Ecommerce in retail: what to keep in mind for the second half of 2020

The entire planet was affected by the advance of coronavirus during the first few months of the year. This birthed an unprecedented acceleration of internet sales to the extent that experts say it grew in a few months what it should have in two years.

With social distancing continuing in many counties, consumers continue to buy more online and will feel comfortable doing so after the pandemic due to the conveniences of payment methods, delivery times, price choice, among other factors.

In fact, market analysts say that the eCommerce industry will be the main beneficiary of the coronavirus pandemic.

But for retail to take advantage of this trend, it must consider a series of additional phenomena, or else competitors may gain the upper hand. One key is:

  • Purchases on mobile devices: Ecommerce growth is driven in part by the increase in the use of mobile devices. This is because people not only buy online, but also because many prefer to investigate their buying decisions on small screens first. There are even those who indicate that mobile commerce could position itself as the main online sales channel. This phenomenon is more drastic when it comes to Millennials and Gen Z, as they prefer to use their smartphones instead of resorting to computers.

Consequently, retail must have a website optimized for mobile use, making it easy to navigate and offering a user-friendly experience throughout the process, including details related to the shopping cart and payment methods.

  • Take advantage of marketplaces: Implementing tools such as Click2Sync (which serves to publish products on different eCommerce sites and keep stock and prices updated) is essential to increase sales through third-party platforms like Mercado Libre. To advance with this solution based on the cloud, there is no need to make investments; as all you need is an Excel file and a Mercado Libre account.
  • Voice shopping: The concept of speaking instead of typing is growing among internet users, especially in developed countries. In fact, by 2022, 55% of homes in the USA will have smart speakers on which to conduct voice shopping. This ecommerce trend has grown in popularity since 2014, when Amazon launched its smart speaker. Although voice buying is in its early stages, signs point to it increasing in popularity in the coming years, and platforms better be prepared for that. They need to adapt to recognize voices, but they must also consider that the experience will be less and less visual, as the searches are through verbal commands.

It’s interesting to note that instead of using voice search for the process of searching what to buy, users turn to it once they have already made their decision.

  • The role of social media: The number of social shoppers is also increasing quickly. With the introduction of the “Buy” button on Facebook and Instagram, these platforms are paramount in the world of ecommerce

Faced with this, there is a great opportunity for brands to start polishing their presence on social networks, especially since they are sites on which people spend several hours per day.

Social networks act as channels of inspiration and allow retail to be discovered, and brands need to take a shopping-centric approach to their social media strategy.

  • Artificial intelligence (AI): Global retail spending on AI will reach $7.3 billion per year by 2022, compared to an estimated $2 billion in 2018, according to BusinessWire findings. This is due to the need seen across retail to create a more personalized experience for customers.  

Without a doubt, AI tools— from automated marketing platforms capable of generating timely offers to chatbots that respond to customer inquiries instantly—are essential for retailers looking to offer the most appropriate AI-optimized prices and discounts to customers. In the same way, these algorithms are used to forecast demand.

As retail invests in improving areas such as customer service, the role of AI will strengthen in the coming years because of its ability to understand customer reactions to the product or service purchased. This will play an important role in figuring out how these businesses can improve the customer experience.

With the advancement of technology and changes in consumer behavior, Retail must closely follow trends and adopt digital solutions to take full advantage of the acceleration of eCommerce that will continue during the second half of the year. By appealing to digital solutions from experts, it's possible to optimize existing operations, reduce costs, simplify processes and enable new digital revenue streams, always offering the best service to customers.

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