The growth of technology and innovation expands opportunities for making profits. According to Alex O’Byrne of We Make Websites, the pandemic has caused websites to “become the primary purchase path for many brands—rather than a secondary or alternative method to in-store.”
The alternative method to in-store methods means merchants need to improve their online retail experience for better sales.
Some trends point to the direction in which the e-commerce industry is going. Marketplaces are gaining a renewed impact in the merchant retail sector. Mobile retail is growing faster than many retailers can keep up. Social commerce is helping businesses improve their engagement and conversion rates. And digital wallets and cryptocurrency are spearheading a revolution in retail payments.
What are the opportunities for e-commerce businesses to transform their strategy for improved sales in this year 2021? That’s the question answered here.
Ecommerce started with marketplaces; Amazon, in particular, led the global e-commerce revolution. Then, however, companies like Shopify and Magento emerged and enabled retailers to set up online stores for a direct-to-consumer experience. As a result, at some point, DTC businesses were jettisoning marketplaces.
However, marketplaces never died. If anything, they have waxed stronger. Buyers want to compare prices and buy products on the same websites. Without a marketplace listing, you may be losing out on important opportunities. Yet, a business is only resilient if it can adapt its strategy seamlessly to various situations and spot opportunities when they arise.
The next e-commerce revolution would be a hybrid model, where retailers use marketplaces as a foundation for expansion once they set up their independent web stores. For instance, you can use your marketplace listings to direct customers to your site for limited edition products. If it means that you transform how you do business, then it’s worth the effort.
Mobile for Retail
Current statistics and future predictions are in favor of mobile retail. The mobile commerce market estimated at $472 billion in 2019 will grow to $3.9 trillion by 2026. Meanwhile, mobile commerce sales in 2021 are expected to increase 22.3% over 2020’s records of $2.91 trillion to $3.56 trillion.
Despite the growing adoption of mobile devices, it would seem that business owners are not doing enough to optimize online sales for mobile users. Or there is a disconnect between what customers actually want and what business owners think customers want. After all, only 12% of consumers find it convenient to shop on the mobile web.
Business owners need to optimize their online stores by increasing page loading speed, enhancing mobile SEO, and improving user experience by optimizing the web design. Begin optimizing your store for a better mobile experience by using Google’s mobile-friendly tool to test the website’s current performance.
There were 3.6 billion smartphone users globally in 2020, and these would be 4.3 billion in the next two years. So by optimizing your online store, you effectively set your business up for years of success.
The present challenge for companies is how to make distributed digital workplaces as (or even more) collaborative than a physical workplace. There is no doubt that remote work has immense benefits in terms of cost savings and increased productivity and performance, among others.
However, these cannot be enjoyed if the organization does not rethink its management approach. This is why it matters what tools the company uses. E-commerce is a busy industry.
For an organization whose employees work remotely, communication is important. But, if you have not noticed, an efficient communication tool does more than just communication (passing information); it empowers employees and makes them feel more connected to each other. Likewise, a project management tool that’s truly efficient wouldn’t just be useful for managing tasks checklist; instead, it would catalyze the organization’s collaboration culture.
The flexible work structure that telecommuting encourages is a good development for the e-commerce industry. It enables companies to be able to fulfill running orders more quickly and more efficiently. Organizations need to invest in tools that engender true collaboration where each employee feels like they are truly part of something big and fulfilling.
Digital Supply Chain Management
The current wave of shifts towards telecommuting has shown that certain business sectors are naturally less accommodating of remote work than others. One of these is e-commerce and virtually every industry that relies heavily on traditional supply chain management. Even then, COVID-19 had forced many companies to digitize supply chain management.
The main benefit of digitizing supply chain management is that the company becomes more demand-sensitive. To achieve this, large organizations are harnessing emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, big data, predictive analytics, robotics, etc. Where does this leave small businesses and individual store owners?
It is important to note that a digitized supply chain is a technological shift as a systemic approach. Traditional supply chains made use of technology too. The distinction is that while those are more reactive, digital supply chains are predictive. E-commerce businesses need to pivot to a more customer-focused, demand-sensitive model by using tools that enable them to feel the market’s pulse and adapt as required.
It might seem that many things are happening at once in the e-commerce sector with the numerous emerging fast-paced innovations. Therefore, this is the time to take a step back and review your e-commerce business strategy to determine if your business is well-placed to compete in the coming years.
Image Credit: mikael blomkvist; pexels; thank you!