For a while now, consumers have been embracing the convenience of online shopping. It’s one of the primary reasons why malls are closing in favor of Amazon and other large online retailers. But for small and medium-sized businesses that rely on local residents for sales, it’s possible that there hadn’t been a need to have an e-commerce option. Until now. As long as COVID-19 remains a factor, it will be necessary to have an e-commerce option for your customers.
Nobody knows what the future holds for small businesses, but it’s safe to assume that even after the pandemic:
- E-commerce isn’t going anywhere
- There will be an advantage to offering multiple sales paths for your customers
Here’s why adding e-commerce functionality is the best option for retailers who are hoping to ride out the storm and keep their businesses afloat as well as some advice on how to do it.
Customers are quickly adapting to e-commerce on account of COVID-19
All US residents have been affected by social distancing and stay at home orders the past five months. These reactions to COVID-19 have had a large impact on online sales and will forever change e-commerce. Eventually all of the restrictions will be lifted, but that won’t change the habits consumers have developed during quarantine. People will still continue to use online sales from their favorite retailers purely for convenience. Just like the businesses who hesitated to transition into adding online sales – there were plenty of consumers who used to hesitate to order products online. Fortunately for you, quarantine has made those consumers transition to ordering their products online. Businesses who have already added e-commerce to their websites have already seen the benefits.
Satisfy your customers and Google through mobile optimization
Not only are your customers online, but they’re also mobile, and an increasing number of e-commerce sales come from these mobile users. It’s important for your e-commerce-enabled website to be designed accordingly. If your website has too much clutter or is too difficult for mobile users, then they will be discouraged and abandon your e-commerce site in search of an easier one within seconds. Search engines also consider how mobile-friendly your website is when determining their ranking. The more mobile-optimized your website, the higher it will appear when customers Google it – wherever they happen to be.
During the COVID-19 pandemic (and after) the checkout process needs to be as simple possible
When designing your e-commerce website, be sure to make the checkout process as efficient and streamlined as possible. This may seem like a no-brainer but transaction abandonment increases with each additional step. Ideally, a customer should be able to find what they’re looking for, make the product selection and go through their entire checkout process in five clicks or less.
That said, payment options are nice
The last tip to increase your online sales is to provide as many payment options as possible. Consumers have more control than ever before in terms of how they actually pay for products online. Additionally, for the foreseeable future, cash will be problematic and contactless payment systems will be increasingly appealing to both customers and businesses. By offering a variety of payment options, especially newer services that are becoming increasingly popular on mobile, you’re making it easier for customers to actually give you their money. The last thing you want is a customer to find the product they want and then see that you don’t have the payment option they were looking for.
In conclusion, COVID-19 has been a wake-up call for business owners who had yet to incorporate e-commerce into their websites.
Investing in e-commerce solutions today, will continue paying off in the form of online sales in the post-COVID-19 world.
And it might make it easier to ride out future disasters.