If you haven’t set up your ecommerce channel, now’s the best time to do so, especially with pandemic-driven restrictions and social distancing policies pushing consumers to do their shopping online. In 2023, it’s estimated that ecommerce will account for 22% of all retail sales globally.
To handle the massive influx of data, artificial intelligence is often used to analyze trends in the industry especially when it covers less than obvious topics like smells or tastes. For example, research from Revuze analyzed trends in the fragrance industry, one of the largest retail markets in the US. This analysis of over 630,000 online reviews gathered from the industry demonstrates how AI and machine learning can help determine future marketing trends in any given industry.
Data gathered by the study shows that for the first half of 2020, share of voice for “woody scents” and “fruity scents” increased by 26% and 16% respectively. On the other hand, citrus and herbal scents saw an average decline of 38%. The trending discussion in the fragrance industry for 2020 is sustainability; the use of natural and organic formulations is considered the basis for cosmetic innovation. The discussion volume of this topic showed a 60% increase year on year.
What can we learn from this?
The market has clearly changed and will continue to shift drastically during the pandemic and beyond. The analysis above will be relevant and is expected to hold until 2021, but further trends and changes in customer behavior can’t and shouldn’t be ruled out. Currently, ecommerce seems to be the most viable channel, with 45% of consumers stating that they use their mobile phone more for shopping since the COVID-19 outbreak. More people are also buying groceries online, and there’s been increased spending on online media and entertainment since early 2020.
Marketers and businesses would be remiss if they didn’t leverage the situation to promote growth despite the crisis. Consumers are looking for what they need online and you need to be prepared to meet them there. As SEO strategies become more important, so too do ecommerce listing strategies. It’s an uncertain time for businesses, but with proper planning and some foresight you can leverage ecommerce listings for growth during the pandemic and beyond. Ecommerce might be the most viable channel for consumers now and into the near future so it’s vital that you optimize your ecommerce channel or set one up if you don’t have one already.
Optimizing your product listings
Consumers don’t usually go beyond page two of the search engine results or product listings when looking for what to buy. It’s crucial to improve your product visibility through product listing optimization. There are four main aspects you have to consider:
1. Product features
You should ensure that shoppers have all the information they need to make a decision while also highlighting your product’s unique features. Using the appropriate keywords will also help increase your chances in becoming one of the top-ranked products in online marketplaces. Craft your product title, attributes and description carefully to optimize your listing for search so you can make it easier for shoppers to find your product.
2. Competitive pricing
Pricing has always been a factor that affected buyers’ decisions, especially now when the global pandemic has made consumers more conscious about the actual value they’re getting from the products they buy. If you’re selling a unique, high-value item, you can set any price you want. Otherwise, ensure that your pricing is competitive to keep your product at the top of relevant search results.
3. Visual appeal
Your product images may seem like they’re there just for aesthetic purposes, but images actually help drive conversions. Most shoppers check the description and product images when they get to your product page and make their decision based on them. Ensure that you have high-quality, professional product photos so shoppers know what to expect. This will also help after the sale, minimizing buyer’s remorse and customer churn.
4. Customer experience
If you’re looking for return customers, your focus should be on building long-lasting relationships. Customer acquisition should be a means to an end, with the end goal being the transformation of a buyer into a loyal patron. Customer retention largely depends on the quality of service you provide, aside from the actual quality of your products. This means that the whole customer journey must be pleasant and memorable. From providing accurate product information to product delivery, your customers’ experiences should be flawless and free from avoidable issues. Even if customers want to return a product, you must ensure that they feel special by providing them personalized and topnotch customer service.
5. Product reviews
Genuine customer reviews will add credibility to your listing and help boost your optimization efforts. There’s no way to control what customers will say about your product, but you should still send follow-up emails to customers after a transaction and ask for feedback about their experience and the product itself. Capitalize on positive reviews and address negative feedback. Addressing concerns and alleviating problems may help transform bad reviews into good ones.
COVID-19 ecommerce and beyond
The pandemic may be here to stay for the foreseeable future, so it’s imperative that you adjust you marketing strategies to adapt to the new normal. The key in keeping customers engaged and products relevant in a time of crisis is enhancing your online channels. The future of retail is in ecommerce, and the future of ecommerce relies on customer experiences that’ll keep them coming back for more. The best way to ensure a flawless customer experience is through constant optimization of your ecommerce listing according to your customers’ feedback.