COVID-19 is a global pandemic, and no one knows what it will look like after it gets over.
The only thing for sure is that the after-effect is going to be different. You may ask how?
The situation is fast changing. More and more people are starting to stay indoors. Places like gym, movie halls, malls, and bars have shut down in major cities. In a survey by Technomic, it was revealed that 52% of consumers are avoiding crowds, whereas 32% are leaving their house less often because of coronavirus.
This isolation is vastly impacting consumers’ buying style.
If we talk about eCommerce sales, in particular, the coronavirus will provide a long-term boost for online retailers. With more brick-and-mortar businesses staying shut, consumers are opting for shopping online.
COVID-19: Men’s and Women’s Buying Behavior
The COVID thing is affecting men’s and women’s buying behaviour differently.
In a recent survey by Forbes, more than a third of both men and women said that they have cut back on spending due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
But at the same time, about 30 per cent of both men and women have stopped shopping from in-store. More and more men (i.e., twenty-four percent of them) are seen shopping frequently online as compared to women (i.e., eighteen percent).
Thus, you can see the rising popularity of eCommerce stores.
There are two factors that need to be considered here:
- Employment, income, and wealth are going to play a role in affecting the retail e-commerce sector. There are chances that if people are losing their income, they might not want to buy that extra piece of cloth just for fashion or spend extra on accessories.
- People who haven’t bought groceries online before are trying it for the first time, and are finding it a pretty convenient experience.
So even though consumers are cutting down on their expenses, there are a few who are just starting to taste what shopping from e-commerce feels like. This is a critical time for businesses.
If online retailers can manage to stay in business during this upheaval time, they will have a lot to gain in the long run.
Building Long-Term Relationships With Customers
If retailers want customers to keep buying from them even after the pandemic, they need to keep enticing consumers to shop online.
It means that they will need to foster trust and loyalty to build long term relationships with them. In these extreme times, it can only be done by meeting their expectations and enhancing their experience.
So, how can eCommerce retailers boost their customer relationship? Here’s how.
i. Manage Expectations
Even during this pandemic time, customers will have expectations while buying online.
One way to meet their expectation is by displaying the accurate stock. It might frustrate some customers if it goes out of stock while placing the order. Besides, you need to set a realistic delivery date, even if it means the delivery is going to take time.
Don’t try to mislead your customers by displaying false ads and making unrealistic promises.
ii. Provide Comfort
People who haven’t bought goods online before are opting for buying products online. They are avoiding going to the store to avoid contact with others.
This is an excellent opportunity for eCommerce retailers to grab the opportunity and encourage more and more consumers to buy online.
For starters, they can assure customers that their goods will be delivered on time and in good shape. You can work on promos to encourage them to sign up for subscriptions. Make them feel like they can have confidence in you.
iii. Ease the Transition
Another way to entice your consumers is by providing them with the flexibility and ease of shopping online.
For instance, you can offer them various payment options, including card payment, net banking, cash on delivery, UPI transactions, and more.
The most essential thing is to build a simple and rich interface so that consumers can easily search for the products they want. Don’t over clutter it; categorize every section so that they can browse items without any difficulty.
Especially for customers who are moving to eCommerce shopping for the first time, make their transition process smooth.
iv. Offer Promos and Build Loyalty Programs
During the time of crisis, pricing may not play an important role in the consumer’s mind.
They are more concerned about how to procure essential commodities.
At this point, if you hit them with good discounts and promotions, like free shipping, you can earn their loyalty. They might appreciate your efforts and might still continue to buy from you even once things get back to normal.
You can also build a loyalty program where they get points for every purchase, which can be redeemed on their next buy.
v. Offer Excellent Customer Care
If you want to make a long-lasting impression, increase your communication with them.
Set up a great customer service where they can reach out to you with any queries. This will help foster a relationship and help build a positive image.
It might not be possible to accurately predict how consumers are going to react after COVID-19 pandemic is over.
To understand the real impact on online retailers, it might take some time. In the meanwhile, eCommerce owners can strive to build a long-lasting relationship with their customers by doing the best they can.