The Post-Pandemic E-Commerce Conundrum

Carrie H. Ritchie
August 25, 2021
If your online revenue surged during the pandemic, you're among the lucky few. But with big expectations looming, how can you match those numbers moving forward?

We've recently been fielding questions from current and prospective clients struggling with navigating YOY e-commerce numbers as the "in-person" world opens up again. If your business was one of those lucky enough to have navigated the pandemic and not only hold on to your sales revenue but grow during this strange time, you may be finding yourself having lots of conversations about how to maintain those numbers moving forward. (The old sales conundrum: any win becomes the new baseline). 

So this month, we're diving into consumer trends related to e-commerce, what you can do to grow your YOY online revenue, and how to view your revenue through a new, post-(ish)-pandemic lens.

The Future of E-Commerce

Real talk: If you’re like me then owning a business, raising kids, and trying to grab social connections when you can, all while balancing personal wellness, managing a predictable schedule feels nearly impossible these days.

I’m a home cook; I love going grocery shopping. Picking out my fresh produce and spending time creating a meal plan with seasonal ingredients is my happy place. However, recently I've had to trade in my love of in-person grocery shopping for a more efficient, online, approach to balance time with my family.

I think this is a common conundrum with many people looking for balance. Even as we exit the pandemic, as we attempt to downshift from the culture of overextension and the Immediacy Era we’ve found ourselves in, people will likely continue to adopt more efficient buying habits. This doesn't mean I will never grocery shop again (because, let’s face it, Instacart never grabs the good produce), but it does mean that I will make trade-offs between what I used to always do in-person and what I now sometimes do online. I may no longer browse in-store for a friend's birthday gift so that I can make my weekly farmers' market trip. 

We're all figuring out the art of convenience versus sacrifice. The digital era may be taking more of our time, but it also allows us to streamline ongoing lifestyle needs. According to McKinsey & Company, during the pandemic era 75% of US consumers have tried a new shopping behavior.

So...back to the original question: What can you do to continue to convert more online business?

Should you bundle shipping into your product prices? 

YES! Always bundle shipping into your prices! These days, shoppers get irritated when they feel they are paying for shipping—90% of consumers say they would shop online more if guaranteed a free shipping option. This is not shady; this is business. Do you publicize your manufacturing fees along with your final sales price? No, it’s business and you don't always need to show how the sausage is made!

Declutter your navigation.

There’s no need to include every product and sub-group in your navigation. Think of your navigation as a little guidepost. Broaden the focus; Men’s, Women’s, Home Goods, and then create your funnel or filter from there. Everyone hates being lost, make it easy for people to get to where they want to be.

Describe your products!

They say content is king for a reason; it can pull a consumer in and close the gap on the sale. People shopping online need to know the material and size of what they are buying so they feel solid about the purchase. More information around your products will deepen any trust or loyalty between the brand and the consumer. It’s also great for SEO!

Reviews can be good and bad—but mostly good.

We all understand that occasionally a bad review will happen, and customers will let it go in a sea of good reviews. (Alternatively, if you're receiving several bad reviews, it's time to take a close look at your product or service.) 

E-commerce can be scary; especially with environmental considerations top of mind, shoppers want to avoid the hassle of returns; they want to know what they are buying is smart and aligns with their needs. So share those reviews!

Streamline the checkout process.

I’m a big fan of the sidebar checkout in Shopify. I love knowing what I have in my cart and what my running total is at all times (and it can tally any sale items which could mean my transaction opportunity is higher). 

Additionally, I LOVE Shopify's Shop Pay...maybe a little too much, just ask my wife. It makes checking out a breeze by remembering my contact/shipping/billing details so I can quickly and efficiently navigate through the process.

SMS (text) can add a big lift—and it's super easy to integrate.

Online shopping's kryptonite is an abandoned cart—if you can address those carts, then you're well on your way to capturing a big chunk of additional revenue.

Scenario: you have items in your cart, and your phone rings, baby cries, your oven timer goes off, and you completely forget what you were doing, or that shopping window has vanished. Fear not! Through SMS, the retailer can send you a quick and delightful nudge to finish up your purchase.

No, this is not annoying or overkill; it's actually helpful and nice to have a reminder and potentially save a little bit of cash. Plus, it makes me feel like I don't need to shop around.

I hope my musings on the future of e-commerce and how to leverage opportunities have helped—or at least offer some comfort. If you'd like to talk further, please reach out. Or, find me in your neighborhood produce aisle!

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