If you were asked what businesses did during the height of the pandemic, you may have said that they shut up shops and faced a decline. While it is true that many retailers temporarily closed their physical stores due to stay-at-home orders and mandatory non-essential business closures some online-only retailers witnessed higher sales.
Our own clients have shown us that during a pandemic, recession or period of unrest, sales are still there to be made, customers are ready to be engaged and plenty can be done to build the blocks to create an unrivalled shopping experience for the future. What lessons can be learned?
Your omni channel e-commerce platform is everything.
One of the first wake up calls for many was that their legacy systems were inadequate to address today’s omnichannel challenges. Things like accessing real-time stock position and feedback to create optimal order flow, efficient fulfillment processes and the need for inventory flexibility were all challenges brought sharply about in March 2020.
The appetite for sales was still there
Whilst the general observer of retail and marketing might have presumed that everyone in marketing and sales within retail shut up shop, metaphorically and physically, stats from Marketing Week have shown that during the pandemic, online advertising spend was either maintained or even increased. That means online search, display, paid social and organic social all grew, or maintained their pre March levels.
In short, businesses knew it was possible to thrive, with potential customers furloughed, at home or simply looking to pick up a treat to raise their spirits, and online brands were in a prime position to not only stay open, but to excel by raising their promotions direct to consumers.
What does the future hold for savvy retailers?
The future for 2020/2021 is far more focused on the customer experience, which is why many companies are choosing to migrate their historic platforms and move to a cloud hosted API first eCommerce platform.
The ideal situation is to create tailored journeys for customers. This could mean the ability to create personalized promotions based on the user’s affinity metrics (perhaps product, category or brand), channel mapping against each visits to ascertain the best marketing channels and to work on gathering dynamic engagement scoring based on the user activities on the website.
Because BetterCommerce offers all of these functions, we expect to see a sharp uptake in migrations.
Smart businesses moved operations, systems and data into one place – even during the pandemic.
At BetterCommerce, we were already well underway with our rebrand from OmniCX and due to the power of technology, transitioned to remote working effortlessly, which boded well due to the influx of clients looking to enhance their business operations.
Some of the key issues that businesses were facing at the start of the pandemic were unexpected traffic spikes, tracking customer actions, conversion rate optimisation and ensuring total alignment between store stock and online stock.
We worked very closely with two clients and their results have been staggering.
Case Study: The Fragrance Shop – An Increase of daily sales by 200%
The Fragrance Shop has over 200+ stores across the UK, 130 fragrance brands and 4 sales channels. By choosing BetterCommerce as their platform, they have driven exponential online business growth and maintained the position as one of the UK’s largest independent fragrance retailers. The brand was still attracting around 4,000+ concurrent users with 60+ orders per minute and because they had re-platformed to BetterCommerce, this was achieved without issues.
Because the platform also allowed them to integrate 200 stores under one system, there was total visibility and they could gain better insights with a customer 360 view for users across the enterprise & all channels, devices and activities. The use of a wish list is a strong necessity in this field, and by re-platforming, users are able to move items from Wishlist to Basket and vice versa with one click, and also have the ability to access ‘save for later functionality ‘ in the basket.
Easy integration with several payment gateways all build trust within the brand and the ability to check in store stock – integrated with the backend inventory system all completes the omnichannel journey.
Following re-platforming, The Fragrance Shop was able to achieve a 60% conversion rate increase, 50% growth in revenue and traffic per year, and 5x online revenue growth in 3 years.
Despite the pandemic, The Fragrance Shop are in a strong position and are preparing for their Black Friday sale.
Case Study: Migrating for success – Forever Unique
Forever Unique are a fashion brand who are constantly spotted on celebrities. As you can imagine, whilst fashion seemed to slow down and leisure wear was on the rise, there is nothing like the power of an influencer to drive sales.
Before migrating, the company had a disjointed and overwhelming tech stack featuring Magento, Prima Solutions and many plugins that slowed the team and business down and they lacked the modern essentials such as product recommendations, abandoned cart, up-sell/cross-sell, and content management to enhance sales. The order management was chaotic if nothing else and getting clear view of stock was not so easy. Updating inventory on Magento website often lead to downtime once/twice a day.
Using a range of tools they can now recover abandoned carts using the cart monitoring tool and have a configurable email campaign to be run on these. Their manual promo code access also means unique voucher codes can be generated against a promotion and applied / restricted per channel.
This allows instant access to discounts upon site entry, increasing email sign ups.
On a product level, discounts are shown, all on a responsive UI with a fast an accurate search function.
As you can see, the pandemic itself represented an opportunity for many retailers. As the future is uncertain, we hope that businesses will take heart in how simple and easy it is to move towards a new cloud commerce solution as a more efficient system that brings in sales, opportunities and long term benefits.
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