The world around us is changing rapidly, and many shifts happening in the world of commerce will be permanent. In the time of COVID-19, there are trends emerging that are likely to strengthen over time.
An already present behavior, COVID-19 has only accelerated people’s desire and need and ability to buy things online. Online shopping was already a multi-trillion dollar industry, and ecommerce sales are expected to hit $6.5 Trillion by 2023.
Prior to the pandemic, you may have noticed your local mall lacking traffic. Now, with many people afraid or unable to venture out for even the most basic needs, you can expect stores to be emptier than ever – all while savvy organizations thrive.
Over the past decade, people have come to value convenience, time-savings, and the ability to view social proof as more people buy online. That trend, combined with COVID-19 keeping people at home more often, has led to an unprecedented boom in online activity that is not likely to slow down any time soon. You can expect this shift in behavior to continue long past the resolution of the pandemic.
Rising ecommerce sales: where does that leave retailers?
There are plenty of opportunities created by these changes. However, there are several challenges that stores will need to address if they hope to remain competitive in today’s landscape.
Conversion rates are often lower online than in-store, as customers lack the ability to interact with staff and have their questions answered. Additionally, many people perform their research on mobile devices, which have an even lower conversion rate than desktop devices. These conversion rates have traditionally been at 0.9% and 3.2% respectively.
Companies should also consider the ways in which they are catering to a less tech-savvy audience. Due to COVID-19, many more people are shopping online than had previously done so – including the elderly who may not be as comfortable making purchases online.
Furthermore, many companies have realized the need to invest more in their ecommerce channels. That means increased competition and more difficulty in setting your company and offerings apart from the noise online. Other challenges include investing in the proper ecommerce tools and strategies, which many retail firms have lagged in doing previously.
The good news is that most companies have been preparing for this shift over time. You likely already have made investments in digital tools and have advertising sending traffic to your ecommerce site.
However, smart companies are going beyond just gaining traffic. To make the most of today’s trends and win more business, retail leaders need to consciously leverage content to engage with users and guide them through the customer journey to make a purchase. Consider the stages a potential buyer moves through – awareness, consideration, purchase – and how best to reach them through the screen in each phase.
Large retailers have already embraced omnichannel experiences. For example, thanks to Walmart’s previous ecommerce investments, which helped them take advantage of current trends, the company reported a whopping 97% increase in online sales during Q2 of 2020.
Chances are, you already have the infrastructure in place to make it easy for customers to purchase online. Take things a step further by replicating the steps that a customer would likely take in the store. Users want the ability to ask questions and have them answered, understand details about the product, and learn what other people liked and didn’t like about the product
Authentic, user-generated videos are one way to make the ecommerce experience mirror an in-store shopping excursion while establishing the trust necessary to pull the trigger on purchases. With these videos, you can highlight real videos from real people using your products.
We know that people like to read reviews before they buy a product, but how much more convincing would a live video with a real person be? Video is richer than text-only reviews, and in fact are much more trustworthy since savvy consumers now realize reviews can be bought and many companies use fake accounts to generate reviews.
Studies show that fake reviews are increasingly prevalent. (One report shared that 30 percent of Amazon reviews are fake or unreliable). Seeing real people on video sharing authentic experiences helps to rebuild that trust. Additionally, being able to see the product in action and hear about the positives from a real customer can help replace the experience of being in-person and handling the product themselves. Understanding real experiences with the product will help shoppers in each stage of the customer journey, especially the consideration and purchase stages.
Another strategy is to have your sales staff or customers develop videos with Q&A or product demonstrations. Without the ability to discuss options live with staff, viewing a video that shares this information is the next best thing. Q&A videos are proven to increase engagement, and they’re a great way to empower your sales team to do what they do best – share the passion they have for your products.
StoryTap makes it easy to create multiple Q&A videos at scale and embed them in the right places on your website. It’s a safe assumption that whether your customers are shopping in-person or online, they will have questions about your offering. It’s up to ecommerce leaders to be proactive in generating these answers, rather than leaving potential customers wondering and perhaps searching elsewhere for information.
At StoryTap, we understand that the retail world is facing an unprecedented shift. Now is the time that will set companies on their best trajectory yet – or permanently put them out of business. We work alongside retail brands to navigate this new landscape and help them to better engage with their customers through video. We help brands create, collect, and distribute authentic video that will ensure the best ecommerce experience for every potential customer. If your company wants to drive more sales using authentic video content, set up a demo of StoryTap today.