Future of eCommerce: 5 key takeaways we learned from NMPI’s “Navigating Shifts in Consumer Behaviours”
Back in May, we launched the Future of eCommerce Series. In conjunction with some of our key partners, we wanted to sit down and chat about what the future of eCommerce is starting to look like, and what we can expect in the coming months.
NMPi took to the virtual stage to discuss how to navigate shifts in consumer behaviours.
Didn’t get the chance to attend? Here are the 5 key takeaways from NMPi’s session:
There has been a notable shift in trends compared to what we would expect year on year
Lockdown has certainly flipped the usual trends on their head! At this point in the year, the ‘norm’ would have been to see seasonal items such as summer clothes and swimwear right in their peak, however as working from home has become a long-term recommendation, we’ve all been hell-bent on 100% comfort. Incredible spikes have been seen in slippers, sleepwear, sweatshirts and hoodies. Alongside loungewear - furniture, home improvement and health/ beauty products are at an all time high, as people are spending more time at home and are unable to get to a salon for treatments.
We must accept and plan for a ‘new normal’ post COVID-19
In the reshaping of what post-COVID ‘normal’ looks like, there will be both opportunities and threats, which businesses must plan and prepare for. The long-term economic outlook remains uncertain but it is expected that the global pandemic will change many consumers’ outlook, and their priorities in a post-COVID world will be far different to the world we knew before. Pivoting strategies to plan for long-term success now rather than quick wins may be critical for retailers’ success.
Is this the death of the high street?
There has certainly been a paradigm shift in digitisation - suddenly, everyone has had to embrace the digital world, meaning there has been an accelerated shift to online shopping. Boredom throughout lockdown has also contributed to many of the ‘out of character’ hikes in sales, with many consumers wanting to fill this unexpected period ‘stuck’ at home. However, this has led to businesses adapting and reinventing the access that they had previously provided to their stores and products, providing creative solutions to current restrictions. Since NMPi's session, High Street stores have been allowed to re-open (albeit with strict guidelines in place) and while online is still at an all-time high we have seen retailers welcome customers back in to store with open arms. Recently, Visualsoft have been working behind the scenes on the release of a brand new feature: In-store Appointments. This new feature enables retailers to publish time slots on the website so that customers can select an appointment to visit the physical store. eCommerce retailers have full control over when customers can pop in and which days are available for appointments and better still, if you have multiple stores, these can be tailored by branch. Find out more here.
The emergence of a touchless economy
Convenience was considered king in a pre-COVID world, however, over the last few months consumers have become accustomed to being provided with end-to-end fulfilment and services. It’s highly likely that there will be an expectation for this level of service to continue from the consumers’ point of view meaning retailers who consider implementing this as part of their longer-term strategy could reap the benefits. Subscription services are growing exponentially and it’s expected that this trend will continue to increase, contributing to the ‘touchless’ economy. Many consumers will continue to expect entire shopping experiences to prevent them from having to make the journey to a number of shops on a weekend, so they can continue to value their new-found ‘extra’ time.
Adapting to new savvy consumers
The retail industry has created expectations for discounts - NMPi reported a 16.5% increase in discounted products in 2020 compared to the previous year. In certain categories, especially for the products that based on current trends just aren't selling this may make sense in the short-term, but will likely hinder your long-term goals as consumers will learn to expect they will always be able to find a discount. Long term, this will eat into profit margins. Adapting your discounting based on life-time value will help to nurture your current customers and create more meaningful connections, encouraging them to return to purchase time and time again.
We know it’s ridiculously busy at the moment, so don’t worry if you missed out… we recorded the webinar for you!