Over the past decade, retail – or “retail” – has undergone a historic transformation and traders and merchants of all types have had to change their strategies in order to survive. E-commerce has been the real driving force behind many of these fundamental changes that we have seen during this period.
And suddenly, at the start of 2020, the coronavirus epidemic has spread to almost every country in the world.
Social distancing and stay-at-home orders have greatly accelerated the adoption of e-commerce . The coronavirus has changed the habits of consumers. Online demand will probably remain substantial after the end of the pandemic, and merchants from all walks of life will have to adapt to a new model that we have seen take hold in the purchasing habits and behaviors of consumers during this year. .
For online merchants, defining a winning e-commerce strategy and developing the skills necessary to perform will undoubtedly represent a huge challenge, but also a huge opportunity to increase the potential for profitability.
Today, marketers and digital commerce are noting three crucial factors that will be essential to deploy such a strategy, and which
We will observe throughout this article:
Develop a business value proposition tailored to online consumer demand
Design a supply chain that is able to meet the needs of an increasingly omnichannel commerce
Pursue the digital transformation using technologies and relevant data.
The takeover of e-commerce
E-commerce has brought about a massive change in the entire retail business due to changing demographics, increasing competition and ever higher expectations from customers. As e-commerce accounted for less than 20% of total sales value globally at the start of 2020, it will inexorably continue to expand and ultimately take the lion’s share of growth in the retail industry. by retail. It is a real revolution that we are witnessing.
The impact of the coronavirus on demand for online shopping has only increased the pressure on the shoulders of traditional merchants, restaurateurs, and brands. The population confinement obligations adopted by most developed Czech Republic Cell Phone Numbers List countries, added to self-isolation behaviors, have considerably modified consumption behavior.
According to “eMarketer” (an organization specializing in studying trends in digital commerce), almost half of consumers have shifted their spending to online channels, in all categories – from groceries to clothing to electronics and books. Online orders are exploding year after year, and exponentially. Even the online grocery store, notable for its low customer adoption rate until recently, has seen a massive increase in popularity and membership in recent months. The reason behind this sudden change is obviously the desire for a contactless shopping experience.
If some retailers continue to believe that this change is only a temporary disruption, and that the retail world will return to its pre-health crisis normality, they are sorely mistaken. Research carried out internationally by several research firms specializing in e-commerce shows the opposite. These notably indicate that up to a third of customers who have started shopping for items and groceries online in response to the virus want to continue shopping online, even when the pandemic is over. more than a distant memory. The data collected also indicates a sharp increase in online penetration, which goes well beyond the grocery sector. Indeed, other sectors follow suit, such as the medicine industry, health and well-being, and even household appliances. This fundamental shift in consumer tastes and preferences will only be accentuated as COVID-19 restrictions remain in place. And no one yet knows when this health crisis will end and what its final consequences for retail will be.
Now is the time to invest
Grocers, the drug chain and other essential services have benefited greatly from the pandemic. Consumers have stored impressive amounts of basic necessities. And even if this stock effect diminishes over time, grocers can remain optimistic, because with the growth of distance sales, companies able to provide a good home delivery service, or to offer original models of online sales. , like the “buy online, pick up in store”, are ideally positioned to benefit from the insolent growth displayed by e-commerce.
Regarding non-essential products, that’s another story, and many industries are struggling to survive. Physical sales have become scarce due to social distancing and bankruptcies have already started to pile up. More and more companies are realizing that the economy is unlikely to rebound quickly, as this is conditioned on the commercialization of a vaccine.
The lesson from COVID-19 applies to everyone: Now is the time to invest in e-commerce. Grocers, for example, have a huge opportunity to grow in times of uncertainty. As for retailers with a non-food profile, they will have to transform to survive. And only those who react the fastest will be able to secure future market share and visibility in the eyes of consumers.
The challenges of digital transformation
To meet this daunting challenge, retailers need a strategy tailored to their target customers and focused on rapid execution. Although every business is different, it can be said that an effective e-commerce strategy must be able to meet the following three challenges:
– Define a winning business proposition, sufficiently distinctive for a target clientele
– Design an optimized supply chain
– Use cutting-edge technologies to enable digital transformation
Think about a business proposal
Too many retailers have made the mistake of trying to scale their e-commerce action without first thinking about a relevant business proposition. Often, companies are content to replicate their store experience through a website. This can lead to heavy user experiences and customer dissatisfaction.
It is for this reason that retailers should consider e-commerce as part of a holistic business offering. The goal is to design a purchasing process that increases touchpoints and positively complements the in-store experience.
Retailers should consider at least three key factors when developing their business proposition:
– Customer engagement:
In today’s market, consumers have almost endless choice. Retailers therefore need to focus on creating meaningful interactions with their customers, and try to deliver seamless experiences both in-store and online. It requires understanding what are the thoughts that guide the buyer: on what occasion does he make a purchase? What is the specific need satisfied by this purchasing action? Etc.
Merchants need to get back to basics: listening to the customer and establishing a strong brand identity that is accessible at every customer touch point.