Social distancing and work-from-home orders have disrupted how people go about their daily lives as COVID-19 has caused a shift in consumer habits. People now opt to avoid brick and mortar stores in favor of shopping online from the comfort and safety of their homes. With online sales increasing daily as customer demands evolve, e-commerce businesses need to adapt marketing strategies to keep up with growth. Here are some ways to keep up with growth and face the pandemic.
Be Consistent When Building Brand Loyalty
The best way to help your e-commerce business keep up during COVID-19 is to establish customer loyalty. You likely already have a loyal customer base, but now is the time to focus on reaching new potential customers. The key to building brand loyalty is to be consistent. Offer proactive customer service through various channels such as email, live chat, and social media.
Be honest with customers about possible shipment delays and ensure your team members know how to handle customer service issues related to delayed deliveries. If you know about a delay in delivery, let the customer know in advance instead of waiting for them to reach out. Create engaging and relevant content that you can post on your website related to your brand and product offering.
Focus Your Digital Efforts Toward Changing Customer Expectations
The focus of your digital efforts should center around changing customer expectations. Reimagine the customer experience and what it takes to create a seamless shopping experience. Tune in to the social conversation and pay attention to what customers are buying or hope to buy post-COVID. Utilize machine learning to anticipate customer demands and use your findings to optimize customer and supplier relationship management.
One of the ways that your e-commerce business can keep up with growth is to ensure your website can be accessed by customers on their desired platform, whether that’s via social media, website, or other apps. Shopify is a managed e-commerce platform that allows integration through the use of apps. Integrated apps have access to Shopify’s Carrier Service API which allows you to incorporate custom shipping options.
EnderTech explains how straightforward carrier services app development can be and gives a clear example of how to set it up. Essentially, when a customer goes to checkout, Shopify sends a request to your app’s end-point with the customer and cart details. Shopify needs a shipping option and shipping rates, such as the next day or standard shipping. The options are then compiled into a list for the customer to choose from. If the API endpoint doesn’t generate a response, it doesn’t display any options for that Carrier Service. The Carrier Service shows real-time accurate pricing of shipments at checkout. The Shopify marketplace features several carrier service apps, and you are able to incorporate a carrier that Shopify doesn’t have an app for.
Manage Your Supply Chain Issues
Government restrictions have caused many businesses to experience supply chain interruptions. Keeping up with growth means managing any supply chain issues that have or could come up. Talk to your manufacturers and vendors to determine where they stand on production. It could be that operations are halted or stock is dwindling and you need to seek out backup manufacturers or vendors. Expanding your supplier base will allow you to get some products even if interruptions occur. Build up an inventory of the products that you know will be in-demand in the short-run, based on customer data. You should also arrange alternate logistics providers who can help get your products to customers with minimal delays.
One of the essential upgrades you should make to keep up with customer needs is implementing a CPQ solution to streamline the sales process. What is CPQ, you ask? CPQ – Configure, Price, Quote – is a software solution used by manufacturers to produce error-free quotes and process orders for configurable products. The more that customers demand tailored products, the more you need to allow for extensive configuration of your products. There will be a difference in the price of standard configurations and extensive configurations. You need to pass an accurate price regardless of configuration.
CPQ software helps you create an accurate quote based on extensive configuration options and accurate pricing. CPQ tools simplify complex products, provide reliable product configuration, streamline the sales process, and allow sales teams to focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience.
Now is a great time to run an e-commerce business, as customers continue to embrace shopping from home. The key to operating successfully is understanding the key updates you need to make to keep up with growth during COVID-19.
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