QUICK READ: eCommerce sales are up in double-digits but in this, in this author’s opinion it won’t last. We all know that the reason eCommerce sales are up is that people are afraid of the pandemic but with the rise in eCommerce comes the responsibility of treating the customer like Amazon treats the customer.
With foot traffic at a near standstill, there was a 71% year-over-year growth of new digital shoppers in Q2. However, the real question should be “how satisfied are you with digital shopping experience?”. I would expect that number to be a lot lower.
Along with the security concerns of purchasing online, there are the shipping and return policies. With mail delayed it can take over a week to get the product you ordered and that’s not acceptable to consumers. Then there are the returns. Customers have to pack, ship, and wait for a refund while Amazon issues a refund as soon as you send the package back.
There are some products which are made to be bought online, usually hard goods. But other products, like clothing and food usually are purchased in person where consumers can see them and try them on.
I am an avid cyclist and I’m always purchasing cycling products online but what I have noticed is that too many come from China where shipping can take 4-5 weeks. In addition there is no consistency in sizing of clothing.
Online retailers need to state clearly how long it will be before someone can expect a package if they order on that day. They also need to understand that, like it or not, they are competing directly with Amazon.com.
But let’s get back to shopping in person. If you listen to consumers via social media as I do you’ll see that they are getting frustrated of staying at home. They want to go out and with news that 40% of people may be immune to the virus, they are taking more risks. I’m not saying they are going out in droves to shop buy what I am saying is that the more people are going to venture out as this pandemic lingers.
The biggest mistake any brand can make right now is to commit all their resources to selling online. Sure, DTC is hot but the experience of buying directly from brands is usually not a good one compared to Amazon.com.
Marketers should be spending time online listening to what consumers are saying about brands and shopping via one of the many online tools. Beware of the experts who suggest that eCommerce is exploding because even with double digit increases it still lags far behind off-line sales.