As the many lockdown restrictions around the world have taken their toll on in-person retail stores, online shopping and e-tail has truly taken off. Shopping online has created the most safe and convenient way for consumers to purchase products throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers are able to research a company’s offerings more freely, compare the features of their products to competitors, check the prices of all similar products online, and read different customer reviews for products they’re interested in. All of these features have contributed to the growth of the online retail industry. In terms of growth, throughout just 2019 alone, online retailing contributed to more than $3.5 trillion in sales globally, with just under 2 billion people shopping online for products and services.
A lot of the progress this industry has made over the past few years can be attributed to Amazon. They’ve consistently evolved the e-commerce space through different product offerings and unique benefits. Amazon offers more than 12 million products on their platform. A majority of which are offered up by the numerous third-party sellers that make up the platform. Close to 200 million people visit Amazon’s website every month searching for products. These sorts of numbers have a negative impact on other online retailers in the space. Online shoppers now have a wide set of expectations from the online retailers they shop with, largely in part to the benefits of shopping online with Amazon. For example, Amazon’s Prime shipping options have spoiled online shoppers. So much so, that recent research indicates that 88% of shoppers say that the shipping from Amazon has made them expect faster shipping from other online retailers they shop with.
This can be disastrous for those other online retailers that lack the logistical resources that Amazon has. Struggling e-tailers should keep this expectation in mind and attempt to provide a more seamless shipping experience for their customers. If they’re unable to provide this, these e-tailers should look for other ways to keep their customers happy while waiting for their product to be delivered. One way to do this to provide up-to-date tracking information on every product purchased online. Even if a customer is going to receive a product later than they would have had they ordered it on Amazon, at the very least they’ll be able to consistently track it and know where it stands in its delivery process.
In addition to after purchase considerations, be sure you’re providing a convenient shopping experience on your website. Allowing first-time visitors to create an account so they’ll be able to save all of their shipping and billing information for any purchases made is a great start. If customers are able to place additional orders without having to worry about manually filling in all of their pertinent information makes it more likely that they’ll make additional purchases on your site.
Finally, and likely the most challenging for smaller online retailers, shipping costs. Research has shown that the cost and speed of shipping are some of the most important factors in the decision-making process of online shoppers. These online shoppers want their products delivered quickly, all while paying the lowest possible shipping cost that they can. Customers prefer longer shipping times over costly shipping methods, though. If you’re a smaller online retailer, attempt to create the cheapest, most efficient shipping process that you can in order to increase your sales numbers online. One way to do this is employing an automated storage and retrieval system for your warehousing and transportation solutions.
For more information on how online retailers can continue to evolve their online offerings and keep their customers happy, check out the featured infographic below.
Author bio: John Hinchey is VP of Sales for Westfalia Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of logistics solutions for plants, warehouses and distribution centers. He has more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing and warehouse automation.