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Customer Experience ecommerce

It’s time to expand your Ecommerce capabilities now

More than ever, the time to expand your Ecommerce platform is now. When physical stores are closed by government order, even though they will open as things get back to normal, online shopping is the way for consumers to buy products. If you have not transformed your Digital Commerce yet, you are missing out on this opportunity.

We are in the middle of an unprecedented crisis and the challenges faced by retail companies are greater than ever before. What do we see as a sustainable model for retailers? Where do they see opportunities and want to invest?

More than ever, the time to start your E-commerce platform is now. When physical stores are closed by government order, even though they will open as things get back to normal, online shopping is the way for consumers to buy products. If you have not transformed your Digital Commerce yet, you are missing out on this opportunity.

Impact on big retailers

The impact on big retailers in EMEA is huge. Danish retailer Bestseller (Vero Moda, Only, and Jack&Jones), Swedish retailer H&M, sports brand Adidas, and the electronics retailer Ceconomy (MediaMarkt and Saturn), are struggling with profitability. With physical stores closed and public and sport events canceled, all are increasingly looking at Ecommerce as a growth channel.

And we can only assume that once the crisis is under control, shopping streets and malls will be reformed. Government measurements to ensure public health must be in place and therefore fewer shoppers will be allowed in stores and malls.

And, there is also the change of the customer and their call for proof of “clean” products and services. The customer will only buy products and services if the seller can show clearly how the product was safely produced, transported, and delivered to the customer. Of course, this applies mainly for food, but also to clothes and electronics. Customer trust in a brand just became crucial.

We can safely say that the impact of COVID-19 on big retailers is huge. And, on top of that, there is a threat from global Ecommerce giants such as Amazon and Alibaba as they enter the Benelux market.

Retail is changing rapidly: Transforming stores as Ecommerce distribution centers

The COVID-19 crisis is only speeding up the change in retail. Where Ecommerce was growing at a steady pace for the last few years, now with people instructed to stay home, consumers are buying online more than ever. They’re going online to buy groceries, cleaning products, fitness equipment, and other items while retail stores remain closed.

An online tracker by Emarsys and GoodData illustrates how fast Ecommerce has grown during the crisis. In western and central Europe between March 29 and April 12, retailers with physical stores saw online orders increase from 52% to 76% compared to the same period last year.

Because of that spike in Ecommerce during this crisis, Dutch retailer HEMA is transforming its stores into Ecommerce distribution centers. Temporary? Maybe, but it shows the shift in the retail market.

After the crisis, will consumers be even more critical, more demanding, and, above all, will they be buying face to face? In the new world of “working from home,” consumers are getting used to doing business online. Even consumers preferring face-to-face business before are now forced to do explore the online and digital world.

The question now is: “Are you ready for the new world?” Before the crisis, many brands and retailers were already struggling to keep up in the digital transformation path to Ecommerce. So, what about after this crisis? How are you changing your business model to the changing retail market?

Not just an online store? Order management, supply chain, e-fulfillment, and delivery are equally important

As part of your E-commerce site, you need to build a seamless commerce experience for your customers. You want to better understand the needs of our customers by asking for feedback on the order process, the products delivered, or contact with customer services.

Next, you want to target your customers with personalized digital marketing campaigns based on shopping behavior online and instore. You want to build a loyal client base with loyalty campaigns to send your customer shopping vouchers or discount coupons. And, you want your customer service channel connected with the online channels to build a 360º customer profile and recognize them when they call your service center.

Today, online retailers are increasingly looking to strengthen their fulfillment and delivery modes as they explore direct-to-consumer channels. At the same time, retailers realize the significance of further streamlining their supply-chain and order-management systems to help them handle dynamic customer demands.

By Martijn van Deel

I have over 12 years of experience in Commerce and Digital Marketing. I designed and built Ecommerce platforms and Digital Customer Experience platforms with technology from SAP.

I am successful because I understand people and technology and can bring them together. I am a good listener and people feel heard and they repay me with their trust.

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