As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave its destructive imprint on individuals and businesses worldwide, eCommerce continues to evolve at a remarkable speed. Due to the dramatic shutdowns of businesses around the world, many have had to pivot their business models and turn their attention from their physical location to an entirely online location.
It has not been an easy transition for most businesses as they struggle to meet the rapidly changing needs of customers, struggle with how to keep up and manage their stock, how orders are administered, and the new focus on optimizing the “end-to-end customer journey”.
More Challenges To Take On
One of the most critical challenges that online merchants must confront head-on are abandoned carts. Most of the time, abandoned carts occur for the following reasons: if a customer is unable to pay with their preferred payment method, if the payment process is complicated, slow, or inefficient, or simply if once the customer enters their card information, the payment page is re-routed to a third party website to process the payment.
These and many more events, such as a lack of stock or delivery issues, can truly discourage a customer from purchasing a product, with the possibility of never returning. Challenges with abandoned carts simply come with eCommerce territory.
Not everything, however, is beyond a merchant’s control. What merchants can do to address any delivery challenges is to implement “click and collect” methods. The number of orders for click and collect have increased by a staggering 443%. What’s more critical is that customers base their decision to shop at a certain store, depending on whether they offer click and collect. The amount of shoppers who use this approach has amounted to 50%.
If these percentages are any indication, retail merchants must adopt a more omnichannel approach to ensure their business survives the pandemic and beyond.
Pandemic’s Impact On Established Online Merchants
Despite the enormously difficult task for brick and mortar establishments to move entirely online, established online businesses have suffered their share of challenges. With a dramatic surge of customer demand due to lockdowns and social distancing, online businesses have struggled to meet these demands.
Another issue that online businesses face is the ability to meet the “individual payment needs” of every customer. According to ECOMMPAY’s Executive Director of UK and Western Europe, Paul Marcantonio, one in seven online purchases are made cross border. Therefore, there is also an increase in demand for localized payment methods. If these merchants fall short in catering to and offering localized payment methods, they will potentially lose customers.
In addition, since the pandemic has resulted in a dramatic loss of jobs, consumers have less disposable income. This means consumers are more likely to take their time to research those online retailers that offer the best bargains.
The Future, Post-Pandemic
Although there is no magic formula or guarantee that an eCommerce business will survive the pandemic, there are certain strategies that must be implemented to better position most to survive and thrive.
First, the online merchant must make absolutely certain that the user experience is seamless and without friction. With unprecedented demand from customers, combined with less discretionary income, which will make a difference in their decision is their experience with the merchant. Security is also a major consideration when it comes to a customer making the final purchase. They need to know that their payment information is safe and secure.
With any volatility due to the economy or a pandemic, the message is clear. A business must remain flexible and make the necessary changes to play the long game.