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In times of crisis – whether small or large – leaders have two responsibilities: to lead it and to lead it.

The most successful leaders are able to balance the needs-based crisis movement at the moment, while at the same time working to set the business up for post-crisis success.

Harvard Business Review research looks at the recovery of the recession to find it careful balance between cutting costs and investing in growth was the best indicator of surviving a healthy recession.

What should this investment look like for your business in the future?

Short answer, according to Bloomreach a Brian Walker, Chief Strategy Officer, is as follows:

“In short, emphasize digital and e-commerce. Consumers, of course, gravitate to the Internet for both basic and discretionary spending. And those digital shopping habits picked up today will become even more ingrained. The effectiveness of e-commerce and digital marketing will be crucial not only for your network numbers, but also for your overall overall results and earnings. “

Once stores start reopening, the chances of occasional social distancing orders – as much as potential consumers are wary of returning to crowded stores, at least initially – will make e-commerce a necessary part of your business.

In this article, we’ll talk about why a compelling digital experience could be the investment you need to strengthen your market position after a pandemic. Then find six steps to improve your online presence and differentiate your brand in an increasingly competitive market.

COVID-19 has a significant impact on shopping habits

By now you’ve probably heard the big limitations:

  • Stops and orders at home have forced large-scale online commercial activity.
  • Things in everyday activities have shifted the level of demand in categories – some up, some down.
  • The significance of this crisis in our daily lives is likely to have a lasting impact on what, what and why we buy.

Dig into some data instead.

This graph provided by Bloomreach shows some new trends as people respond to this widely shared experience.

1. Food trade is a significant part of e-commerce.

In the early weeks of the pandemic, utilitarian motivations took hold of the spotlight, and needs like toilet paper flew off the shelves as consumers tried to find some form of control in an unprecedented situation.

Although Grocery was initially a significant player in the e-commerce space, you can see in the chart above how vertical sales jumped in late February. The climax was the second week of March, exactly at the time the asylum directives began. At the same time, there was a significant drop in clothing and a weakening of both Luxury.

2. Discretionary spending is slowly returning, with an emphasis on home.

As time went on, the anxieties fit somewhat into the new routine, triggering a slow return of discretionary spending. Based on the steady rise in furniture and home products starting in early April, the main priorities of consumers were to make their daily lives more comfortable at home. A few weeks later you can see both Clothing and Luxury starting to recover.

3. B2B companies are struggling to balance supply and demand.

The data shows an initial jump in B2B sales – then a big drop, as suppliers are trying to keep up with demand, and distributors have experienced shortages and stocks in stock.

4. Shopping goes online.

Internet traffic has to tell a much simpler story than online sales. “Each segment records an increase in total turnover from year to year,” Walker said. “Consumers are adapting to the situation and becoming digital.”

Digital traffic

Books could be written about all the influences of this book (and probably will be) coronavirus on trade consumption activities, but for the purposes of this article we focus on the first mentioned first larger company: the shift towards e-commerce.

Trade after COVID-19

The remaining unknowns prevent people from making some educated predictions about what the trade will look like Covide-19 makes a significant withdrawal.

economist predicts it is a pandemic and our responses to this will “accelerate” the vigorous adoption of new technologies “and companies are escalating their efforts at digital transformation.

It is poorly clear that, even as we return to normal life, we will turn to the digital overweight person when this is possible for a very long time. For brands that are more focused on masonry than walls, this is a great opportunity to dive into expanding their digital presence and evolving along with consumer behavior at this unprecedented time.

The share of retail sales in e-commerce has already grown – but the pandemic will almost certainly accelerate that growth in the coming years.

“Digitally mature organizations have a greater advantage and are better able to survive this storm,” says Walker, based on insights from Bloomreach’s data, “What is happening now will have long-term consequences on post-purchase behavior after COVID.”

Customer experience is a differentiator

More people shopping online brings more potential, but it also brings more competition. Brands that are already focused on e-commerce may see some new retailers on their competitive radars.

As we progress further toward the world of digital digital networking, brands will need to do more to provide customers with a rich and compelling shopping experience that grabs their attention and drives them to come back for more.

The good news is that providing a customer experience will also help you.

Walker suggests that brands are poised to be “different from compelling digital experiences, as well as those that connect channels for fulfillment, such as for a fee or at the point of sale. ”

He continues: “Amazon and other major aggregators will seek to take a larger share of the e-commerce cake. Start thinking about how to cross-share digital commerce to differentiate yourself from curated, highly personalized experiences that connect emotionally with customers. Forget about the roles on the table of clear communication, great searches and friction-free check-outs. “

The more experiential elements you incorporate into your digital properties, the more you will engage your customers. Such engagement with your brand will positively impact brand perception and help them better understand your products and services. It can also have more tangible benefits, such as increasing conversion rates and customer loyalty.

Steps to create the best digital experience for your brand

“Experience” is one of those words that can mean so many things that it starts to feel vague and rude. So, look at what “experience” actually means in the context of e-commerce.

The experience is ongoing, as opposed to a one-time activity, and involves much more than just conversion. The holistic experience will involve multiple sensory inputs or other ways to connect users to the brand – the focus is on the journey, not just the final transaction.

The possibilities for enriching the digital experience for your consumers are almost limitless. Admittedly, it can be overwhelming – and you have to walk before you run. Here are the steps we suggest to start creating the intended experience.

1. Assess the current state of your website.

Before you start processing, you should take care of the necessary repairs and impurities. Be sure to update all your technology and still give it value – or get rid of it before it becomes a security concern.

Then you can start thinking about how to improve your digital assets to create a rich and compelling shopping experience.

Competitor analysis

Take a close look at your competitors ’stores. How do they revive their brand experience? How do they position their products? What tools and tactics do they use to increase conversions and retention? You want to copy your competitors, but you need to offer a comparable experience in both form and function.

Mobile readiness

Mobile e-commerce traffic continues to grow, and the proliferation of payment options makes it easier than ever to complete a customer’s journey on a smartphone. Take the time to research your mobile shopping experience and identify any friction points you can remove.

Website speed

Some of you may remember the early days of media streaming and the terrible word: “buffering”. The low speed of loading pages on your website will frustrate the user right through the digital door – and will have a negative impact on your SEO.

2. Optimize for conversions.

As long as your site is running long enough to be able to provide a sustainable amount of traffic, you can perform conversion rate optimization revision, CRO Auditing will help you take a closer look at the moments that drive or interrupt conversions on your e-commerce site.

Take a look at your web analytics in the last six months to a year. Are there any teachings you can take from data along the way – such as abandoned carts or homepage abandonment rates – that you can use to improve user experience?

Calls for action

In just two to four words, a HAT it must encourage user action with a clear message about how it develops in them – which coincides with their personal motives for buying. Use action verbs and emphasize value to discuss what to do and why.

Design also plays an important role in CTAs. Make sure the button size is proportional to the rest of the text, and leave some white space around the border. You want it to stand out.

You can now further optimize your CTAs through A / B testingFor example, if you have rectangular CTAs, you may want to test for a version with rounded edges. Or you can compare performance between “Buy Now!” vs “Let them be yours today!” Simply check just one change at a time to know how each change affects performance.

Product category structure

The way your products are categorized and presented in the main navigation on your homepage will have a big impact on the perception, experience and ability of your users to find what they want and need. For best usability, you want to keep categories specific enough to have meaning, but without “over-categorization”.

Testimonials

Highlighting testimonials can be an important factor in your conversions, as customers have shown a positive response to social evidence. 79% of people they say that user-generated content, which shows social evidence showing the actual experiences of customers, greatly influences their purchasing decisions. And that makes sense. The biggest challenge of e-commerce is selling a tactile product to someone invisible. Testimonials product reviews serve as a way to prove product evidence and make claims.

Check-out process

The challenge with the checkout process is that it has to move by overlapping between getting enough information from the user to complete the transaction and not asking so much that the user gets frustrated and leaves their cart. 21% of US online shoppers have reported leaving the wheelchair due to too long or complicated check-out process.

3. Develop an SEO strategy.

SEO task task, procedure. And never too late to start. Even if you have strong SEO performance, always have room to optimize this valuable area.

While SEO may initially seem like an unlikely way to improve the digital customer experience, it actually plays a big role in things like the speed of your site, your customers ’ability to find your website, the ability to quickly find needed products – either by searching or matching categorization.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the process of verifying that your site is optimized for indexing and crawling. This can be a bit complicated and you may want to consult a professional – but why not now? It is important for the finality, functionality and usability of your website.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO refers to the optimization of individual pages on your website to increase their ranking on search results pages (SERPs). It can be advanced optimization or within HTML code. It differs from off-page SEO in that it refers to off-page refers to off-page signals like links.

Local SEO

If you have masonry or sell products specific to a particular geographic region, you want to optimize your SEO for local search. This will help people looking for things “near me” to find you.

As you can probably see in your Google searches, when you perform a local network search, you get two types of results. The group of results at the top is called the Google Snack Pack.

Locally it

Request and optimize your Google My Business listing first, as Google will use this information to fill in responses to local searches. You also want to make sure that your site looks good and works well on mobile devices, because timely searches of physical locations are often done on the go.

Establish a feedback strategy

Backlinks are links to other websites that lead to yours. Here are some hypothetical examples:

  • Contribute the article to media sites and link to a promotional homepage in your biological author.
  • A blogger mentions your product or service on your site with a link to the product page on your site.

Backlinks work to legitimize your site, helping Google understand this valuable content. A domain called “domain authority”.

But not all feedback is the same. The ones that will mean the most to your rankings are the backlinks that come from other reputable and trusted sites – those with high domain authority.

Another caveat: make sure the backlinks are relevant. Google will put less weight on backlinks in your home and garden store from, say, a skateboard store than you would with an interior design magazine.

4. Create diverse content.

Main goal content marketing is to provide value-added content with no – or just a touch – of sales ground to build authority, community and trust.

Content is a great way to attract customers while interacting on your website, keeping them on the site longer and increasing the likelihood of their return. Different types of content – textual, visual, multimedia – will keep it fresh and interesting, and the experience on the e-commerce website will make it more dynamic and interactive.

Blogs

You can use your content to enhance the digital customer experience by providing an engaging way to learn more about your brand and products. Use that SEO strategy we just talked about developing a content plan.

Some of the features of blog content include entertaining your customers and / or answering their questions about your product (e.g., “What is CBD, anyway?“), Your rules or who you are as a brand.

Video

Videos can communicate your brand story or highlight your products in a more appealing way by making customers feel like active participants. By using the story to influence the emotions and spark of the engagement, narrative-focused videos can attract a brand’s deeper affinity to your customers.

On the other hand, product-focused videos provide a more reliable way to learn about products through movement (obviously) and context.

User-generated content

Content created by your customers can take you a lot. Lies are more authentic, provide social proof, and build community belonging. All this leads to an increase in the customer’s intention to buy. You can use GC to build brand awareness and create demand and show brand loyalty – which in turn inspires others to share their own. This strengthens the relationship between you and your most loyal customers.

Increasing your website with some user content can also force customers to convert because experiencing digital content from real people who like the product can also be compelling.

5. Integrate social media.

In Disney’s Little Mermaid, Ariel – before she lifted her legs and went ashore – sang, “I want to be where people are.” So do the merchants, Ariel. And people are on social media.

Presence on the right social media platforms can provide you with the opportunity to provide a strategic experience with multiple channels. You want the experience to be integrated, with the same messages, a sense of community and branding.

Increasing social media using Messenger Chat to answer customer questions on the platform is recommended as much collaboration with customers as possible to strengthen the brand.

Some platforms even allow in-app purchases via Facebook Messenger, Facebook Marketplaceor Checkout on Instagram. Learn more about each demographic section and the one they serve before you delve into something that may not be best for your business.

Here is an example of using the Anchor & Crew Facebook page:

Social media

Source

You can see that they have Facebook Messaging to help customers find answers to their questions, and they also provide the ability to make purchases directly on the page. Images and color palette used to make the brand consistent with its website.

6. Customize, personalize, personalize.

Customers want a personalized experience – and it can also increase the likelihood of him coming back. Use personalization to make users feel a unique level of service not typically available on an e-commerce site.

The Bliss skincare line is a great example of creating customized touch points for customers. One of the ways they both happen on the spot, feel more personal and answer customer questions in a useful and interesting way is through a quiz on their homepage.

This interactive quiz helps customers understand their unique skin types and steers them in the right direction for the best products for them.

Personalization

Source

E-commerce product pages

Customizing your e-commerce pages can help you extend your sales. Some e-commerce websites are personalized product pages by showing additional recommendations based on products previously reviewed or purchased. Others offer recommendations for products that complement those shown on the page.

Bliss does the latter, showing this selection of related products on the product page:

Product page

Source

Email marketing

Personalization in email marketing it can refer to a lot of different things. At the country level, including the client’s username in the greeting and / or subject line, rather than relying on “Hey, you!” You can also experiment with customer segmentation to optimize getting the right offers from the right people.

And you can also launch email to customers based on their interaction with the site. Here’s an email Bliss sent an hour or so after reviewing the products on their site:

email marketing

Paid ads

Ads may not seem like the most obvious place to personalize, but there really are some interesting things you can do with them. Have you ever landed on a site that seemed to talk directly to you? (Or, at least, your company …) That came up for me a few weeks ago as I understood the news.

paid ads

Re-targeting is another way to target your customers, especially if they have given up on the transaction. The day after I looked at Bliss products above, I came across news (again) and an ad appeared:

Slowing down bliss

This ad is built in HTML5 (not just images) – which means it can be animated and interactive. This means that the customer sees a number of different products in addition to the products that have spent the most time on the site.

For some, this will be just the right amount of targeting – a reminder of what you’ve been looking for and the rest of what’s available, without scrolling through the web with just one product.

Keep your customers in front and in the middle

As you decide to improve your customers’ digital experience, remember the most important maximum: “Just because you can mean you should.”

Evaluate each opportunity with respect to your customers. Is it something that will improve their lives? Think about who your audience is, what they need to know and what they want.

Use Twitter as an example. Your business might do well on Twitter, but if it’s a clothing company, Instagram is probably a better option.

1. Stay true to your brand identity.

Bad ones are not uncommon for people to be distracted by new and shiny objects. But it’s important that no matter what you’re striving for, it needs to be aligned the identity of your brand, Imagine your mission, vision, values, brand personality, positioning and voice. If your digital experience aligns with your identity, consumers will be confused at worst; at best, probably not deepening their relationship.

2. Focus on what resonates.

Those great items again – if they resonate with consumers, wasting time and money. Focus your efforts where they have the most value for your consumers. If what they really want is simplified check-out, but videos add product pages, they will still be frustrated throughout the purchase process.

3. Ask for feedback.

Experiences are interactive. From analytics, you can say a lot about those interactions on your site and on social media platforms, but ignore the opportunity to get quality feedback as well. As customers think. Run surveys and find out what they like about your brand, if your site’s experience improves their brand loyalty and if you’re dealing with any friction, you should contact.

Conclusion

More consumers are buying online than ever before. How much of that spending will remain online even after stores reopen remains to be seen, but back to brick-and-mortar it may still be slow for fear of future epidemics.

Building a likable digital experience now means being ready to go back to shopping at the store or favoring consumers eCommerce it increases even more. Providing customer experience can set you apart from a highly competitive e-commerce market and create community loyalty.

While it may seem daunting at first to start creating a highly personalized digital experience on an e-commerce site, it has to happen overnight. As you gradually improve, pay attention to your analytics data to see what works and what’s right, and adjust it. Getting to know the great digital travel experience is; Follow the steps in this article to start your own with confidence.



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