by Andrew Cornale
In 2020, retailers were forced to digitally transform to stay afloat during the pandemic. When COVID-19 hit and Australia went into lockdown, it forced retailers to re-evaluate their business model and address gaps in their digital offering (or lack thereof). As a result, we saw a wave of digital transformation as retailers raced to get their store up and running on e-commerce platforms. In fact, Shopify stated that its platform grew by 71 per cent in Q2 2020 in comparison to Q1 2020.
Now it’s 2021 and the goal is no longer to simply stay afloat, it’s to excel. The foundation was set in 2020 when websites and e-commerce stores were developed but now it’s time to further explore the capabilities and opportunities for businesses. Websites are set up, bugs have been fixed, new processes have been trialled and amended – and now it’s time to reel in more customers. 2021 is the year of digital marketing and retailers should be preparing themselves for another massive year.
Online is the place to be
According to Australia Post, 5.5 million households shopped online during November 2020. Additionally, over 30 percent of shoppers made online purchases more than once a week on average during this time. This represents a huge opportunity for retailers. Not only does it show that there are a huge number of digitally savvy customers, it also shows that they’re comfortable and willing to spend money online – frequently.
Retailers who’ve already got an e-commerce store are already one step ahead. Next, is generating interest in your brand, inviting new consumers to spend and finding ways to retain your existing customer base. If there are 5.5million households shopping online then digital marketing is the key to unlocking 5.5 million opportunities to build your customer base.
Digital marketing is the best next step for retailers
Being online is one thing. Being found online is another. With the increase of brands online, retailers are competing for their customers’ interest now more than ever. The competition is steep and it’s important to stand out. Retailers need to question – how can they get the attention of their audience? How can they reach new customers and entice them to spend, or at least find out more? How can they reach them with a message important enough to reel them in? How can they be adding value for existing customers?
Digital marketing can put retailers in front of the right audience at the right time. For many, online shopping is the method of choice and it’s important for retailers to recognise this and get in front of their customers.
Where to start?
Digital marketing encompasses a sea of things and can be very overwhelming for retailers who aren’t sure where to begin. The most important thing to keep in mind is that every touchpoint with a customer is a chance to build that relationship. So, depending on your demographic and the type of product or service you sell, segment out where the best place is to plant yourself in order to build that relationship.
Facebook ads cover a large audience and the segmentation options are quite detailed. It’s an affordable way to test the waters and see what your customers are responding to and therefore interested in. Add to that, once you’ve been able to discover what kind of messaging resonates with your audience, you can replicate that on your website to help funnel people towards conversion.
COVID threw a spanner in the works and retailers have had to adapt to incredibly fast-changing consumer behaviours and expectations. Last year was about doing what needed to be done to keep people coming through the door (albeit a virtual one). This year isn’t about staying afloat, it’s about finding the right opportunities to help brands and retailers excel and break through boundaries they didn’t even know existed.