In 2021, an effective ecommerce strategy is vital to your success, and if you don’t have one, you need one. 2020 accelerated ecommerce growth in an extreme way, creating much more competition and forcing everyone to up their game. This means achieving ecommerce success is more difficult than ever. Whether you’re looking to start a successful ecommerce business or just trying to improve your existing one, our list of five strategies to focus on in 2021 to achieve ecommerce success is for you. Let’s get to it.
Omnichannel fulfillment is (still) key
A big takeaway from 2020 is that omnichannel fulfillment is more important than ever, and it’s not going anywhere. Customers are now used to having every shopping experience at their fingertips, from curbside pickup to reserving items online to purchase them in the store (ROPIS) to returning items they purchased online in a physical store (BORIS). Even though there will be a resumption of in-store shopping, it will not reverse the rise of ecommerce. In order to achieve ecommerce success, you need to abandon the idea that ecommerce is a supplemental operation for more traditional retail channels. The proliferation of various omnichannel methods over the last year shows us a future in which customers receive the product they want whenever and however they want it. That means you need to provide speed, visibility and affordability in order to give the consumer the experience they want by relying on the continued integration of your brick and mortar and ecommerce store. Operating a successful ecommerce business means it’s time to throw old plans out the window and ensure that customer centricity is remaining key in all of your retail campaigns.
Remember the importance of your supply chain
Amidst the chaos in 2020, many business owners learned the hard way that having no visibility to their supply chains can cause massive problems. Keeping your supply chain front and center will be vital for ecommerce success in 2021. The ability to accurately track inventory levels, leverage inventory across channels in real time, and have the ability to redirect resources in the event of a shortage or disruption is extremely important. In 2021, inventory optimization will outpace traditional inventory management efforts and every retailer will need to rethink traditional inventory calendars. In the past, buying patterns could be easily predicted and tied to a seasonal calendar, but the pandemic changed that, and the unpredictability of new buying patterns means you need a new way to plan inventories and keep up with changing customer demand.
Reverse logistics programs are extremely important for ecommerce success
The ecommerce reverse logistics process and infrastructure continues to be transformed to meet the accelerated evolution of ecommerce. The increase of online purchases has significantly increased online returns. An item bought from an online store is three times as likely as an in-store purchase to be returned and consumers want to be able to make this return as easily as they made the purchase. Customers will continue to demand more visibility and speed with returns so it’s likely that drop off lockers and kiosks will become more common to accommodate these expectations. In order to have a successful ecommerce business in 2021, you’ll need to ensure your returns policy is free, fair and easy for your customers. Some shoppers will not even purchase items online if they know they will not be able to easily return them. Learn more about how a great returns process can build customer loyalty.
An item bought from an online store is three times as likely as an in-store purchase to be returned and consumers want to be able to make this return as easily as they made the purchase.
Leverage data to increase efficiency
A data management strategy has never been more important for retailers. You need to have integration across all points of your fulfillment process from shopping cart integration to the pick and pack process to accurate shipment tracking information for your customers. Real-time metrics and analysis of that data are extremely important for supply chain agility while helping enhance the digital shopping experience for your customers. This data helps you see what’s working and what’s not working and gives you the ability to make improvements to the entire process. It also allows you to see how your customers are shopping, giving you the opportunity to optimize your inventory management, engineer a more strategic fulfillment footprint and provide great customer service. Succeeding in ecommerce is impossible without a holistic approach to data and having the right tools in place to do this is vital.
It also allows you to see how your customers are shopping, giving you the opportunity to optimize your inventory management, engineer a more strategic fulfillment footprint and provide great customer service.
Prioritize convenience for ecommerce success
It has never been more important to create a frictionless customer experience. Shoppers have less patience than ever before and will abandon a purchase at the first sign of friction, which can be anything from a slow loading page on your ecommerce website to not offering free shipping. While customers are becoming increasingly difficult to please, the need for a convenient shopping experience also offers a variety of opportunities to connect with your customers. As people are spending more and more time on their phones, it leads to increased opportunities for brand engagement. A great example of this is investing in ecommerce through a mobile app. It offers opportunity for intuitive interfaces as well as personalized suggestions based on buying history-both of which are very convenient for the shopper.
Achieve ecommerce success with ITS Logistics
At ITS, we understand things are constantly changing in the ecommerce space. Our team members have years of expertise implementing ecommerce best practices and proven techniques and always aware of current challenges facing the industry. Let us handle the logistics of your successful ecommerce business and help you save time and increase revenue. Contact us today to see how we can help.