With e-commerce further fueled by holiday shopping traditions such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday taking off at our Asian shores, consumers have become increasingly confident of the convenience, pricing and variety offered by e-commerce.
As brands rush to take a bite out of the e-tailer pie this festive month, e-commerce is set to soar.
Sale dates such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday enable consumers to go store-hopping and pick from the very best deals of all their favourite brands without even leaving their chair, Gary Teo, regional technology director, VML, said.
During the festive season, many e-retailers make a point to aggressively advertise their top-deal days before the actual sale to attract customers.
Teo explained that aggregator sites/blog pages already start showing which e-commerce sale will give you the best deals for various categories of products while other blogs showcase best gift ideas with links straight to the product, ready for checkout.
“This makes for a more convenient, cost-effective and personalised shopping experience. Compare this then with a shopping trip which a consumer has to plan the shopping trip in advanced, fight through crowds, hope for a serendipitous gift find then deal with the queue/logistics of the purchase, wrapping and gift cards,” Teo said.
Unsurprisingly then, more and more brands are tweaking and amplifying their online presence, redefining the e-shopper online experience.
Some considerations businesses must make to ensure robust support for major online sales day include early planning.
Teo advised, “E-retailers need to work through all the marketing and logistics of a major online sales day.”
- Plan through the catalogue: discounts and coupons, online exclusives. When does the sale/offers actually start and end?
- Plan through the marketing: What are your star products, What are compelling offers? How do you drive demand for those products or the whole sale even before the actual day? How do you use ads, blogs, EDMs, social channels to spread the word early and sustain the conversations during the actual period?
- Plan through the operations: How to ensure delivery before any major day (E.g. Christmas, New Year)? How to offer cheap/free delivery, how to handle offers and order changes. How does your online sales affect your store outlets or live chat channel staffing?
“These brands have very quickly and radically transformed the retail landscape and reshaped the way businesses and marketers engage their consumers, giving them greater choice and ease of access,” Nicholas Kontopoulos, global head of fast growth markets & marketing innovation, SAP hybris, said.
However, according to Kontopoulos, not all is lost for brick-and-mortar stores.
“An interesting trend we noticed is the fact that Asian e-shoppers have not ditched the brick-and-mortar store completely. In Singapore, for example, more than two in five e-shoppers are omnichannel shoppers: they browse products online but complete their purchase journey in physical stores.”
This means that retailers and marketers need to look at omnichannel customer engagement and commerce strategies to build up a contextual understanding of customers and to deliver more a impactful, relevant customer experience various touchpoints.
So what are some of the tips and tricks a marketer needs to know before diving into the e-shopping mania?
Here are three tips from SAP hybris for how marketers and businesses can tap on the e-commerce opportunity:
1. Invest in the right platforms and solutions.
To find the best fit for your business, you need to look at what is most important to you and look at vendors who offer complete e-commerce packages. For example, do you have plans to invest heavily in email marketing, or have you also considered enabling mobile commerce? It’s also important to ensure integration of robust back-end support.
Can your billing engine support influx of online sales and demand? Do you have the capabilities to manage omnichannel sales? Every business has its own unique goals and challenges, look for a ecommerce software vendor that tailor these solutions to your industry, and develop your online business quicker to take advantage of opportunities.
2. Harness the power of Social.
With more than one billion active social media users, Asia Pacific has a huge social commerce opportunity to be tapped by businesses. A recent research conducted pointed to the increased importance for brands to engage customers on social media, with findings revealing that more than 80% of Asia Pacific customers are willing to buy more from companies that provide them with convenient customer service and one in four choosing social media for customer service.
In fact, Facebook and Twitter have already began testing “buy buttons” so users could directly purchase products mentioned on their newsfeeds and tweets respectively – think about how else you can make full use of social to open users’ wallets and increase revenue.
3. Don’t neglect your offline business.
Traditional brick and mortar retailers should combine the virtual and physical worlds to generate an exciting, tailored experience for the customer – through the world of digital marketing. Brands can truly stand out if they fully blend the physical and digital presence and offering omnichannel promotions and integrate e-commerce campaigns with in-store promotions.
In a recent SAP survey, adopting an omnichannel approach proved to be critical for success with 74% experienced increased sales, 64% increased consumer loyalty/acquisition and 57% with better consumer experience. The trick is to provide consistent omnichannel experience across multiple touch points, along with seamless customer interface to keep track of all customers, products and of course the logistics networks.