This past year has been incredibly hard for consumers and businesses alike, with the ongoing pandemic completely changing how international companies are trading, shipping, and selling items. For local and small physical businesses, the pandemic has brought about tough decisions and a loss of revenue for many who have had to close down. If you are thinking about moving your business into the online world and want to launch an eCommerce store or even your own marketplace platform, then look at these five must-follow trends.
Trend 1: Virtual Experience is a Must
With buyers being unable to touch products or try on physical goods, the importance of providing a high-quality, virtual experience is a must. Why? Photographs and product descriptions are great but they aren’t enough to make the sale anymore. Here is what you need to do:
- Provide more photographs that showcase the product’s quality. Give a 360-degree angle and make sure to show off your product’s texture. This will help make sales on items like furniture, clothing, and makeup.
- Recommend similar products. If your buyers are purchasing a foundation for their skin, compare it with shades that previous customers have bought so that they have a reference point. Or, consider giving recommendations of products that go well with the choices already in their basket.
- Allow your customers to see how your products fit and look on themselves. Virtual fitting rooms and “try-on” options increase the chances of making a sale because your customer can see what the product looks like directly on them.
- Consider presenting your products via unboxing videos that showcase how they look at different angles, how the setup works, or what they look like under different lighting.
- If you can swing it, collaborate with famous or well-known celebrities, bloggers, and influencers to advertise your products or services to your audience. If you can’t attract famous celebrities right away, reach out to local bloggers or writers to create content around your products and services.
Trend 2: Push for that First Purchase
If a customer makes their first purchase with you and they are satisfied with the product and their experience, they are very likely to come back and purchase again. Place a high amount of emphasis on pushing for that first purchase through incentives like loyalty programs, discounts, or free delivery. Beyond this, remove barriers that block that first purchase from being made.
Improve the shopping experience by allowing your customers to purchase from you without creating an account. Having to come up with yet another account name and password can be frustrating for many, especially those in a hurry. If you don’t want to allow users to check out as guests, then simplify your registration process.
Your user interface needs to be visually appealing, but your user experience is way more important. Your platform’s user experience needs to be seamless, it needs to flow, and customers should not have to think twice about what to click on, where to go, or how to edit their order. Make it as intuitive as possible and watch as the sales climb.
Make sure that your eCommerce shop or web store is accessible on all types of devices, including mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. Provide a seamless mobile user experience with a responsive website design that is visually appealing. Look into developing a progressive web application or if you have the overhead for it, build a fully native mobile app.
Trend 3: Using Social Commerce to Sell & Connect
When it comes to social media, everyone has an account on one of the giants. Social commerce is becoming hot, hot, hot with shoppable posts and seamless checkout. The advantage with social commerce is that consumers can see the product right in a social media post and buy it right then and there without having to navigate away. Instagram and Facebook are huge for creating shoppable posts and advertisements, but they are also great for connecting your brand to your audience. Use it to:
- Promote your marketplace to the masses by getting your posts to appear in their news feeds. You can boost your brand’s visibility and exposure by simply telling people about your business or marketplace on social media.
- When using social media to boost your brand’s exposure, keep the mood and atmosphere light, friendly, and transparent. Encourage discussions, leave feedback, reply to comments, and spend time with your audience. This will help you build a community.
- Use your social media pages to announce sales, discounts, and deals that will attract more customers to your business. This taps into customers who want to make an impulse purchase.
Trend 4: Convenience & Flexible Delivery
With so many marketplaces available to consumers, you have to be convenient to use. If you deliver hassle-free, affordable, and quick delivery options, you are far more likely to be chosen over another platform or delivery service.
- Provide more delivery options to your customers. Yes, you can use big-name carriers but also make sure to look at local carriers that may be able to handle smaller loads of deliveries for a much more reasonable price. By cooperating with several carriers, you can offer same-day delivery, real-time tracking, and text notifications.
- Free delivery is almost a must nowadays. Consumers love to make purchases on items that have free shipping built right into the product price. If you can’t offer free delivery, then provide a fixed delivery fee and have this point-blank showing on the product page. This removes a negative cart experience when the customer goes through the entire checkout process, only to find that the delivery fee is too high for them.
- If you’re not providing a fixed delivery fee or free shipping, then include the shipping fees and the total price right on the checkout page. Customers want to know how much they are paying for an item as soon as possible.
- Make sure that the returns of products is a seamless experience. You don’t want it slowing down your daily business operations and you don’t want to not provide returns at all. If you think you’ll struggle with this or currently are, hire more staff to do returns, create better and more detailed product descriptions, or increase your prices to cover for it.
- Offer the ability to send their purchases as gifts.
Trend 5: Foster Loyalty & Community
When you foster a loyal community, you get free advertising via word-of-mouth and testimonials which are given to friends and family.
- While automation makes everything quicker and generates a positive customer experience, you still need the human touch. Make sure that you are posting about the reviews and recommendations you get from satisfied customers to make your marketplace feel more human. When communicating with your audience, designate one or two people who always appear – this gives stability.
- Consumers are more likely to buy from companies that use a personalized approach. Meaning, consumers will make more purchases from businesses that provide offers that meet their direct pain points and needs.
- Have vendors that use sustainable manufacturing practices, are eco-friendly, or donate a percentage of their profits to charities. Promote brand values that are in line with your audience.
- Provide your customers with valuable content around your market. These could be blogs with tips or how-to guides on how to use certain products.
If you’ve read all the way down to here, then you are well-equipped to jump into the digital world of online selling. These marketplace trends will have you building a highly scalable, friendly, and successful business in 2021. To know how much would it cost to develop your own eCommerce Marketplace platform, contact us!