The effects of COVID-19 are still being felt and will likely run through the upcoming holiday season. Some form of social distancing will still be in play for some of the biggest shopping days of the year. If your business relies on foot traffic for sales, now is the time to begin to retool your strategy to take advantage of online sales.
What is a Digital Storefront?
According to Forbes, there has been a 146% increase in all online retailers in the US and Canada. This data is primarily focused on retailers with a sophisticated digital storefront. A digital storefront is exactly as it sounds- the digital representation of your brand and its products or services.
Your digital storefront most likely includes your website, online catalog and shopping cart as well as social media pages, but it could mean much more. Mobile applications, inventory management systems as well as other applications are a part of your digital storefront. This means that the time and attention that is typically paid to your brick and mortar locations should also be paid to your online infrastructure.
Having an outdated digital design or an incomplete social page can damage your brand’s reputation. As the country continues to use distancing as a way to curb the virus, digital storefronts have become increasingly important in a business’ survival and sales success. Consider improving or revamping your digital storefront in time for the upcoming holiday season.
How Will COVID Impact the Holiday Season?
Due to fear of coronavirus exposure, 60% of consumers say that they will shop less in stores during the holidays. However, the same consumers say that they will spend the same this year as they did last year, pointing to an increase in online sales activity.
If you are selling a product or service, it’s vital that you meet your customers’ demand or you can expect them to find a competitor that does. That demand will focus on your digital storefront. Making sure that your online systems are well-vetted and ready for consumer activity is step one when it comes to preparing for the holiday season.
For the businesses who want to meet this demand head-on, we have included some tactics that you may want to include in your digital strategy.
How do I Create a More Impactful Digital Experience
88% of consumers do online research prior to purchasing a product or service. Having a website that is mobile adaptive, SEO optimized and ADA compliant and has a clean, modern design will give you a leg up this holiday season.
According to a study, 94% of users won’t trust a brand that has an outdated website. If your website hasn’t been updated within the past 2 to 3 years, it may be time to provide a facelift to your design and optimize your critical pages for stronger conversions.
Ask us about how a new website design helped once of our clients experience twice the conversions immediately after launch.
While updating or redesigning your website will build trust with potential customers, why not go the next step and reshape the buying journey to fit their needs and expectations? With a large part of the population avoiding brick and mortar storefronts, businesses will need to adapt and make products available online.
Establishing an online store will allow your business to serve your customers from a distance, making up for any lost sales traditionally run through your physical store location. Bed Bath and Beyond moved to an e-commerce sales strategy as soon as the pandemic hit in early 2020. They invested in their online infrastructure and saw e-commerce sales increase by 90% from the previous year. The move to a digital approach helped keep many stores open and the business itself in good standing.
Whether your business sells products that could simply be shipped to a customer or you provide a service that could reduce its customer contact through an online portal, an e-commerce solution would be a great way to increase brand loyalty and expand profitability.
Research shows that 89% of consumer media activity occurs on mobile apps. Mobile apps give your consumers a way to interact with your brand, like no other mobile platform. It’s a practical approach to provide a personalized, engaging user experience that keeps your brand top of mind.
Mobile apps offer much more than simply being available on a phone’s home screen. They allow you to gather more data on your customers, offer a more personalized experience which can increase conversion rate and, unlike your website, it offers the ability to send out push notifications on discounts, special offers and other important announcements.
Keeping the holiday season in mind, wouldn’t it be advantageous to develop a sales strategy that sent push notifications related to products in stock? For example, you may be selling a lot of hand sanitizers, but not anti-bacterial soap. Send a push notification about a sale on anti-bacterial soap to drive more sales traffic to the less popular products that you have in stock.
Don’t think of a mobile app as an extra bell and whistle. Think of it as a way to create more immersive customer engagement, manage inventory, create unique sales strategies and reinforce higher customer loyalty and retention.
The digital era was already forcing businesses to change to meet consumer demand, but the pandemic has expedited that change exponentially.
Data and Analytics
Based on a study by the McKinsey Global Institute, a data-driven organization is 23 times more likely to turn prospects in customers, 6 times more likely to retain them and 19 times more likely to generate a profit. Investing in data also means investing in automation.
From your marketing to operations to after-sale customer relations, business applications can streamline the customer experience and provide high-value insights that fuel your organization. Here are some examples of how data can improve your business:
- Using monitoring services to identify system failures, preventing delays in getting inventory out to customers.
- Analyzing consumer habits and sales data to refine product marketing, improve products or develop completely new ones.
If You Don’t Evolve, Remember, Your Competitor’s Will!
The digital era was already forcing businesses to change to meet consumer demand, but the pandemic has expedited that change even more. Traditional lines of communication and sales are just not cutting it in our current environment. The businesses that commit to a more streamlined digital strategy will make it much easier to gain market share and keep their doors open. If you want to take full advantage of current online sales opportunities and take full advantage of the opportunity of the upcoming holiday season, it’s time to invest in your business’ digital storefront.
Next Horizon provides holistic technology solutions for businesses looking to improve sales, increase agility and optimize productivity. From deploying dedicated development teams to building bespoke business applications, Next Horizon uses its 40+ years of experience and award-winning talent to provide technical business solutions for its clients.