by James Flynn, Sr Research Analyst – Broadbeam Media
Ecommerce took off during the pandemic as people quickly shifted from in-store shopping to online delivery. Those who already ordered online did so more, and those who didn’t were forced to adapt.
Many of these new habits are also likely going to stick around, making ecommerce investment a growing necessity for businesses. However, beyond just making inventory available online, ecommerce requires investment in multiple facets of a business.
A survey by GlobalWebIndex of the online population across seven countries (U.S. included) revealed what aspects increase the likelihood of purchasing a product when shopping online. The top reason noted by 60% of respondents was free delivery/returns. Assuming you’re not delivering through a third party (like Amazon), ensuring free delivery/returns can be difficult depending on the product and delivery window.
For lower-priced goods and tighter delivery time guarantees, free shipping can substantially eat into margins. It would require investment in logistics, operations, and likely cost savings in other areas in order to cover the expense.
The second largest factor, chosen by 43%, was a quick/easy checkout process. This could translate to integrating third-party payment systems such as PayPal or Apple Pay. Beyond partnerships, this would primarily mean investing in UI/UX design to ensure a frictionless and consumer friendly experience.
Similarly, 29% would be encouraged by an entertaining shopping experience overall. Though a vaguer concept this likely translates to investment into content and possibly augmented reality for apparel or furniture for example.
Additionally, if you’re targeting Gen Z consumers, a strong social media presence can go a long way. A separate survey by GWI in Q4 2020 asked what would persuade respondents most to buy a product online. Gen Z indexed highest for “lots of likes or good comments on social media,” followed by “exclusive content or services.” On the opposite age end, baby boomers noted free delivery, easy returns policy, and quick/easy online checkout process as the top three indexing reasons.
The same GWI Q420 survey demonstrated how pervasive ecommerce is across all age groups. 81% of millennials reported purchasing a product online in the last month, with 62% saying they typically prefer to shop online. Even baby boomers, as less likely adopters, are turning more to ecommerce, with 74% having purchased online in the last month and nearly half preferring it. In other words, the ubiquity of online shopping has grown exponentially, and will likely continue to grow.
The above list of contributing factors for a successful ecommerce strategy is not exhaustive by any means. Instead it should demonstrate that not only is ecommerce necessary for your business’ future, but should also be involved in conversations when building out other facets.
On the marketing side, these aspects can help promote or differentiate your business from competition. Additionally, if you have a wider range of consumer groups, having some of these features and not others can inform which groups your business should focus on more.