages your customers and makes shopping simple, relevant and personalized. Ready to get started?