E-commerce has been driving a massive change in retail due to increasing competition, demographics, and rising customer expectations. E-commerce industry still only represents 16 percent of total global retail value in early 2020. It will continue to expand, and ultimately take the lion’s share of growth in the retail industry.
This pandemic’s impact on online shopping demand has only added to mounting numbers. Self-isolation practices and lockdown mandates are dramatically changing consumption behavior. Based on the survey conducted by eMarketer, nearly half of consumers have shifted their spending towards online channels, across all categories ranging from grocery to apparel to electronics. Online orders are seeing 2-3 times year-on-year growth, whereas some retailers are even seeing increases of more than 20 times. Even online grocery, notable for its slow rate of customer adoption, has seen a massive increase in popularity over the past few months, driven by the desire for a contactless shopping experience.
Following factors should be considered while developing E-commerce customer proposition:
- Customer engagement: In today’s market, consumers have seemingly infinite options. Retailers must focus on creating opportunities to meaningfully interact with customers and provide seamless experiences across in-store and digital environments. This requires understanding what are the “jobs being done” by the shopper: what is the occasion that is prompting the shoppe and what is the specific need being met? Retailers must go back to the basics: listen to the customer and establish a strong brand built, into every customer touch point.
- Product and service offering: Many retailers think they need a broad portfolio to compete online but that should not be the case. Some companies such as Amazon, Walmart can offer everything whereas for most others, this is a trap. They must be smarter about where and how they compete. A portfolio of products customized to target customers adjusted for their priorities can evoke new online behaviors. It can be the distinction between a delightful customer experience and one that is overwhelming — with the added benefit internally of substantially streamlined operations.
- Channel structuring: Retailers often unconsciously compete with themselves by implementing e-commerce platforms that undermine their other channels. This can result in confusing product selection, inconsistent pricing, and poor service. Instead, when structuring e-commerce, companies should maintain consistency throughout distribution networks and continue focusing on the customer. Driving unique channel engagement and attraction through exclusive products or opportunities can create welcoming and differentiated experiences.
Once the customer proposition is defined, retailers must look at their operations in order to deliver the offerings effectively. E-commerce supply chains face challenges unlike anything faced by brick and mortar, for example volatile demand, small order sizes, returns, and remote customer contacts.
Retailers must consider e-commerce as a holistic process and align the commercial strategy to operational execution. E-commerce transformation will require decent investment and commitment from retailers in order to create efficient capabilities, sustainable but those that take the leap will create the platform for success.
“At PECS, we render unrivaled e-Commerce development services by creating cutting-edge online storefronts with our proficiency in using the latest tools / technologies. We build e-Commerce websites that are highly user-friendly and engaging for various business sectors across the globe”, quoted Mr. Puneet Gupta, Chief Operating Officer, PECS.