Guest Article by OnBuy
It seems almost impossible to imagine how the world looked to entrepreneurs and businesses this time last year. Buoyed by the success of 2019’s Golden Quarter, we were all optimistic that the fresh decade ahead of us, and tremendous growth in online retail, would lead to consistent opportunity and fantastic advances. Yet the events of 2020 have led the entire eCommerce industry to leapfrog ahead of expectations in terms of growth, revenues and opportunities. But businesses can’t afford to be complacent, as new economic constraints and ongoing societal concerns continue to affect consumer confidence and spending.
Preparing for the Peak
The growth of eCommerce in 2020 has been no secret, easily outshining even the most optimistic of forecasts of years past. Customers depend on online shopping more than ever now, with OnBuy.com, the world’s fastest-growing marketplace, establishing new records for growth that have set the stage fantastically for expansion into over 140 countries worldwide by year-end 2023 – a move that will unlock over half a billion product listings across the planet.
Indeed, the acceleration of eCommerce brought on by the global health crisis looks set to keep pace in the coming years. Nevertheless, with such immense opportunity, and immense competition too, online retailers and eCommerce entrepreneurs are joining hands with effective logistics solutions providers like never before to enjoy the upswing promised by doing peak season 2020 right.
So how best to accomplish that? Initially, it comes down to understanding your customers, but not just in terms of demographic data like age, gender and geographic placement.
Three peak preparations to consider
Every successful eCommerce sale comes down to three things – listing the item, winning the customer, and getting their product to them safely. Yet as online shopping becomes even more relied upon to fill in the gaps of physical stores – both in peak season 2020 and long thereafter – ensuring you’re set for success is vital.
Marketplaces and multichannel selling
Firstly, consider the avenues to market you’re using, from your own eCommerce website to the marketplaces you trust to get your items online in front of millions of potential customers.
The old days of simply entrusting your inventory to a single point of sale are long gone, and more and more eCommerce entrepreneurs are finding success by instead adopting a multichannel marketplace strategy that lets them find the broadest customer base.
With millions of new customers discovering OnBuy during 2020 alone, there’s much to be said for the notion of shopping around. Consumers who cannot find what they’re looking for on one marketplace or eCommerce website will search it out on another, so it pays to be present, as proactively as you can, with the goods and prices that will capture customers’ interest.
Creating trust and compassion
Secondly, recognising the mindset of consumers during peak season 2020, going into 2021 and further, is vital to future-proofing your business – even when the Golden Quarter itself is over.
Taking into account the considerations affecting the economy, public health, and the overall implications of the predicted recession, consumers worldwide are more receptive to a fair deal, effective pricing and trustworthy businesses than ever.
Yet creating trust can seem elusive, especially when we have just discussed how consumer loyalty altogether has become a little more difficult to predict. However, with the right approach, you can ensure your online presence is trusted by consumers throughout peak season.
Customers want reliability, open communication and an acknowledgement of the challenging times of our age, without being pandering or overly doom-and-gloom about it. Master this, and you’re well on your way to securing a place in their hearts and minds whenever buyers need to purchase something new.
Don’t take logistics for granted
A proactive approach to your shipping, logistics and fulfilment solutions can go a long way to ensuring that your business doesn’t suffer any untoward effects from this extremely busy season for deliveries worldwide – a factor further exacerbated by the high level of logistics activity that has already been exhaustively required simply to keep everything moving during the global health crisis of 2020.
Customers are likely to anticipate a shortfall in delivery capabilities as we move towards the end of the year, and many have begun their festive present shopping early to accommodate that, using events like OnBuy’s autumn Price Crash event – or the ever-popular Black Friday.
This is a time-sensitive time of the year, so banking on customers’ patience – already worn thin from the events of 2020 – won’t be enough to see you through the quarter. Instead, consider taking a proactive approach to the smart use of your packaging material, the versatility of your logistics solutions, and the providers to whom you entrust your products as they make their way to eager buyers.
Above all else though, remain open in communication if and when challenges do arise. Customers will appreciate you more if you address any bottlenecks, delays or concerns in your supply chain as far in advance as possible. It all comes around to that ideal of trust and assuring consumer certainty.
What we’ve all learned from 2020
Opportunities in eCommerce are demonstrating greater potential than ever before, and taking the relevant steps to take charge in the peak shopping season won’t just help you win big as we see out a remarkable year – it’ll also help you stand tall in the vibrant eCommerce industry that will define the decade to come.
From OnBuy’s perspective, this has been a year of remarkable growth and opportunity in eCommerce, although it’s also brought challenges that have tested the mettle of businesses both big and small.
What has become clear throughout is that sellers who place their trust in marketplaces need those same platforms to prove a lifeline through thick and thin – which is why, even when international health concerns peaked and other marketplaces began preventing the sales of non-essential items, OnBuy remained steadfast in giving online businesses a reliable route to market, no matter what they sold.
The logistics of the new normal
From a logistics and shipping perspective, 2020 proved a trial by fire, putting solutions providers of every shape and size through their paces.
Those who proved the most adaptive, tenacious and scalable were able to ride the wave and find new success, with reliability and accountability becoming hot commodities for both customers and eCommerce partners alike.
Having already proven a tremendous growth industry, eCommerce was accelerated on every level during 2020 – both in terms of the variety and number of products customers were buying, and the demographics of those customers overall.
Today, and going forward, we are all operating in service of a more diverse and dynamic range of consumers, businesses and partnerships than ever before – meaning there’s everything to play for heading into 2021 and beyond.