It’s no secret that ecommerce use skyrocketed during the pandemic. In a time when the public was encouraged to stay home as much as possible and avoid human interaction, ecommerce seemed like the easiest and safest way to make purchases. The latest Digital Economy Index (DEI) from Adobe found that online spending totaled $77 billion above what was predicted, bringing the first half of 2020’s ecommerce totals to $368.8 billion.
So who made up the bulk of that spending? According to Adobe, new and returning customers. New customers were classified as people who have never used the ecommerce portal before while returning customers have used the service but only one time prior. Loyal customer usage also increased but not as significantly. The most prominent usage rates were throughout May, when 35 states were under Stay at Home Orders for at least part of the month.
Consumers want shopping experiences that are fast and easy. During the pandemic, shoppers were highly encouraged to wear masks while shopping and disinfect frequently. Those actions can take away from the ease of in-store shopping experiences. Instead, consumers opted to shop online from the comfort of their own homes and capitalized on the convenience of fast shipping – something 76% of consumers say is part of a positive shopping experience.
Adobe’s DEI saw a 33% increase in online shopping cart size throughout March. Our 2020 B2C Report found that 54% of consumers believe having a wide range of stock available contributes to a positive experience in brick and mortar retailers. With product shortages plaguing many stores both in-person and online, consumers likely turned to online platforms where they could monitor whether or not the product was in-stock, something brick and mortar stores aren’t able to provide accurately.
While the spike in new customers is great, companies should leverage these newly acquired purchasers to build their loyal customer base. To do so, companies must fully understand their market’s desires. Three areas stand out: convenience, personalized features, and consumer confidence.
Convenience in the digital commerce space is characterized by easy returns, fast shipping and an easy delivery process – the top three indicators of a positive brand experience in 2020. Making those features a reality will likely mean optimizing existing processes or adopting a new technology altogether.
Personalization is no longer a “nice” feature, it’s necessary. More than one third of survey respondents said they expected personalized product recommendations on company websites. Of course, companies must be strategic about how they implement and roll out these changes to ensure they reach customers in a way that is meaningful to them.
If a consumer isn’t confident in their purchase or the company, the chances of them making a purchase are slim. Having the option to return a product instills a bit of confidence knowing they won’t be stuck with the product if they aren’t satisfied. Likewise, encourage customers to leave reviews on the website. Having a company with plenty of reviews leans into the legitimacy and quality of the product and company. Finally, having accurate, clear product information (including sizing, comparisons, etc.) will reassure customers that they have everything they need to make the right purchase.
The ability to turn new customers into repeat customers lies largely in the experience they have with the company. Was their order shipped on time? Was there transparent communication? Was the shopping experience catered to them as an individual? The more companies focus on these basic interactions, the more likely they are to grow their customer loyalty.
Not sure where your company stacks up? Learn how digitally native brands and traditional retailers can learn from one another to succeed in our latest data study.