The previous year has caused several major changes in how people behave and make decisions regarding spending and making purchases. The pandemic, social distancing rules, closing retail stores, and lockdowns have all increased the presence of digital stores. Especially among smaller, local businesses that have relied on in-store purchases, they have had to adapt to the changing environment and build a strong digital presence.
This means that even locally-owned companies have to compete in a digital, unlimited market, with e-commerce companies of all shapes and sizes and from all over the globe. A small Sydney jewelry maker would have to set up shop on social media and their own site and make themselves known online, despite the presence of large and famous accessory stores. To compete, companies have to adapt, innovate, and above all, do their shopping as seamlessly as possible. To simplify the purchasing process for your customers and inspire trust, here are a few ideas to keep in mind for your 2021 strategy!
Use AI-powered chatbots
Even with excellent product descriptions, which we’ll get quickly, and simple checkout, customers today often want some assistance in how they choose a product. To make your online sales more efficient and to keep customers coming back, you need a spotless support system in place. A brilliant way to provide support without overwhelming your staff is to provide AI-based chatbots that can provide immediate assistance.
Make sure that your chatbots can help your mobile commerce customers, too, since more people are using their phones today to make a purchase and interact with brands. When your chatbot is available, customers can get help without delay and have all the guidance they need for a successful purchase.
Keep checkout as simple as possible.
The famous American brand Nordstrom has earned ample respect from the entire industry for many reasons, making the customers’ lives easier. Their checkout is so simple; you can complete a purchase in no more than two steps. If that’s overly ambitious for you, then perhaps the well-known Chinese AliExpress site is more up your alley – their checkout is wrapped up in three steps.
This kind of simplicity is what customers need today. Ensure that your checkout doesn’t include redundant steps such as creating an account if they don’t want to share more sensitive information than it is essential.
Diversify your payment options
Australian buyers are a great example of how modern customers think: they like to have options, and they like to know how these options benefit them in different ways. One of the most important steps in the purchase is the actual payment process, so simplifying it will help your customer determine your competitors’ favor. Do you, for example, offer installment-based payments?
More brands are now using programs like Humm buy now pay later in Australia precisely to help customers pay for more expensive products in a way that suits them best. Even though Australia is a wealthy country, people invest their money wisely, and brands that offer diverse payment options, including delayed payment programs, attract more customers in these trying times.
Create content with value
Do your products have the necessary details clearly outlined in bullet points in your product descriptions? Is there a video showing your customer how they can use your product? How about a list of warnings or limitations in use or warranty? Your product description and all the accompanying content such as videos and PDF instruction manuals need to be clear, simple, and straightforward. Still, above all, they need to be informative and transparent.
The modern consumer wants to know more than just a basic list of ingredients for food or materials for apparel. They want to know the source, sustainability, care tips, etc. Soon enough, in fast-advancing countries like the US and Australia, major brands such as Unilever will introduce smart labels with all the information available, transparently, to the public.
Your product descriptions and all the information that you provide will help the customer make an informed decision. This is a crucial step in their journey, and it can make or break your relationship with them.
Follow-up surveys to learn more
You might think that your website is delightful and that all your products are ideally designed. However, a customer might come across a single issue, be it a page that won’t load or a lack of security seals to put them at ease, and you have a potential avalanche on your hands. Sometimes, these issues might be prevalent but “silent,” so to boost your online sales, you’ll need to ask relevant questions and find out more about the customer journey from their perspective.
Once your customers complete their purchase, or maybe when you see that they’ve left the store with something in the cart – send them a follow-up email. Use that opportunity to learn what went wrong, or if all went well, what you could do better in the future. Surveys and brief polls can be of great help to get some fundamental knowledge on how your customers’ preferences might be changing.
Although the modern customer is more than equipped to handle an online store, many people today enjoy interacting with brands and make their decisions based on the quality of service and experience they receive. Naturally, this also means that you cannot rely just on the listed ideas – you also have to be ready to evolve your presence, especially if you run a local company, and adjust your digital shopping options based on your local customers’ preferences. Brands now need to be great listeners to grow, and the 2021 climate will make sure that those who listen and learn from their customers always rise to the top.