The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the way consumers shop along with business’ approach to retail. As online shopping and ecommerce continues to become favoured due to convenience and mitigation measures, so is the evolution of digital tools used to present consumers with seamless services.
For instance, mobile applications can be used to make a variety of different purchases. This includes ordering food and drinks from restaurants, as well as clothing items from big brands. For merchants, being able to keep up with the latest trends in technology allows them to make the online checkout process easier and quicker for customers.
Additionally, by selecting viable payment processing options, merchants are able to appeal to a wider range of shoppers who have their own preferred payment methods.
Success can come in the form of providing consumers an effective omnichannel experience. According to Joan King, the senior vice president of retailer Crate and Barrel, customers are becoming less tolerant of policies that differ between in-store and online.
In an interview with PYMNTS, King also noted that the COVID-19 situation did not create such expectations, but rather solidified them. King added that approximately 60% of Crate and Barrel’s sales are generated through mobile channels. These channels encompass both the business’ mobile-optimized website and its very own application.
King added that customers are using the site for product discovery; much like they used to do in-store. He said there is a shift of channel roles along with the limits on the ability for customers to visit a store due to either worry or shortened hours.
According to King, more than 40% of his company’s furniture sales were made online before COVID-19 struck. However, the pandemic nonetheless called for changes in their shopping behaviour.
As COVID-19 continues to have an effect on such behaviours, it is important for merchants to not only analyze the habits of consumers, but also change, improve, and make amendments to their overall marketing and communication strategies. Doing so would, for example, make online navigation easier while continuing to reach profit margin goals.
Digital tools such as augmented reality (AR) can also be used to ease consumers into the online shopping experience. Rather than changing rooms or requiring customers to visit a store themselves, an innovative business can allow shoppers to see how furniture fits in their floor plans or how makeup would appear on their face.
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