How to drive retail sales in an eCommerce boom in three easy steps

By David Cooper, Marketing Manager, Fountain Partnership

There has never been a better time for retailers to ramp up their online presence, with Covid-19 speeding up online migration.

Even with restrictions now lifting, and the UK high street opening its doors once again, consumers have discovered the luxury of doing their shopping anywhere, at any time. Analysis of consumer behaviour proves retailers who already had a strong online presence will gain far more traction than those with limited or no online presence at all.

What role will physical stores now play?

Physical stores will still have a place, and for some industries they will always be a necessity, but they will need to embrace digital elements to ensure they evolve. Virtual shopping consultations, which have been experimented with during the lockdown period, may become more common – offering a personalised experience in a digital format.

Some stores may simply turn into collection points, similar to a click-and-collect style service, with the purchasing activity taking place online. The store will merely act as a holding point for the product like a spruced-up warehouse.

Retailers who recognise the need to offer an omnichannel approach to their customers will transform physical stores into ‘destinations’ where consumers will benefit from experiences such as live fashion shows or product demonstrations. Product purchasing will only play a small element.

Now is the time for the retail industry to truly innovate their customer experience. Consumer hesitance towards returning to in-store shopping, coupled with spending more time online resulting in greater confidence in online purchasing, means that retailers need to ensure a strong e-commerce strategy in order to future-proof their business.

Top tips to employing a digital marketing strategy for e-commerce

1. Increase your online presence

Firstly, you need to attract customers to your website, so ensure you have adequate online visibility.

Pay per click (PPC) ensures your adverts on Google and social media will gain maximum exposure, helping to keep you ahead of competitors when it comes to searches. It’s also beneficial to have tracking in place to analyse which adverts are generating the most revenue. During lockdown, the cost per click (CPC) for marketing campaigns dropped significantly meaning retailers were generating more revenue from lower rates coupled with an increased online audience.

Also utilise direct to consumer (DTC) marketplaces to open up alternative revenue streams to a wider audience.

If you have an app, incorporating in-app purchasing is also a great way to boost sales.

2. Ensure you are achieving a high conversion rate

When designing your website, it is important to consider how user-friendly it is from a customer perspective. Think about how the customer will navigate between your landing, buying and checkout pages. Utilising conversion rate optimisation (CRO) ensures your website is optimised to increase the likelihood of a customer following through from initial research and browsing to completing the actual purchase. If the click through rate isn’t pushing enough traffic to your website for the conversion rate to generate enough sales then this needs to be re-evaluated.

3. Competitor analysis

Employing competitor gap analysis will encourage you to look at your competitors websites to identify what they’re doing / what you’re missing.  Split test landing pages – taking the original and then adapting it via numerous additional ‘call to actions’ – to test what works and what needs to be included. Call to actions and shorter routes to buying are great ways of increasing conversion rates.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of retailers needing the agility to adapt their services to meet consumer needs – in this instance finding alternative ways of communicating with, and getting their products and services to, their customers when their customers could not come to them. Digital marketing allows you to do just this, and to identify the best strategy to increase your chances of turning a prospective buyer into a purchasing customer.

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