Well, what a year or so it’s been for everyone. After more than twelve months of lockdowns and restrictions, businesses of all shapes and sizes now need to consider how consumer habits have changed and respond accordingly.  
We understand that you’ve got a lot on your plate, so we’ve done the research for you and put together some practical advice to make it smooth and stress-free! 

 The sudden surge in e-commerce 

Buying behaviours were already changing due to new technologies and the increasing expectations of consumers, yet the sudden shift caused by the coronavirus pandemic was unlike anything the world had seen before. 
With e-commerce websites playing a more crucial role than ever, having an online shop for your business has gone from a bonus to a necessity. It’s not necessarily a case of replacing your bricks-and-mortar presence if you have one, as an online store can work in unison with it. The outcome is greater profitability and a better customer experience, making it a win-win situation. 

 How has retail changed? 

At the start of 2020, people were still splitting their buying between online stores and physical retailers. Whether it was for everyday groceries or one-of-a-kind products, there was a high chance that someone would visit a high street shop as part of their normal routine, such as during a lunch break or at the weekend. 
Fast forward to today and online shopping has been adopted by huge volumes of people who had never really given it a go. Meanwhile, those who regularly bought products online now do it even more frequently, giving e-commerce a significant boost across all demographics. 

 Increased web sales during lockdown - examples 

We have a wide range of businesses who use our shop websites to sell their products online. Some companies make thousands of pounds in a week, others have a smaller product range or sell niche products. Having said that, the benefits of having an online shop became very clear when the first lockdown hit. 
The two examples below highlight the rise in sales from mid-March 2020 compared to previous months. In the first example, this website shop owner was making sales of between £1,500 and £2,000 each month. You can see that by the end of March 2020 the total sales hit £3,500 and then rose to £5,000 per month. The sales have stayed consistently high, even after shops re-opened, with current sales just over the £4,000 per month mark. 
Example 1: Sales more than doubled online after the first lockdown and continue to remain high. 
In the second example, this website was selling around £400 of products each month. More than enough to cover the cost of the website and to bring in a profit – especially for a second ‘home-based’ business.  
Again, you can see that in March 2020 sales rocketed from £400 per month to over £4,000 per month. Despite running out of stock, sales consistently remained higher than before and only a year later, sales in excess of £6,000 in a single month have been achieved. 
Example 2: Sales rose from an average of £400 per month to over £4,000 with sales of £6,000 a month achieved a year after the first lockdown. 

 Hybrid retail is the future 

As things return to normal, a high dependence on e-commerce will remain in place for many consumers. This is due to three factors: 
Some people have become more accustomed to shopping online and enjoy how convenient it is 
Others will still feel more comfortable with online shopping and do it more than before as a precautionary measure 
Many businesses have responded to demand by enhancing their online shop and digital marketing strategy 
As a result, having an ecommerceor shop website that’s fast, secure, mobile responsive and designed to encourage add-on purchases has never been more important. This approach is called hybrid retail, which is the collaboration between a company’s physical shop and online store. Rather than being a replacement for traditional shopping, hybrid retail celebrates the old and the new alike, all while giving a business everything it needs to offer customers a seamless shopping experience. 

 Will this trend continue? 

The short answer is yes, which is great news for online brands. The longer answer is that 30% of online users aged between 18 and 44 say they are more likely to move towards online purchases in favour of physical retail buying after the lockdown has fully ended. This means that e-commerce businesses have to continually up their game by ensuring a smooth and intuitive customer journey across their website, social media channels, email campaigns and other online marketing content. 

 How can my business keep up with demand? 

The main takeaway is that if your business sells products of any kind, your website and online marketing activity need to cater to increasingly virtual buying behaviours. 
The average customer has a lot less patience whilst shopping online compared to when visiting a traditional store, so grabbing their attention is absolutely imperative. At the core of this approach is digital content such as engaging blogs, photography and promo videos, all of which we can provide if you don’t have the time to create it. 

 Visitors want to feel valued 

The targeting of marketing messages to your ideal buyer personas will help to convert casual views into regular purchases. Meanwhile, dedicated online customer service will further strengthen the bond, potentially leading to consumers transforming into valuable brand advocates. 
Make sure to ask us about our popular live chat feature and other ways of keeping visitors on your site for longer, as this greatly increases the likelihood of a purchase being made right there and then. 

 It’seeze Shop Package 

This is a pivotal time for e-commerce businesses and the rate at which yours evolves will determine its future. That’s why the It’seeze Shop Package includes everything you need to sell online: 
Unlimited pages, products and payments 
Practical shop management 
Easy transactions 
Real-time reports 
The ability to add discounts, delivery options and recommended products 
Much, much more – ask us for details 

 Let’s talk professional web design 

The specialists here at It’seeze Websites Hull & East Yorkshire provide professional web design, affordable ecommerce website packages, digital content creation and an easy to use website editor, giving you everything you need to sell online. To find out more, get in touch on 01482 880929 or fill in our contact form
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