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5 Things Online Retailers Should Work On Post-Coronavirus

Male Avatar Author Rodney Laws June 8, 2021

Online Retailers

The last 18 months have been better than expected for the eCommerce industry, and it was already set for big things before the COVID-19 pandemic put another nail in the coffin of non-staple brick-and-mortar retail by keeping people stuck at home. Revenue has skyrocketed as people of all ages and backgrounds have taken to getting everything they need online.

Good news for eCommerce merchants, you’d think — but that’s a little hasty. This rising tide hasn’t exactly lifted all boats. To the contrary, we’ve seen dominant retailers expand their dominance while smaller sellers have struggled to compete, and it hasn’t helped that the accessibility of online retail coupled with the weak employment market has produced new eCommerce stores at an unprecedented rate. Competition is fierce.

Due to this, online retailers that want to succeed must work on themselves at a steady rate. Things have changed since the outbreak, and only those willing to adapt can get ahead. To that end, here are five things that online retailers should be working on right now:

Bolstering their software foundations

Expectations for online retail are higher than ever before. Stores need to be fast, scalable, flexible, optimized for SEO at a technical level, and compatible with the many integrations that may prove necessary — social media is a great example here, because the inclusion of social posts about a brand can be key to effectively showcasing its social media activity.

In practical terms, that means it’s increasingly risky to run an online store on a weak or outdated platform. Choosing (or migrating to) a solid platform with a lot of room for growth, such as Magento, is a smart investment. Paired with a maintenance plan, it’ll ensure that your store will be well placed to develop in the event that you’re able to build up your customer base.

Refining their working processes

While working remotely may be easier in some ways for businesses that have always operated online, there’s always room for improvement, and many of today’s sellers can do much more to raise their teams’ motivation and productivity. There are two things in particular that are worth prioritizing: making employee conditions better, and looking to streamline core tasks.

Employees working from home should be provided with high-quality home office equipment and allowed to work their preferred schedules on the condition that they meet their targets. If they complete their assignments adequately well, it shouldn’t matter how they work. And lengthy processes held down by unnecessary admin should be made more efficient. The more money you can save through optimization, the more you can invest in vital pursuits such as marketing.

Honing their overall branding

Speaking of marketing, not every online seller has a meaningful brand. A brand is essentially a company’s identity in the eyes of its target audience. What springs to mind when people think of it? Do they think of consistent quality? Commendable altruism? A memorable logo or slogan? Standing out is really tough at this point, and every branding element you can provide will help.

The best place to start is with your content marketing strategy. You likely know by now that sellers with blogs and associated social media output can earn a lot of valuable mentions, but that content can’t reach its potential impact if it’s inconsistent. Create a set of brand guidelines that can keep all your pieces of content pointed in the same direction, and you’ll eventually be rewarded with a much firmer brand identity.

Providing better customer support

When your customers reach out to you, you need to be there quickly or else risk losing their business to one of your many rivals. Notably, it takes a lot more work to provide exceptional support now that the internet is somewhat mature. You need to cater to issues of all kinds, and the many routes that people can take to find solutions.

Consider that one customer may want immediate support when they encounter a problem, while another might want to find a solution without needing to speak to anyone. By providing a live chat system to cater to the former and a knowledge base to cater to the latter, you can ensure that every customer can get the support they want, strengthening your value proposition.

Improving their loyalty programs

Lastly, loyalty is a vital concern with modern eCommerce because shoppers have so many options. You should aim to establish your store as the default destination for your target audience. To achieve that, though, you’ll need more than great prices and products. You’ll also need a formidable loyalty program to incentivize customers to stick around.

The best loyalty programs understand what motivates their customers to buy, because every niche is different. Some people are most driven by discounts, eager to save as much money as possible, while others are more drawn to superior quality. Context is everything, so build your loyalty program around the elements unique to your customer base.

Wrapping up, online retailers need to fight hard in the post-coronavirus world to compete, and the suggestions we’ve looked at here will help them do that. If you’re eager to take your store to the next level, give some or all of them a try. You won’t regret it.

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