The pandemic has changed customer behavior in many ways. Changes that we thought would take years to happen, are now taking place in just a few months.
The latest EY Future Consumer Index study shows that 26% of customers now plan to live in less densely populated areas, an increase from 22% in 2020. This means that they no longer have to live in close proximity to their favorite retail store to make that purchase. The most powerful tool they need now is a good, stable internet connection.
We have also seen eCommerce strategies change from being a top priority on every retail outlet’s long-term plan to now having become an essential lifeline to survive the pandemic. There’s another powerful, novel approach aligning with eCommerce that has been adopted in sales.
Chinese retail giant Alibaba once linked up an online livestream broadcast with an eCommerce store as an experiment. This allowed viewers to look for products and shop for the ones they liked at the same time. The success of this live commerce experiment meant that it quickly became a regular fixture in the retail firm’s future sales campaigns.
In China, live commerce has established itself as a major sales channel in the retail industry in just a few years. This strategy could well be replicated across the globe.
While we don’t know exactly how live commerce will develop in the years to come, one thing is for sure. It holds great long-term potential for brands and eCommerce platforms. An analysis done by McKinsey indicates that live commerce sales could well account for 10 to 20 percent of eCommerce by the year 2026.
It’s clear that for retailers, the pandemic has only accelerated their existing efforts to innovate. What are the important factors you, as a business owner, need to keep in mind for a successful eCommerce strategy? Read on to know about some of them:
The importance of customer experience
To be successful in eCommerce, businesses have to think beyond just the deployment of eCommerce. They need to evaluate what kind of customer experience they are looking to offer. Customer experience has been steadily evolving from one built on the transactional shopping process to one focused on understanding and enriching customer relationships.
As a retailer, it’s essential to create a journey that’s relevant to your customer. Your eCommerce solutions should also provide greater value to facilitate that journey. Make no mistake, the desire for social interaction could well drive people back to retail stores after the pandemic.
However, several studies have indicated that 38% of customers plan to shop more online and only visit those stores which provide great customer experience.
Live commerce can become a key and strong pillar of eCommerce in future. Retailers can enhance the customer experience in live commerce by:
- Experimenting with a regular schedule of live events using varying products, formats and different target audiences
- Integrating live streaming into its own website or eCommerce experience to ensure complete ownership over the customer
- Tracking live stream performances through real-time predictive analytics to derive greater insights into audiences, content, products and formats
- Using a dedicated in-house team to plan and develop content for livestreams. This includes the storylines, scripts, hosts and/or influencers
- Having a full-time team to manage the live-commerce channel
- Setting up automated performance-marketing campaigns to drive the target traffic to relevant streams
Retailers and businesses can use live commerce to enhance customer experience, all through the customer journey.