What now? Has COVID changed brick and mortar stores as we know them?
Brick and mortar during coronavirus
2020 September 16
The retail industry has been facing its own set of challenges in recent years with the rise of e-commerce; however, in the wake of a global pandemic that has affected every aspect of our lives in some fashion, this industry now has even challenges ahead.
The United States is officially in a recession and with the lack of consumers in retail brick and mortar spaces, what will happen in the next couple of months that could last for years?
The situation around COVID-19 continues to rapidly change between cities and states, companies and consumers, and COVID-19 has taught us one thing in the digital age, online shopping and convenience are critical for companies to stay competitive.
The pandemic also has shown us that consumers and companies alike are coming to the realization that without a modern, responsive website, social media marketing, SEO and other digital strategies in place, they are not connecting with their consumers.
With the rise in contactless pick-up, take out options, online orders, two day shipping and bulk and panic spending habits, ecommerce COVID 19 has changed every aspect of the retail industry from their advertising to their brick and mortar stores.
What does the future of brick and mortar look like?
Importance of ecommerce website design Dallas
As of May, all 50 states opened back up with their own restrictions and guidelines set in place. Consumers were finally able to enter nonessential store fronts nationwide, however as a society, we felt as if the United States was opening back up a bit too early.
Because of this, consumers still have to continue with their pick-up, take-out, contactless delivery and pick-up options. This is known as BOPIS in the retail industry, and in April this grossed over $5.3B!
With stay at home orders back in place in some cities and states, ecommerce COVID 19 has continued to show consumers that shopping online is the easiest way to handle COVID-19 and continue to do their part in stopping the spread of this virus.
We have all pretty much been at home for the last seven months and we are comfortable here and it’s safe, so why venture out?
What has this shown companies who were mandated to shut down? That your website you kept putting off could have been the saving grace! This would have allowed for online orders or continuing your company’s services. While this may not be true for every single company out there, for a majority in a range of industries, this could have been the case.
This also showed companies who did have their website up and running that other digital marketing efforts are just as important to get the word out for your consumers to know that you were open! Overall, COVID-19 challenged companies to think out of the box and finally turn to the digital world they were once nervous about adapting to.
What are some of the top e-commerce website design elements that companies should have now and in the future on their website?
Ecommerce website design Dallas experts suggest the following notions
Keep it simple!
When things get complicated on a website, it just isn’t worth it. One of the biggest things to remember when designing an e-commerce website is the acronym K.I.S.S.. This means, “keep it simple, silly!” The entire goal behind an e-commerce website is to sell products, and if consumers are getting stuck before purchasing products, it is already too complicated!
Make sure it is responsive!
Not only does a mobile responsive website matter for COVID-19, but for search engines as well. Pre-COVID-19, more than half of all searches conducted were on mobile devices, and while COVID-19 changed that a bit, it wasn’t enough to switch this strategy.
79 percent of consumers have made a purchase on their smartphones in the last six months! Whether that is takeout or toilet paper, consumers are using their smartphones not only to conduct research, text, watch TikTok but to shop online!
An e-commerce website with clear and easy categorization with even better navigation is what consumers are looking for out of a website. This is because e-commerce websites generally hold a lot of products at one time, and with each different category, there is plenty of product underneath it.
Not only because of this, but with the adaptation of mobile devices, this makes shopping for your favorite products even easier!
High quality images
Images are going to drive e-commerce sales. Whether that consumer came from a social media advertisement, print ad or email marketing campaign to that specific product, an image speaks a thousand words, especially in the e-commerce industry. For companies who are not e-commerce, simply adding relevant images increased their conversion rates by 40 percent! Imagine what this could do for an e-commerce website!?
Always go the extra mile and have a professional photographer or camera on hand to take pictures of all products. If you are a small e-commerce website, ask vendors and partners for their images! If they are a larger company, they often have the advantage of getting better quality images and will be willing to send them to you!
How to make a simple/smooth online shopping platform
Always be customer-centric and make each decision based on their overall experience. A great idea is with the notion of retail therapy!
What was once a way to relieve a consumer’s stress- can cause those same stressful feelings! For those who turn to purchasing products and goods to alleviate the stress of life, they will turn to online shopping to make up for this.
This is why it is important to provide a seamless and easy experience on your online store. Not only should it provide a seamless and easy experience for each individual shopper who lands on your website, but it also needs to make sure that it loads quickly, content is personalized, allows for immediate FAQs, automation is installed (chatbots and easy checkout) and provides alerts!
With this in mind, while some consumers are coming back to the brick and mortar shopping, the digital era is not going anywhere. This provides a company with the ability to reach their target audience on a larger scale and continue to increase their sales.
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