By Andrea Nalupa, Monstarlab Marketing
Part of our Wholesale, Retail, & eCommerce Series
Forced to transform at almost impossible speeds by the global pandemic, many businesses entering eCommerce resolved to integrate premature solutions to try and keep up. A year later, the consequences of rushing into half-baked executions and band aid solutions are catching up. Despite worldwide eCommerce approaching 5 trillion USD this year, countless eCommerce efforts – including yours – are struggling . And here’s why.
1. Your store is not on the map
If you find your online shop lacking or losing traffic despite the wealth of in-site improvements your business has been investing on, the problem might not be with the store itself. Chances are, you’re not welcoming any new customers because they don’t know you exist. With an overwhelming number of options, consumers might not know your products are on the table. And with 7.9 million eCommerce retailers in the world competing with you , that’s a much bigger problem than it sounds.
In eCommerce, discoverability is one of the key determinants of success. In fact, Shopify reports that over 2.3 trillion USD in revenue for online stores has been attributed to it . That said, it’s important to pay attention to how online shoppers find you and how they do so before landing on your competition’s website instead.
Here’s what you can do:
- By identifying the platforms – may it be a website, your own mobile app, or a booming marketplace – that your target market engages with, you can easily increase your reach and brand awareness. According to research, third-party websites and social marketplaces Google, Facebook Marketplace, and Amazon are the best and most popular platforms for eCommerce.
- Taking a closer look at buyer activities on such platforms, you can also easily position your posts and ads in the right places. Several studies share vital info on captured user behavior such as eye tracking, and applying that knowledge to your ad placement effectively puts you on your target audience’s radar.
- Adding the right tags and searchable keywords to your listings, optimising search for long-tail queries, and making yourself ‘Googleable’ will definitely create results too. After all, studies suggest that more than 60% of online shoppers start their product search on Google .
Making yourself visible on the right platforms and working towards seamless product discovery will help your business stand out.
2. Your shopping experience feels too much like the real thing
It’s easy to think that replicating the in-store experience is the goal for online selling, but for today’s online shoppers who’ve been transformed by the pandemic, that’s exactly what they’re trying to avoid. According to multiple research, the top ranked reasons why people buy online during the pandemic circle around the convenience of 24/7 availability, door-to-door deliveries, and avoiding the mall . This just goes to show that eCommerce is a whole different marketplace from physical stores and in itself is also different today from what it was before the COVID-19 outbreak.
Here’s what you can do:
- Create a user experience truly designed for online shopping by paying attention to your UX. With smartphones accounting for 65% or eCommerce visits and product discovery and majority of checkout transactions being placed on websites over any other platform, making product viewing and site browsing more mobile-friendly and creating a smoother checkout flow for website visitors, for example, are effective ways of adapting and exploiting your UX.
- Populating your platform with options will also create a more satisfying and complete shopping experience for your buyers. Integrating Headless Content Management Systems (CMS), an API-based approach that allows your business to effortlessly populate your website, social media, ads, and virtually any platform with content ranging from products and promotional offers to livestreams and social media posts without the lengthy backend configuration and all from one seamless platform, proves most effective in catalysing and simplifying this process.
- Maximising data to personalise the online shopping experience also allows you to leverage another one of eCommerce’s advantages over physical stores – it allows you to communicate and engage consumers on a deeper level at an instant. In fact, according to research, 75% of online shoppers are more likely to purchase items from retailers that know their names and purchase history, and that are able to make grounded recommendations. 
- Ensuring transparency in order fulfillment from payment, stock, and delivery tracking are also key to crafting a customer experience that buyers gravitate towards – especially with most shoppers confined to their homes during lockdowns and with no option to follow up in physical stores. With these being the best-rewarded integrations in online shopping, it only makes sense to add them to your stack.
- You should also show dedication to safety. As contactless policies and increased risks of surface transmission continue to ingrain into the reasonably meticulous mindset of online shoppers, committing to clear and careful protocols such as contactless deliveries and constant disinfection that your shoppers are made aware of will make all the difference.
- Finally, integrating creative technologies targeted towards reimagining online shopping to incite more engagement will also prove rewarding. As Augmented Reality (AR) and video for product viewing sweep through the industry, hopping in on this trend can mean engagement and higher conversion rates for your business.
Aside from increasing customer engagement, technology integration can also greatly improve key processes and help mitigate costs. This was the case for one of our partners engaged in uniform and clothing retailing who used AI and machine learning to get a more accurate measurement from clients. Ultimately minimizing costly returns and accumulation of inventory. Read more about it here.
Technology integrations such as AI and machine learning not only provide new and exciting customer experiences but also help solve underlying key business challenges that customers may not even be aware of. Which makes it an important aspect for both the business and consumers
– Daisuke Hirata, CTO Monstarlab APAC
The wonderful thing about bringing your business online is being able to maximise all the perks and moving parts of the internet – and that’s exactly what you should do.
3. You’re forgetting about your loyal customers
Although tapping new customers and converting them into actual leads is a worthwhile pursuit, it’s important to remember that in total sales, new customers bring you just as much value as repeat customers. And what you might be missing out on in focusing on customer acquisition is that its costs far outweigh customer retention costs and that a consistent customer base can bring you just as much or even more business than newcomers .
Here’s what you can do:
- Manufacturing loyalty programmes allow tons of engagement points that keep customers coming back. With the world of eCommerce being generally characterised by high purchase frequency and tantamountly high churn rates, something as simple as enabling subscriptions or giving discounts to repeat customers can drastically impact customer retention and increase sales and resales.
- Use available data to get to know your customers better and create impactful, lasting relationships with them. With 360° Customer Relationship Management (CRM), you can maximise a customer understanding encompassing far beyond your regular Know Your Customer (KYC). With this single integration alone, you can achieve complete data collection within the whole online shopping cycle. You can furthermore use that data to create experiential customer interactions, make superior predictive analyses that allow you to anticipate and act upon opportunities for cross-selling, re-selling, and upgrades, and overall promote a strong bond with your customers.
Multiple outstanding examples from across the globe demonstrate just how these clever marketing activities have helped retailers respond to struggling eCommerce. At this point, you just have to find out which of these best practices are the best for you.
At the end of the day, an optimal end-to-end customer experience will generate the most value from your digital retail.
Great eCommerce user experience, in a competitive market, is the ultimate advantage. When ads are increasingly expensive, keywords are getting tougher to rank for, and social media doesn’t play out like you thought it would, return to the basics: provide a user-centric and bulletproof experience
– Sarah Bui, Experience Design Director Monstarlab UK
Meet our Experts:
Diasuke Hirata, CTO for Monstarlab APAC, is the global lead for innovative technology solutions and integrations. With vast experience in providing advanced solutions with new technology integrations.
Sarah Bui, Experience Director for Monstarlab United Kingdom, is our global lead for designing experiences through relevant digital solutions. User-centric and seasoned experience designer for both B2B and B2C business models for global businesses.
Read more insights and see some of our works on Wholesale, Retail, & eCommerce
 eMarketer Insider Intelligence, “Global Ecommerce Update 2021”
 Etail Insights, “The 2021 Breakdown of the eCommerce Industry”
 Vue.ai, “6 Ways To Improve Product Discovery & Search Experience For eCommerce”, 2020
 Tradegecko, “Retail & Wholesale: Challenges and Strategies for Growth”, 2021
 Accenture, “Pulse Check: 2018”
McKinsey & Company, Rebooting Retail, 2020