Over the last few months, it’s become clear to everyone how important an online presence is. We’ve always known and been vocal about how beneficial it is to have an e commerce shop for a brand. If you consider how you shop, it was probably increasingly online even pre lockdown. The benefits for a user is that it’s zero hassle – with fast delivery and free returns, it can be a way to buy something, for instance a new dress, try on multiple dresses from different stores all at once at home, then return what they don’t like. For the brand, it’s a way to increase sales without the need for as many brick and mortar stores, it’s well branded so that it reflects an in person experience in a store and in many cases, actually alleviates the need for a store, being online only.
The High Street
And now? Well, it’s anyone’s guess how the high street will recover, but one thing is clear – lockdown and social distancing measures will change ideas about e commerce stores. It’s clear how valuable and how lucrative they can be, major brands and small boutiques alike have turned to selling online to keep sales happening during the lockdown period. If you’ve been on Facebook, you might have even seen smaller brands doing a delivery service for the local area, showing you round via video calls to pick items to then drop, socially distanced, on your doorstep. It’s a clever way to keep compliant and afloat, but it highlights the need for an online store with a streamlined checkout process. Despite shoppers returning to the high street, it has changed the way many think of stores – what used to be the benefit of them, seeing the piece in real life has been stripped away by (necessary) shopping regulations, an increased anxiety of being in enclosed environments with fellow shoppers.
Let’s go online
The Drum gave stats on this, 50% of customers are shopping on digital channels for items they’ve never bought online before. It makes sense when we can’t just pop to the shops that we’d turn online, but moving forward, do you think we’ll do the same? The ease and speed of the online shop means e commerce stores do win out over travelling to an in real life store to get the same product. 70% of people are purchasing more than usual, perhaps due to the time they have to browse, the money not being spent on going out is being spent online, an increase in time at home leading to more projects in the home, on crafting, gaming etc. 90% of customers claim that their behaviours are different from before the pandemic, avoiding stores, not going into stores if they don’t really need anything additional to a few bits and bobs you’d previously have popped to the shops for, and shopping online as much as possible.
For our customers that have moved towards having a dual presence both on and offline, it’s clear this is the case. One of our clients is up over 600% on sales in the same month the previous year. It’s a number that doesn’t even seem possible to have increased that much and others have claimed it’s as good as Christmas sales.
Moving forward, though retail is beginning to tentatively reopen, it’s clear it’s not in the same way as before. Kantar predicts that in the year ahead, e commerce will continue to outperform retail in the year ahead. 33% households believe they’ll continue to increase the amount of online purchases which we assume will grow further as more brands are making their products available online as we all continue to adapt to the World as events unfold. These figures increase to 40% for a sustainability conscious shopper who has more options when shopping online and 45% for households with children. 80% households say they’ll continue to shop for non essentials online in 2020.
Offline experience, online
It’s worth noting that it’s more than just having an online presence – it has got to be reflective of the experience a customer would find in store. There’s got to be a good design that reflects you and your branding, the experience from landing on the site to finding what they like and then to checkout needs to be seamless and fuss free. The browsing experience needs to be good – if you consider how you shop it’s one of two ways, you’re either after something specific or you want to just have a look and a scroll – so both needs to be catered for.
We have a number of case studies that show our e commerce shops, from Wensleydale Cheese keeping us all going with cheese deliveries throughout lockdown to Kendalls Jewellers, who we love to just scroll through and find dazzling diamonds and timeless vintage watches to obsess over, there’s some great online experiences to have a look at. That’s what we want them to be – an experience, with no customer service or experience lost by shopping online in place of an in person visit. Moving forward in a world shook by the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re all looking to long term adapt to that and how we can continue to shop both on and offline.
Remember to check out our e commerce case studies, if you’d like to discuss a potential e commerce shop for your brand, get in touch, we’d love to (digitally) chat!