It’s normal for us to feel anxious and worried in times of uncertainty. This could be for our health, our economic situation, or the future of the world. It is common to look around and see how others are handling the situation. This applies to both our professional and personal lives.
Nosto has been trying to determine what our view is on the current state of ecommerce and the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic. We first looked at data, as most technology providers in retail. We believed that if we shared what we see, retailers and brands could learn what to expect in order to help them navigate the new environment.
Data is one of most powerful tools that can help us as humans to better understand the world around. However, many suppliers have already started rolling out data pieces to help us make sense of our new normal.
ContentSquare has been publishing blog posts that quickly became an ongoing series called Impact on eCommerce. It fluctuates between a roundup across different verticals as well as deep dives into single Verticals like grocery.
Klaviyo has launched an ongoing survey that aims to engage the ecommerce community in the coming days and weeks to keep track of what is happening in the ecommerce industry.
Marketing Land published an article which examines data from Quantum Metric. It essentially states what many retail professionals feel. We can all release and look at the data, but it is difficult to predict how things will be in two weeks or six months.
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We will continue to analyze and share our data. Instead of sharing more data that tells the same story as these great resources, we have decided to compile a list with inspirational ideas about how consumers and each other can help in times of increased panic and fear.
1. Bundle offers can be created with retailers or brands that sell complementary products.
It has become clear that different ecommerce verticals have seen vastly different shifts in customers’ behavior. Essentials and home goods generally see an increase in traffic and sales, while fashion and sporting goods tend to show a downward trend.
Brands that are experiencing an increase in sales in the aftermath of the Coronavirus outbreak can partner with retailers in the same vertical to expand their reach and boost consumer sentiment. One example of such a partnership is an online beer retailer, who seem to be experiencing an increase in traffic to their site and increased sales overall similar to essentials. They partner with a kitchenware store to offer a discount for beer glass sets. To advertise the deal, the online beer retailer could use personalized messaging to send customers to their kitchenware retailer. The online kitchenware retailer could also place a banner or pop-up on their beer glass page, which would alert shoppers to the offer and encourage them to shop at the beer retailer.
2. Partner with local nonprofits and health organizations to get involved.
It is obvious that not all areas are affected at the same time or with the same severity. Humans feel closer to the area they know best. You can use customer data to send localized banners or pop-ups to inform customers that you are partnering with a non-profit or health organization that is working in the area to fight the epidemic or care for the community. You can show shoppers that you care about your local community by giving them the opportunity to donate with their purchase. It can make a big difference to give consumers an easy way to help their community in times when it is most needed.
3. To find the most relevant items in the current climate, organize category pages.
Online retailers may not be able to fit into certain verticals that are being negatively or positively affected by the outbreak. One example is if a retailer sells products that are essential and others that aren’t. You can make shopping as easy and enjoyable as possible by rearranging category pages manually or automatically to highlight the products that shoppers are most interested in. You can also do this for essential products that are out of stock. You might want to push similar products that are in stock to the top of your page, or push out-of-stock products to the top to let people know they are gone.
4. Prioritize inventory filtering when making product recommendations.
You could also showcase product recommendations on out of stock product detail pages to direct shoppers to in-stock substitute items. This helps shoppers navigate through stores with chaotic stock levels and makes shopping easier.
5. Pivot with dynamic content to shed new light on non-essential products
The lives of consumers have changed overnight. They work from home. They can’t go to bars or restaurants. Many times, they haven’t seen friends for days or even weeks. They are in survival mode but also seeking guidance to help them navigate their new life. The message or visuals that help shoppers see products in a different light might be what they need to make the decision that they don’t need the new coffee machine or desk lamp for their new work from home lifestyle.
6. In times of economic turmoil, discount products can be used to ease their financial burden.
You can lower the price of products that are desirable and not necessary to make it more affordable for shoppers who are under economic pressure. You can also discount other products in high demand right now, to keep these products in high demand. You can keep sales from dropping too much by discounting items that are in low demand. This will allow shoppers to purchase products they may otherwise have to give up.
7. You can add service and delivery messages to banners and carts.
Personal messaging can be added to your banners and pop-ups. This will keep shoppers informed about the status of your shipping and inventory. It is essential to provide customers with timely information about what is and what isn’t currently available to ensure frictionless shopping. It’s vital to inform shoppers about changes in stock and shipping availability as they change rapidly.
8. You can keep in touch with your customers by sending them relevant communications off-site.
To maintain loyalty during difficult times, it is important to send SMS or email communications to customers to update them on your current status and policies. It is unlikely that people will go out of their way for brands they like right now. Reaching out to them to let them know how you feel about them can help to show your appreciation.
9. With payment options, you can lower the barrier to affordability.
Multiple payment options are available to shoppers to allow them to pay in one or multiple installments. This allows those who don’t know their financial future to be able to spend less upfront.
10. To create a sense community, highlight user-generated content.
To increase the sense of community among loyal customers, make sure to include user-generated content on your website and in offsite communications. You can make it easy for shoppers to feel connected with other people who love your brand by incorporating user-generated content into your homepage visuals. In times like these, everyone could benefit from some community and customers will always remember your efforts to bring them together.
We will publish a weekly roundup of the positive steps we, as a community, are taking to counter the increasing sense of anxiety and economic turmoil. It’s a small, but significant disruption to panicked news feeds. It shines the spotlight upon the positive work of many people and the ways that we can all come together to improve the community.