Global eCommerce spend is up 39% in April 2020 compared to April 2019. This rapid growth is understandably caused by the COVID-19 shutdowns, and is being fueled by increased online purchases for food, groceries, as well as health & sanitation items.
However, online sales for consumer durable goods during COVID-19 are actually down year on year. Many verticals like luxury goods, apparel, bags and accessories are all seeing a decrease in sales in April 2020 compared to April 2019.
After the initial panic buying is over, online purchases for food and health items will drop sharply and eCommerce sales will cool significantly over the summer. This decrease in demand combined with an expected high unemployment rate and a recession, that is likely to last until 2021 or longer, leads to a very uncertain future for eCommerce.
Many eCommerce companies will struggle in the upcoming months, but this also creates opportunities for brands that can adapt and innovate to come out ahead in the end. In the coming months, eCommerce will all be about retention and who can capture more market share. Here are some actions that eCommerce companies can take now to better prepare themselves and out-perform their competitors in a post-COVID-19 economy.
Focus on selling more overseas
The U.S. economy is expected to slow in the months ahead, resulting in fewer online purchases across all categories. Rather than desperately trying to stay afloat in a sinking ship, consumer brands should look into creating new revenue streams from abroad.
The pre-COVID-19 growth projections for online shopping in the United States was 14% YoY. This isn’t bad, but is quite low compared to the global average of 21%. US’ 14% looks even more meager when compared to the 30% projected growth in online shopping for Asian markets.
American eCommerce companies should take advantage of Asian consumers’ higher willingness to shop online. In addition, many Asian countries are currently enjoying a rapidly growing middle class and China’s ecommerce spend is projected to more than triple the US by 2021.
Best of all, studies have shown that Chinese consumers actually prefer American products and are willing to pay a premium to get them. This is an ideal time for American companies to sell to new emerging markets like South East Asia and companies can appeal to asian shoppers by offering better shipping options and making sure their merchandising includes models from diverse backgrounds.
Optimize for cross-device shopping
Most eCommerce managers already know the importance of cross-device shopping habits, yet the majority of eCommerce platforms still do not offer a seamless shopping experience across all devices.
According to Criteo, an online shopping research and advertising company:
- 65% of shoppers start on a mobile device with 61% of those continuing on a desktop
- 25% of shoppers start on a desktop with 20% of those continuing on a mobile device
- 10% of shoppers start on a tablet with 12% of those continuing on a desktop
As the data shows, consumer behavior is very diverse and it is common for a shopper to favorite a dress on Instagram using a mobile device, then come back on a desktop to view pictures and look for coupons. Companies need to make sure their marketing strategies are optimizing for these cross device interactions and keep shoppers interested along the way.
Sell a lifestyle, not just a product
Due to disruptions by COVID-19, people are going to feel a strong desire to reclaim control over their lives. Consumers will be looking for products that confirm or validate their lifestyles even during quarantine. Brands that can convince buyers that their products will connect them with their desired lifestyles will be able to win new customers and retain existing ones.
Companies need to make sure that the photography on their website shows off the right lifestyle and should showcase activities and locations that customers would visit if they were free to travel. This will strengthen a company’s brand’s connection with a lifestyle and can help companies show how their products can be enjoyed even while being indoors during quarantine.
Focus on photography to drive sales
A great picture is more powerful than any other tool in the fight to convert online window shoppers. Snappr commissioned Google to conduct a consumer survey asking which information customers found most important when shopping online. This study found that product photos were deemed 5.8x more important than reading product descriptions and even 7x more important than checking customer reviews.
Today’s online shoppers demand high-quality professional photos, and no eCommerce platform can expect to stay competitive without them. However, sourcing consistent high-quality photos can be quite a challenge when working with multiple product vendors and manufacturers.
Luckily, Snappr provides an all-in-one enterprise photography solution. With our massive network of professional photographers, Snappr for Business delivers quality edited photos at scale. If you are interested in learning more about how Snappr can help your brand succeed in a post-COVID-19 world, give us a call today.