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Digital sales are the “new normal” of product purchasing. Informed by pandemic pressures and bolstered by improved shipping and delivery infrastructures that have evolved in response to crises demands, many customers now prefer to conduct as much shopping as possible online.
Data backs up this assertion: According to Forbes, U.S ecommerce sales grew 39% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2021 to reach $199 billion.
And ecommerce is continuing to expand — by 2024, eMarketer predicts that online purchasing will account for almost 20% of all U.S. retail sales.
The takeaway? Your brand can’t afford to ignore the impact of ecommerce.
But beyond the growing number of customers who prefer online to in-store shopping, how do you know if your business is ready for digital transformation?
Here are five signs it’s time to get started.
Consumers want instant access to every detail about a product. Price is just the starting point — customers are looking for information about dimensions, materials, use cases and authentic user reviews that describe authentic interaction with both your product — if it works as intended — and your customer service channels if something goes wrong.
Put simply, product information now extends beyond basic details to include a host of content that must be regularly created, updated, and curated.
As a result, challenges in product information management may indicate the need for a more robust ecommerce solution capable of handling digital shelf demands at scale.
Trends and seasonal changes can help drive substantial sales — if your brand is prepared to pivot when these changes happen. The challenge? A narrow window of opportunity between substantive sales benefits and also-rans who didn’t quite capture the moment.
Consider Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. As noted by Finances Online, online sales during Cyber Monday 2020 reached $10.8 billion, earning it the distinction of the largest ecommerce sales day of all time.
And while some of these purchases came from customers looking to score great deals on popular products, many were made by forward-thinking buyers looking to grab the year’s hottest toy or video game before the Christmas season.
If you can capture consumer interest at the right moment by equipping your online store with enough stock to meet demand and fast shipping to drive satisfaction, you can reap substantive revenue rewards.
If you don’t have the proactive ecommerce infrastructure in place, however, you can end up behind the curve — in turn suggesting the need for serious consideration of digital transformation.
While little has been certain in the past two years, there’s one thing the pandemic has made clear: Change is constant. Brands can’t be sure that brick-and-mortar stores will remain open for any length of time — and if they do close, it could be for weeks or months.
These pressures provide a litmus test for brands: If the thought of more closures leaves you in a cold sweat wondering how you’ll meet customer demand, it might be time to consider in-depth ecommerce digital transformation to provide the on-demand agility required to navigate ongoing pandemic pivots.
Omnichannel is now the expectation. Customers want the ability to contact brands anywhere, anytime, and want both transaction and conversation histories to be part of the shared brand/buyer lexicon moving forward.
In other words, they don’t want to explain themselves once via Facebook, again on email, and once more on the phone — only to discover no changes have been made to their ecommerce account despite promises to the contrary.
If your brand struggles with consistent content creation, customer management and channel stewardship, it’s worth considering ecommerce experience management solutions that provide end-to-end support.
Are you doing the same things over and over and expecting different results? It’s a common concern for many brands, especially those that have previously enjoyed sustained success but are now struggling to drive ROI in new markets.
Often, brands face a dual challenge when it comes to experimentation and innovation: Familiarity and frustration. Staff comfortable with familiar tools and tactics may be reticent about making changes, especially if there’s no guarantee they’ll deliver better results.
C-suite executives and managers, meanwhile, may express frustration at changes that could cause temporary drops in productivity and performance as staff get used to new processes.
Making room for innovation starts by anticipating resistance and preparing to meet it head-on. This begins with collecting employee feedback and identifying potential areas of pushback, but it’s also a great opportunity for ecommerce digital transformation — the right platform can help provide observable and verifiable proof that change delivers positive impact.
Ready to learn more about engaging digital customers to cultivate reciprocal relationships and drive conversion? Check out Salsify’s Guide to Product Experience Management.
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