From the prioritization of existing customers to the integration of the most frequently used payment methods: E-commerce companies can adjust these parameters.
The bad news doesn’t seem to want to end, the consumer climate is currently deteriorating from month to month: This is how the Consumer Climate Index of the Society for Consumer Research (GfK) in October to -42.8 points. Forecasts say that the negative spiral will continue indefinitely. Even online trading, which has been on a continuous high in recent years, has stalled this year: Loud Figures from the German E-Commerce and Mail Order Association (bevh) the e-commerce segment in Germany recorded around eleven percent less sales in the third quarter of 2022 compared to the same period of the previous year. The industry is all the more pinning its hopes on Black Friday and Cyber Week, which are just a few days away. These hopes are not unjustified, because a turnover of 5.7 billion euros is to be generated in Germany in this period, estimates the trade association Germany (HDE).
In times of declining earnings, these promotional days still have the potential to turn out to be real sales boosters. Accordingly, the countdown is ticking relentlessly for e-commerce retailers to prepare as best as possible for these days of action. And here I finally have positive news: Even with only a few days left until the start of Black Friday, there are several points that online retailers can still implement at short notice to improve the shopping experience for existing and new customers Improve audiences, attract prospects and maximize related sales. And these tips don’t require a huge budget either, I promise!
Existing customers deserve special attention!
Online retailers are constantly busy identifying new target groups and, ideally, acquiring new customers. Of course, nothing speaks against this approach. Nevertheless, the focus should be more on existing customers around the upcoming days of action, as a stable basis of trust has already been established with them. The effort to convince them to buy again is usually much less than when converting new customers. I recommend addressing loyal customers personally via newsletter to introduce them to exclusive deals or early access to certain offers. This shows appreciation, strengthens customer loyalty beyond Black Friday and thus generates recurring, vital sales in times of crisis.
Product packages increase the incentive!
Basically, discounts should never be the only answer to a drop in sales because they are not a sustainable solution in the long run. Customers get used to discounts and after a short time consider the discount price as the standard price, which is why retailers quickly find themselves in the precarious situation of having to forego a large part of the margins. Protecting your own profitability is even more important in times of recession than in boom times. However, so that online shops do not run the risk of being left with their goods, some of which were purchased especially for Black Friday and Cyber Week, it makes sense to include bundle offers (e.g. “Buy 3 for the price of 2”). Customers get several products at a reduced price and retailers increase the average order value – a win-win situation. This tactic is certainly not a long-term solution either, but it influences the price perception of customers far less.
Longer duration of the discount campaigns!
Due to the tense economic situation, it can be assumed that consumers will spend more time making purchasing decisions. Especially when it comes to high-priced purchases, customers will calculate their household budgets several times and critically question which products they actually need. That’s why I recommend web shops to extend the discount campaigns beyond Black Friday and Cyber Week. In this way, they increase the chances of ultimately converting the initial interest of many customers into sales.
The use of conversational commerce tools is a good way to keep the thread of communication with these customers intact. The associated individual approach can tip the scales decisively, motivating a purchase to be made. In addition, the logistics departments of the online retailers will be very grateful for an extension of the campaign days: In this way they can ensure that the orders are processed faster and to the satisfaction of the customers, as they are spread over a longer period of time and the shipping is therefore easier is equalized.
Use marketing budgets smartly!
Local e-commerce SMEs cannot keep up with the marketing budgets of the international big players. Instead of burning money with Google Ads and Co., I see the key to success in tailor-made campaigns with as little wastage as possible. Online retailers should first take their time to define and identify their target group again: who is enthusiastic about my products and through which channels can I actually reach them? Social media campaigns are particularly useful here, but the results should definitely be checked regularly. If these do not bring the desired results, they must be readjusted immediately. In addition, I recommend a multi-touchpoint approach that includes, for example, various social media channels, newsletters and a dedicated Black Friday landing page; because in very few cases is the one-time contact with potential customers sufficient to encourage them to buy immediately.
The checkout process must be flawless!
If the payment process does not go smoothly, there is a risk that already convinced customers will run away. Almost half of Germans (48 percent) are in our current European E-Commerce Report to cancel the check-out process if the preferred payment method is missing. Online retailers must check whether all important payment methods are available: PayPal, SEPA, credit and debit cards as well as Buy Now Pay Later should be included in the offer in this country. It should also be ensured that processing is available in the preferred currencies and languages of the respective target groups. With regard to the already mentioned existing customers, it is also of great advantage if their data is stored for one-click payments. The customers will appreciate this time saving, because it reduces the effort for the check-out enormously.
Basically, online retailers should do their homework throughout the year and continuously evaluate and optimize their shop, the range and marketing strategies. But I am absolutely convinced of one thing: Even if the big players like Amazon still dominate the market and are often able to use larger marketing budgets, I see a very clear advantage for SMEs in e-commerce. These companies are able to adapt their strategies to a new market situation in the shortest possible time due to shorter paths in the processing of internal processes and can score points with what distinguishes them from the start: personality, individual service and quality . There will always be buyers for these aspects – even in times of crisis. And especially during Cyber Week and Black Friday.
You can also get even more insights into customer loyalty, sales potential and innovative marketing strategies from our Digital Bash – Winter Edition on December 6, 2022.
Source: OnlineMarketing.de by onlinemarketing.de.
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