The current, unprecedented situation, even when it poses a threat to many industries and businesses, is expected to aid e-commerce growth. With an increasing number of people expected to stay indoors, there will be a rise in online sales. And thus, the Pandemic will fuel the already witnessing brick-and-mortar store apocalypses. With social distancing in place, it has become clear that the option for businesses, both B2B and B2C, is to expand and improve its online store efficiency. The knowledge to oversee and predict the possible profitable approach would also mean facilitating the need of the hour.
To meet the current requirement, it is essential to revisit the business plan and strategy, relying on the latest technology to smart-run your business. The businesses will need to devise changes across purchasing, planning, and inventory-management operations.
There has been an increase in online sales of groceries, medicines, and other essentials. Supermarkets and pantries are already witnessing a few-fold rise in sales, and it is expected to rise 20-30% compared to the last quarter. It would take a few months before things get back to normal, and during this period, there will be a steady rise in demand for a few more categories such as clothing, especially infant wears and products, electronics, health, and wellness.
Also, during times like these, when businesses are finding it challenging to manage orders, it would be best if we can limit order exchange or return. With limited resources available, safe handling of the exchanged or returned goods will be a matter of concern, and so, it will be ideal if the business can function smartly enough to minimize these occurrences.
Even when online shopping is considered the better alternative that would help people to stay away from the crowd and practice social distancing, there have been concerns about package hygiene. The possibility of the delivery boxes and products getting contaminated cannot be denied, and so, it has become the responsibility of e-commerce to ensure the packages are safely handled, avoiding any contamination. A Contactless or hands-off approach is highly recommended as it is ideal to have reduced or preferably no human contact.
It is also important to have a proficient inventory management system that would help provide customers with accurate information, thus maintaining a good business-customer relationship. The process should be optimized, well connecting the buyer, supplier, and the carrier. With lockdown and other restrictions imposed, the elderly have to now resort to buying products online, resulting in an increase in the number of buyers of the age group 60 and above, and this is a new trend that needs attention.
Businesses should realize that a robust, well-integrated e-commerce site or app will play a crucial role in providing them a future. And so, from getting your site or app ready to smoothly and efficiently handle the traffic to automate a few processes to keep up with the increase in requirement is necessary. Thus, ensuring there is no delay in the process and the customer expectations are met.
It is also important to have a listing tool that gives real-time inventory updates, which is important for both the business and the customer. In the current situation, the possibilities of product unavailability due to a decline in production or delayed delivery because of movement restrictions are high. And the business should have visibility into all of this and more to be in a position to act quickly, with fair precision. And so, it is also necessary to have an efficient order tracking system.
To minimize human involvement, options such as warehouse automation, unmanned delivery robots, delivery drones should be considered. Alternatives to reduce human-to-human contact during product delivery would include designated drop-off stations, time-slot delivery, leaving packages at the door.
A live chatbot that provides constant assistance, if requested, throughout the shopping process will be a very helpful feature. Apart from responding to customer queries, a chatbot, ideally, voice chat should act as a shopping companion, providing measurement, color, or even product recommendations. And thus, ensuring a more interactive online shopping experience.
Differentiation boxes for packing are highly recommended. The boxes should be differentiated and marked based on boxes that are safe to handle (machine handled or sanitized) or unsafe to handle (possible contamination from human contact). E.g., the outer box of a package will be marked unsafe as it would have been possibly touched and handled by many in the transit process.
Another option that will be helpful for the elderly, less mobile or special-needs customers is an all-automated, Good-to-use Box. The product(s) in the Good-to-use Box is safe to use without any sanitization.
A virtual store tour, accompanied by an agent bot, will sell more products than the usual product listing. And would appeal to many customers, especially the older age group, as it provides a similar shopping experience of walking into a store.
The Pandemic is believed to bring long-lasting, lifestyle changes and will certainly change the way the world shops. And so, remaining competitive by offering improved e-commerce services is necessary to sustain. Revamping the process and addition of technologies should not be considered as a futile expense but rather as a thoughtful investment.
Royal Cyber has the experience and knowledge that would help your business navigate successfully through these unfamiliar, demanding times. You may be interested to know the Royal Cyber Offering Complimentary Services for up to 2 months. To know more about how we can help you improve your e-commerce offering, email us at [email protected] or visit www.royalcyber.com