How Small-Medium Sized Businesses Can Take Part in the Online Sales Boom

Online sales have recently become robust, this is due to the massive movement of businesses coming online and the change in consumers behaviour.

According to the “Covid-19 and Ecommerce” survey, the pandemic has forever changed the way consumers shop online.

The survey covered about 3,700 consumers located in 9 developed countries including Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Switzerland and Turkey.

Results show that purchases have seen to increase by 6 to 10 percentage points across most product categories.

Furthermore, more than half of the survey’s respondents continue to shop online more frequently and rely on the internet for news, real-time information, seasonal searches and digital innovations.

Although it seems that they were forced in a way since to buy something you had to buy it online, this shift is going to help online sales stay around for a very long time.

And as we go forward, purchasing online will become more convenient, transparent and tailored. This means that when shoppers know exactly what they want, they can easily find it online and won’t have to settle for something they’re not sure if they like it or not when buying in-store.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more digital world. Changes we make now will have lasting effects when the world economy starts to pick up again.” – Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD.

How to take advantage of this huge influx

Acting on consumers behaviour changes is one of the keys to leveraging your growth. You need to fully understand your consumers’ whether it’s knowing where they are, which social media channels they spend most of their time on, keeping up to date with trends and changes, the things they search, etc. And with the help of technology, merchants can sift through all the signals and gain insights to help predict intent.

In this blog post, we’ve put the spotlight on the fundamentals in which we’ve seen to have helped merchants who use our e-commerce platform, so you can continue to be supportive and relevant to your customers during this time.

Multichannel concept

Multichannel marketing is the process of developing a good relationship with your customers using a variety of channels such as websites, emails, search engines, social media and more. It is critically important to be on all the major platforms since research unquestionably, almost always starts online.

These days, consumers are increasingly searching for more information about a product or service before shopping online or in-store.

Google insights show that 75% of shoppers say they have used a Google product (Search, Maps, YouTube) to help with their shopping and 46% of consumers say they find their inspiration for purchase using social media.

This is why you should never miss an opportunity to be where your customers are.

Ratings and Reviews

Online reviews and ratings reveal a lot about your store, they carry an incredible amount of weight on the buying decision and can eliminate any doubts potential customers may have about your product or service. In simple terms, user reviews help to increase conversions.

Approximately 70% of customers read reviews prior to making a purchase and 84% of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, 94% of consumers will not buy from an online store with a majority of bad reviews.

Therefore, it is important to get the right kind of reviews and understand how they can affect your business’s reputation. One way to do this is to set up Google My Business, not only will this allow you to request reviews from your customers, but it can also help you manage your reviews and ratings.

Replying to reviews is also a good way to build customer trust. They’ll notice that your business values their input and will likely leave more reviews in the future.

Free shipping

Another important factor that encourages consumers to buy online is free shipping. Offering free shipping has now become the deciding factor in how much a customer spends and whether or not they make the purchase.

Studies show that online shopping carts are often abandoned at checkout when customers are charged for additional shipping.

But how do I offer free shipping without destroying my margins? is what you might wonder.

Well, there are two strategies most merchants use to do this. They either raise the prices to cover the shipping costs or bundle the items together to sell as a package. However, this also depends on the product.

With that being said, you need to make sure that you explain your shipping strategy clearly so consumers know what you are offering.

In the end, offering free shipping all boils down to providing good customer service.

Excellent customer experience

Speaking about good customer service, expectations for instant, frictionless e-commerce experiences are on the rise. Stores that are able to provide great customer service are more likely to grow their revenue twice as fast as stores that don’t.

How your brand responds to these needs can shape the customers’ journey. Ignore them, and the consumer could be looking for products elsewhere. By putting your focus on satisfying people’s needs, you have a better chance of influencing their decision and ultimately, winning the sale.

In essence, marketing is figuring out how to solve people’s needs. Respond quickly, solve their problem, actively listen, be proactively helpful and help them help themselves.

The more problems you solve and the more often you solve them, the more growth you’ll see.

Personalised online experience

Personalised online experience and good customer service work hand in hand. Customers increasingly desire a personalised experience when it matters most. Learning the patterns of what they’re liking and disliking and the way they browse is a must for maintaining good customer satisfaction and competitive advantage.

Collect, organise and analyse customer data. From there, offer them a loyalty program, send them personalised emails, create ads and limited-time promotions based on the information you collected.

70% of consumers say a company’s understanding of their individual needs influences their loyalty, and 69% say the same about personalised customer care.

Be that as it may, personalisation isn’t just about building the connection, it’s also about making things convenient and friendly for your users.

Geographical expansion

E-commerce has no limitations to how wide your customer reach can be. It provides increased visibility and sales by allowing potential customers who are looking for your products online to find you. Even when you’re targeting a specific audience, you are guaranteed to expand beyond your shop’s physical area.

As you can imagine, expanding into new markets can seem daunting, but there are many tools available out there that can help you manage the process.

The benefits of geographical expansion are that it not only helps you know who your core audience segment is (demographic, geographic, behavioural, etc.), it also helps you think about how to leverage technology as you grow (international shipping and international taxes).

Regardless of how you approach the situation, it is important to do your research to assess the potential demand for your product in another market.

Build your success with Tek Def’s e-commerce solution

As people get used to buying online, those behavioural changes are here to stay. Almost every purchase decision starts on the web. However, going to an actual store and getting to see the actual product you want is more tangible. So there is no step back from that.

And going forward, for younger generations accustomed to finding everything online, their primary driver for purchases will be online as well. Whether they end up going to the store to purchase something or not, they’re going to have done their research online.

As challenging as this moment is, it offers retailers an opportunity to adapt to changes and rethink their strategies. And brands that learn to thrive can build a more effective customer base and a long term customer relationship by observing demand patterns over time.

The good news is that it is much more easier to move your business online than it used to be. No longer do you need to break your wallet in order to hire a developer to create a website for your store. There are many affordable tools and software available these days that have been created to make the process fast and easy for users. It all depends on what you think will work best for you and your company.

If you’re looking to make the move online and adapt to the change, Tek Def’s e-commerce platform might be what you are looking for. Join hundreds of thousands of businesses who trust our e-commerce platform to sell online.

Contact us today and see how we can help!



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