Pattern Australia senior eCommerce consultant Joanna Slater reveals the key learnings for eCommerce traders from the COVID-19 pandemic.
FY21 was a year of two halves.
In the first half of the year, the Pattern Ecommerce Benchmark Report saw +24% traffic, +46% conversion and +75% revenue.
Then in the second half, year on year COVID-19 comparisons came into play and we ended the year with -6% traffic, -4% conversion and -13% revenue.
Businesses have had to pivot and pivot fast to keep up with a rapidly changing environment.
Here are some of the key insights and learnings from COVID-19.
Year on Year Performance is not the comparable performance indicator it once was
The unprecedented events and volatile environment of FY21 mean YOY performance is not directly comparable.
This presents the need to add an additional lens to performance reporting utilising industry benchmarks to help understand what is working and where there are opportunities to change.
If your business hasn’t already done so, creating a diary or calendar of events (including lockdowns) is useful in helping you to understand some of the changes in the following year.
Review Your Channels of Distribution
As online becomes an increasingly important source of revenue, retailers who had click and collect and ship from store enabled were able to pivot faster to meet changing customer needs and hence grow revenue.
Having ship from store enabled also meant some retailers weren’t completely reliant on a single fulfillment location so were less impacted by localised restrictions on staff and work sites.
Business Insider reports that click and collect sales in the US grew by 109% last year and are forecast to account for 9.9% of all eCommerce sales this year.
Marketplaces continue to grow and present the opportunity to showcase your brand and product in a high traffic environment.
In May this year, Pattern Australia polled 1,000 online shoppers and for the third year, demonstrated a growth in Amazon adoption.
• 80% of consumers had visited the site in the past 12 months, 54% purchased.
• 69% of households earning over $100,000 or more were primarily driven by free delivery as a key reason for shopping on Amazon.
• 28% reported purchasing five or more times in the last year, a 57% increase since our last report.
User Experience Is Key
Any website, regardless of whether you have bricks-and-mortar stores or not, needs to have the customer experience, or UX, at top of mind.
Consider any information on your site as essentially a digital version of the personal service given a retail team.
Product descriptions, features and benefits, imagery and editorial pages are all ways that customers can access the information they need to make a confident purchase decision.
Size guides, fit tools, as well as clear shipping, delivery and returns information will inspire confidence and reduce barriers to purchase in your customers’ minds.
A fast, simplified checkout will maximise cart completions.
You can set up goals in GA to track cart abandonment which will help you identify and manage pain points.
Create a more Personalised Experience
We know that engaged customers want to be recognised and valued and personalisation is a great way to achieve this.
This does not have to be an overly complicated task requiring sophisticated CRM platforms either!
Creating a series of segmented emails based on criteria as simple as geographic location, purchase history and even lockdown status means that you are sending customers relevant content that makes them feel heard and valued.
Trade in the ‘Now’, Plan for the ‘Next’
It’s important to be as nimble as possible, looking at all processes to try and shorten lead times and increase your ability to react quickly.
Production and shipping are two areas that should be of particular focus here.
While it’s easy to be mired in the immediacy of fulfilling orders and responding to trading pressures that are happening right now, it is vital that you don’t lose focus on longer term planning.
Planning for where you want the business to be one, two and three years from now will help you identify new opportunities, areas for investment and structural changes that will position your business for success.
Pattern supports brands and retailers in eCommerce strategy, trading, digital marketing and marketplace acceleration. We’ll be discussing how to prepare for Peak Trading in our upcoming webinar, on September 01 at 10am. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.