Even before 2020, eCommerce had been taking a larger and larger piece of global retail sales. And following the imposition of physical distancing measures for health reasons, the eCommerce model continues to grow and develop rapidly.
In Statista’s eCommerce report for 2020, experts predict this year to be the year when the global market for eCommerce crosses the two trillion dollar threshold. Most of this development is happening in the online markets of the U.S., China, and Europe, which are the three largest areas of growth. With these three major markets raking in a combined $1.5 trillion in eCommerce sales in 2019, it’s clear that transitioning to online and digital commerce is a profitable move for any store or seller. The question then is how can your brick-and-mortar business take advantage of this online selling upturn?
SEO and Analytics
The move to eCommerce entails a well structured website. Even the most gorgeous and user-friendly website in the world will still fail today without both search engine optimization (SEO) and analytics.
SEO is one of the oldest and continuously developing elements of digital marketing. In a nutshell, it’s the process in which you can create and distribute content towards organically increasing the traffic to your website. Meanwhile, analytics is the use of artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled software for collecting, organizing, and analyzing data towards actionable business strategies. Ayima identifies both SEO and analytics as crucial elements in how many of the biggest brands in the world have maintained their presence online. This is because in the context of SEO, software like Google Analytics can be used to leverage your website’s traffic data for the purpose of developing better SEO strategies relative to where your business currently stands on the web. This information would be much harder to gather in a physical store.
Many brick-and-mortar store owners are already familiar with how effective it is to sell products or services on social media platforms. Today, major social platforms are becoming even more optimized for converting social media users into customers.
In fact, after years of development, Facebook has finally launched their Shops option on both Facebook and Instagram. This new feature allows the social media sites to function as online stores, effectively nixing the need for a separate selling platform. Sellers will be able to catalog their items, customize the way their online store looks, and facilitate the direct selling of their products – scalable to nearly any business size. Facebook’s move comes as no big surprise to anyone following not just eCommerce, but social trends in the U.S., as an estimated 79% of American smartphone users have made at least one online purchase in the 6 months between September 2019 and February 2020. This further underscores the demand for social selling, as social media and mobile go hand-in-hand. There is no question that many people now prefer to purchase items online compared to visiting a physical store, a trend that is only set to continue.
Immediate Customer Response
Fail to answer a customer query about an available product in the next couple minutes and they’ll move on to the next online store. In the age of smartphones and instant likes, customers demand immediacy.
Many of the most prominent eCommerce companies have responded to this demand by using an AI chatbot, a continuously learning intelligent software that studies customer chat patterns to derive context and instantly provide cognitive responses. In short, it’s a robot that functions as a virtual agent or representative for your brand. “Today we can deflect about 70% of the chats coming in by the bot itself. It’s been a big win for us,” says Rey Chavez of Advia Credit Union, who explains that their AI chatbot has allowed them to support more customers with fewer resources. Furthermore, through the system of natural language processing, which allows AI chatbots to continuously improve, virtual responses to customers can only get better overtime.
These are just some of the most fundamental elements any brick-and-mortar store needs to transition to eCommerce. While these elements entail considerable time and resources to fully understand, let alone deploy, think of them as investments that can cement your position in the rapidly growing eCommerce markets. For more marketing info and advice visit Kevy.
Guest Author Bio: Ingrid Poole is a tech and lifestyle blogger. She is learning to write code in Python and wants to learn more basic programming languages to get a better handle on the ever-evolving digital landscape. She envisions a future where technology is created and developed with the goal of helping as many people a possible.