Why the Retail Industry May Come Out of the Pandemic Stronger Than Ever
E-commerce is huge. If you are in the retail industry and you aren’t integrating technology in your sales and advertising, you’re missing out on money-making opportunities.
Because retail and technology are so well integrated, new trends and platforms are constantly developing. Here are some updates every retail company should be aware of.
Technology Keeping Retail Alive in the Midst of the Pandemic
There is no doubt that technology has played a vital role in the survival of many retail companies during the pandemic. Between the lockdowns and the people who are unwilling to leave their homes to shop, stores had to count on e-commerce to move their items and generate income.
The problem is that the lack of an in-store, in-person experience makes it easy for one company to blend in with another. So what does one do to stand out?
Providing an excellent online customer experience can help. Customers should be able to buy items quickly and easily. This can be achieved through an Omni-system that makes shopping seamless.
Now that the pandemic is becoming more manageable, retailers are also trying to get people back into their stores. This requires technology that will allow shoppers to get in and out quickly so they are not hanging around on long lines and running the risk of increasing the spread.
Lightspeed’s Retail Point of Sale System is one service that is answering the call. This tool provides an intuitive touchscreen that allows cashiers to handle sales quickly.
It also offers the tools to build websites that are optimized to increase conversions as well as customer data that allows retailers to create marketing materials and provide products and services that are best suited to the needs of their target audience.
The customization offers a personalized experience that more closely simulates in-store shopping.
Looking Back at Cyber Week to Determine Current PPC Trends
Cyber week (the week spanning from Black Friday to Cyber Monday) is a major one for retailers. Now we are well past the Cyber Week of 2020 (which will likely always be known as Cyber Week of the Pandemic), but the strategies retailers implemented may be telling of what we can look forward to in the foreseeable future.
Here are some trends that may be emerging.
Early Advertising: Many consumers rolled their eyes when they saw Christmas items rolling out before Halloween was even over. However, this was a necessary sign of the times.
With supply chains running out so quickly, they urged retailers to advertise early ensuring they would have enough supply to fill the demand.
Retailers were also relying heavily on analytics to see how targeting was going, what they should be cutting back on, and where they should be spending their money. Early advertising helped them catch trends in their developing stages so they could adjust accordingly.
Ad Features and Alerts in Place: With advertisers getting the word out early, there was plenty of time to plan for ads that would be effective in COVID times. This included dedicated landing pages to go live, promotions, promotion extensions, and other marketing features.
Badges and annotations were added to advertise curbside pickup and in-store availability. More dynamic search ads campaigns were launched to provide optimal ability to mine keywords.
Some brands partnered with Yelp and Narrative to expand search footprints. This resulted in an increased need for efficiency as more channels were being managed.
Flexibility: If the pandemic taught retailers anything, it’s the importance of adjustability. The pandemic has thrown us all for a loop and, in the case of retail, even the best-laid plans can go awry.
Many retailers planned well in advance with automated campaigns. But it wasn’t until the day of the sale that they could determine whether they were running hot or cold.
Businesses exercised patience in seeing things out but were prepared to activate backup plans when necessary.
Improving Web Sites to Provide a More Engaging E-Commerce Experience
With the pandemic raging on, now is the time to make web sites more engaging than ever. Here are some ways retailers are providing a rich visual experience.
Showcase Your Products in a 360 Degree Video Format: Customers are staying out of stores and that means they don’t have the opportunity to pick up products and view them from every angle. Retailers can make up for this by showcasing products in a 360 Degree video format that will allow consumers to see them from the front, back and sides. Advanced zoom features can also help to this end.
Integrate Shoppable Videos and Micro-Videos: Video is a great medium for showcasing products. The new trend of shoppable videos enhances the shopper experience by providing links that can take viewers to the product’s exact location so they can attain more information and even made a purchase.
Micro-videos are five to twenty seconds long appealing to shoppers with short attention spans. They sum up product details in a nutshell and can serve as a valuable way to boost conversions.
Use Micro-browsers: It is not uncommon for people to send links with products that they have their eye on to friends and relatives. This activity often occurs during holiday seasons when people are sending over gift wish lists. The links typically travel via Slack, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp.
When brands are designing their e-commerce sites, they often overlook the sales potential that could be generated if these links provide a preview that may come in the form of a thumbnail image or video. Making sure the website is designed with these previews in mind can boost peer-to-peer recommendations and conversions.
The coronavirus pandemic has thrown all of us for a loop, but it has come with its share of silver linings. In terms of the retail industry, it has provided brands with the ability to adapt and to design more engaging web sites. It has given them the insight to create detail-oriented ads and to work better with supply chain partners.
Now that an end to the pandemic is in sight, these developments will continue to make the retail industry a force to be reckoned with. The integration of new technology is on track to boost conversions for years to come, both online and in brick-and-mortar locations.