As we hit the midpoint in 2021, it is remarkable to look back on all that has happened since the COVID-19 pandemic was first reported in the U.S. in January of 2020. Remarkable devastation. Remarkable resiliency. Remarkable changes to the way we as a culture relate to each other and live our daily lives.
From a marketing perspective, companies have had to dramatically adapt their business practices to continue to serve the needs of their customers, while simultaneously keeping their doors, figuratively, open. In the wake of lockdowns, mask mandates, and other COVID-19 precautions, creativity has become a business owner’s best friend.
A space that has seen ebbs and flows, long before the onset of the pandemic, is e-commerce sales. When lockdowns began in March 2020, businesses across the nation were each presented with a unique problem: serving customers without having them physically in their establishment. E-commerce has been a staple for major companies like Amazon for years, but now small brick and mortar businesses and those unfamiliar with the e-commerce space, had to find a way to connect with, and serve, customers digitally.
How Much Did U.S. Consumers Spend on E-commerce in 2020?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, American consumers spent $211.5 billion on e-commerce purchases in quarter two of 2020. This was a nearly 32% increase from quarter one. By being restricted to their homes, buyers were not just purchasing normal items, but potentially spending even more to counteract the feelings of boredom and restlessness that accompanied quarantine.
Knowing Your Customers: Buyer Personas and Behaviors
While things are beginning to gradually return to normal, it is clear that the trend towards e-commerce shopping will not soon decline. For this reason, businesses must continue to get to know their customers and prospects to drive e-commerce sales and maintain a digital presence.
There is not one single lane that buyers are driving in as consumers. There are many different types of buyers and their needs will often intersect those of other groups of consumers. Some of the most common buyer personas contributing to increased e-commerce sales include:
● Cooking Enthusiasts
● Environmental Enthusiasts
● Health Enthusiasts
● Tech Enthusiasts
● Active Parents
● New Parents
Depending on your ideal customer, several of these buy personas could apply to your audience and preferred demographic. Customers that match these personas have both functional and emotional needs that a business must fulfill in order for them to complete a purchase. From helpful promotions to wanting personalized customer service, a brand must resonate with how their customers feel and what they need, in order to be successful in the fiercely competitive e-commerce space.
Connecting with Your Ideal Customers: How, When, and Where
The key to acquiring new customers, and retaining loyal ones, involves being active where the customers will see you most. From social media to paid advertising, there are never too many channels to utilize to remain relevant and increase e-commerce sales. If you are maintaining a brick and mortar location, whether it be for in-store shopping, or for curb-side or in-store pick up, in addition to your e-commerce efforts, it is important to remain flexible and ensure that you are always able to meet demands with your current inventory. A successful e-commerce campaign is rooted in knowing where your customers are at in their journey and meeting them there with products and information that benefits their daily life.
What Do Business Owners Do Now?
The last year and a half has changed the face of e-commerce sales for the foreseeable future. While in-person retail sales will always be king, e-commerce comes in as a very close, and competitive, runner up. If your business is still adapting to this shift, doing e-commerce but not seeing the results you like, or you still have yet to make this transition, it is worthwhile to speak with a marketing consultant today.
Mar Dat has followed these e-commerce trends closely since the pandemic began and we understand how to adapt your business practices to thrive even when faced with uncertain circumstances. We have several real world case studies of clients who have partnered with us and seen measurable results in their leads, sales, and overall customer retention. To schedule a free, 15-minute consultation, contact our team.