Dubbed as the ‘loyalty shock’, millions of Aussie shoppers have used alternative stores, products and brands for the first time — due to the pandemic forcing changes in shopping behaviours.
As a result, many merchants had to quickly rush to adapt to these new conditions with quick fixes to ensure they could still remain operational during this time. Now, many are wondering if this will be a long-term change and questioning if it’s a safe bet to keep investing in their eCommerce strategy.
Well, even with restrictions easing in Australia, a survey by Mckinsey consultancy says these newly adopted shopping behaviours could be a permanent shift.
So if these new behaviours are here to stay — let’s discuss what some of them are, and how merchants like you can follow suit.
Pre-pandemic, Australians were considered slow adopters of online shopping, particularly in comparison to the US and Europe. But as soon as restrictions as a result of COVID-19 were enforced, many who only shopped occasionally online — or rarely ever — started to embrace online shopping out of necessity.
More than 200,000 Australians shopped online for the first time in April 2020 and online spending grew by 80% year-on-year in the same month, according to industry reports.
Older age groups were the hardest to reach and convert online, but they have shown a clear increase in the use of online shopping. However, the shift is more noticeable among younger people, with 62% of 18-25 year olds and 57% of 26-35 year olds frequently buying online.
With more Australians shopping online, the key for merchants is to ensure you’re delivering a great online experience.
Online Shopping Expectations
As more shoppers turn to online carts over in-store visits, it’s important to understand where your business can improve its online digital experience. Also take into consideration that 53% of Australians now have higher expectations compared to pre-COVID days. Here are some things to think about:
Speedy and safe transactions
From the Australians surveyed, less than half said they were willing to wait no more than 60 seconds before abandoning an online transaction. This means having an easy, accurate checkout experience is important.
You can boost customer trust and loyalty by highlighting that you have fraud protection and cybersecurity measures in place. A survey of 1000 Australian eCommerce shoppers in March 2020 — before COVID-19 restrictions took place — found that 45% said the possibility of fraud kept them from shopping online.
Familiar payment methods
Although Buy Now Pay Later is gaining popularity, cards (debit and credit) are still the payment method of choice for online shoppers. Cards were used in 52% of all online purchases in 2019, with digital wallets making up 22%.
Finding a bargain
Another trend to note is the spike in sales around November every year. This coincides with annual Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Click Frenzy events. These events have proven to be big selling opportunities to Aussies who love a bargain.
As a merchant, you can take advantage of this demand, which typically lasts from Black Friday all the way to the second week of December.
Keep in mind that you may have to check in on a few things to prepare for a big sales event, including whether your website can handle the increased traffic load, you have enough stock inventory, and everything is connected and running smoothly.
Research conducted by We Are Social and Hootsuite discovered the top ways Australians discover brands they shop with.
The top three were via search engines (42%), ads on television (42%), and word-of-mouth (38%). This was followed by social media ads (26%) and in-store displays or promotions (25%).
While ads on television can be an expensive endeavour for many brands (especially now), working on your website’s search engine rankings and improving your social media efforts can be an effective way to boost your brand awareness. Plus, the rise in online shopping lends itself to investing more into online channels.
Your long-term plan
2020 was reactive. It forced the retail industry to adapt quickly and find ways to remain operational online. As industry reports and findings suggest, the new shopping behaviours of Australians are likely to stay. So instead of reacting, you’ve got an opportunity to be proactive in what you do next to stay competitive.
Author: Samantha Aston, eWAY.
This article has been republished with permission from eWAY.
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