COVID online retail boom: what consumers want online

BY Australian Retailers Association
02 July 2020

The world of e-commerce is rapidly changing with COVID-19 overhauling consumers’ shopping behaviours almost overnight.

With Australia going into lock down, nonessential businesses were forced to close and customers were ordered to avoid public spaces. In order to survive, many businesses had to adapt to the ‘new normal’ and be flexible to meet the needs of the consumers’ changing needs. This is what is now known as the COVID online retail boom.

So, what do consumers want online and how can your business create long-term relationships with the consumers post-pandemic?

According to Carl Popovic, founder of eDelivery, an uber style retail delivery service that sees products delivered to customers within two hours of purchase, consumers want five things and businesses that provide them will be the most successful. 

“Make no mistake, consumers are now more astute and careful with where they spend their money online than ever before. Retailers need to weaponise aspects of their business in order to survive and thrive,” Popovic said.   

Popovic has outlined the five key things consumers want in a COVID and post-pandemic environment.

Cheapest prices

“As customers have adapted to these strange times, they are becoming increasingly tech-savvy. Not only have consumers in many cases been left with no option other than to shift to online shopping, with more free time than ever before, it has meant they’re spending more time comparing prices from site-to-site.

“In order to support your customers’ needs and build a successful, long term e-commerce operation, it is important you too are staying up-to-date with competitors' prices and value propositions,” Popovic said.

“More than 50 percent of households have less to spend. This means retailers are competing for less available spend. Pricing needs to be razor-sharp to win the business. Brand loyalty is mostly now a thing of the past.”

More ways to pay

“On top of demanding the best price possible, consumers also expect more and better online payment options on mobile and desktop sites,” Popovic added.

“With a sharp increase in online fraud and scams during COVID-19, shoppers need to feel safe and be able to pay using a platform they trust.

“Companies such as PayPal and Apple Pay are widely trusted by consumers on an international scale, enabling a frictionless checkout experience. In addition, large retailers are offering customers the option to save their payment details for a fast and easy checkout.

“These technological advancements normalise the checkout experiences for consumers and eliminate any fears of fraudulence, making them more likely to engage with your e-commerce site.” 

Reviews, reviews and reviews

“There is no doubt that consumers need confidence in an online store in order to make a purchase – and they’re not hesitant in doing their research.

“As the online retail space expands, reviews have become not only important – they are essential. For many, independent sites are important reference tools. Reviews are a key tool in establishing credibility and confidence with customers given the rise in scams.

“Reviews are social proof that make your business appear more trustworthy, as well as boosting SEO rankings and extending the online conversation about your product or services,” Popovic said.

Easy return policy 

According to Popovic, in order to maintain a competitive edge in the e-commerce market, an easy return policy is essential.

“Customers return products for a whole range of reasons – change of mind, doesn’t fit, wrong item – so dealing with returns is unavoidable as a business. Whilst some e-commerce sites overlook their returns policies and processes, your returns strategy can become an integral part of differentiating your company. Customers are most likely to make purchases from a site that offers hassle-free, timely returns than one that does not or is not clear on their website,” Popovic added.

Fast and cheap delivery  

“We know the biggest differentiator in online retail is delivery. Customers want the fastest delivery possible, and the company that has that wins the business,” Popovic said.

“Customers want the fastest, most reliable and the cheapest delivery with tracking capability. Speed of delivery is the new ‘compete’ weapon. Weaponise this and you’ll annihilate your competition.”

As the country sat in lockdown, e-commerce became an indispensable tool for Aussie shoppers. With online stores becoming increasingly accessible on mobile devices, consumers are admitting to shopping from their beds, the bathroom, the car and the office – so basically anywhere!

Popovic believes eDelivery is the new frontier.  It’s revolutionising retail forever.

Written by Carl Popovic from eDelivery

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Australian Retailers Association

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $320 billion sector, which employs more than 1.3 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating, and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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