Becky Simms, CEO & Founder of Reflect Digital, explores how to capitalise on new customers post COVID-19.
We’ve seen a surge in people moving to online shopping due to the lockdown restrictions. For some, they were no doubt already online shoppers, but they have widened their online shopping repertoire. For others, this may have been their first online shopping experience. In some cases, this has been down to availability, either shops being out of stock or closed, and for others, this has been due to the restrictions and feeling unsafe to venture out.
At Reflect Digital we’ve been exploring what this new online buyer looks like. As for our eCommerce clients, we want to support them as best we can to capitalise on the new customers they have gained and to create a new habit, so this does not become a spike in sales that disappears.
Some of the points I’m going to cover have, in many ways, been key since the dawn of online shopping, but they definitely haven’t been the norm. So for me, this is a chance to really look at your online business and to question whether you are doing enough to be better than not just the competition, but the high street alternative.
Availability and delivery are key. We live in a world where technology is at our fingertips all day long and with that comes answers, and immediate answers. We are used to being able to Google products and services, to go find reviews, to get so much information. But with this, it has created this need for immediate information, so when we visit an online store and we can’t work out whether an item is in stock or when it will be likely to be delivered, we feel frustrated as we don’t want to part with our hard-earned money without clearly having our expectations managed about delivery. This need has been heightened due to lockdown, based on things we have always expected to be available suddenly not being available, plus our trust in some providers has been damaged which has a knock-on effect for other businesses offering a similar service.
The key tip here is to be accurate and to manage expectations. You need the right partners to give you the confidence to trust in their service, as building in contingency can be good (so you under-promise and then hopefully over-deliver) but it is also risky, as if your competitors have a more compelling offer delivery wise, this could be the difference between a sale or a bounce.
We also have new needs at the moment – an increased need to consider safety. Therefore, bringing to life on your website the safety procedures in place within your operations is important to allow your potential customers to feel safe. Safety leads to comfort and comfort leads to trust, and trust is ultimately what we want to build to help forge long-term relationships.
This point leads on nicely to the key themes for capturing these users as long-term customers, which are building a connection and a relationship with them. We buy from businesses that we know, like, and trust, so now they’ve bought once you know they are aware of you, but to continue that growth in the relationship you need to get them to like and trust your business. There are many factors that go into this. The first will have been how the first purchase process performed. Was it easy to buy? Did the delivery come on time? Was it well packaged? Do they feel they got value? A mistake I see so often here is that the user gets added to a remarketing list and not removed when they convert, meaning they continue to see ads, sometimes ads that have a discount after they have already purchased. This is a sure-fire way to lose trust.
So we know the first and all future experiences will impact the relationship, but what else can you do?
You need to create a conversation which is not just about sales. You need to be a content marketing machine, creating interesting and useful content that has your customer’s best interests at heart that demonstrates your expertise and builds likeability and trust. This content then needs to be distributed as part of a strategy covering the website, email marketing, and social media. Playing into this strategy, you need to have well-organised data that allows you to trigger communications based on behaviour. The more personalised your communication, the better cut-through you will find as there is so much noise out there, trying to grab and hold a user’s attention is not an easy game.
There is so much more I could say on this topic, but we have created a handy guide which you can download from www.reflectdigital.co.uk/figaro. This includes our 12 top tips for eCommerce businesses post COVID-19.