The virus outbreak in early 2020 sent shockwaves throughout every business and industry. Power Retail sat down with Shannon Ingrey, the Vice President and General Manager of BigCommerce, to discuss some of the most significant changes and trends e-commerce has experienced since the WHO announced the pandemic.
The 2020 approach to online retail is far different from five years ago. What are some of the main features that every e-commerce platform should consider in 2020?
It really depends, every retailer and team are different. Some of the key areas to consider are:
Connectivity – Can my e-commerce platform connect with all of the other systems to run my business? How easy is it to get that information in/out.
What can the team do themselves and how fast? – E-commerce platforms historically needed large and experienced teams to set-up and run day-to-day. That continues to evolve and you can now instantly do most day-to-day tasks such as page design changes with no coding required.
Can my platform (and business) scale? – One thing that this sustained period of growth has uncovered is that some websites (and businesses) weren’t built to operate at this increased level beyond brief sale periods.
Flexible payments are a borderline compulsory feature to offer for retailers. How many payment options (BNPL, PayPal, etc) should a retailer consider for success?
I think it really comes down to understanding your audience. It’s not uncommon now to see retailers offering four (or more) BNPL options. If these options are appealing to different demographics that you service and it makes sense then go for it.
As you’ll read in the survey, it’s essential to have PayPal and a robust credit card offering that can support the cards and currencies your customers want to use. This is so easy for retailers to implement now that there’s really no excuses for offering a poor payment (or statement) experience for consumers.
Delivery looks quite different when comparing January to March. How has delivery changed, and what may be expected from retailers in the future?
Just like for retailers, the shift in buying habits and increased volumes meant that AusPost and the major carriers had to quickly adapt. We started seeing weekend and late-night deliveries become normal and increased lead times impacting consumer experiences.
We also saw a big swing in Click and Collect orders. Australian consumers, heavily accustomed to browsing in shoppings centres quickly pivoted to wanting to pre-purchase their goods and spend as little time as possible in the store. Those retailers with a smooth and quick Click and Collect offering are well-positioned for success in the future.
As online shopping becomes more popular, do you expect shipping costs to increase to balance costs, or do you think that free shipping will become more prevalent?
I don’t see this changing too much. As a consumer, I love free shipping, but I also don’t mind paying for options when I need them. I would expect that shipping options will increase as online shopping continues to grow and carriers develop new and innovative services to address the demand. Those new services will have a relevant cost associated, but free shipping will still be a part of the mix.
Now, more than ever, retailers need to build robust strategies to bolster sustainable growth. While the popularity of online retail continues to flourish, finding the painpoints and how to action them is crucial in these uncertain times.
BigCommerce’s new report on the 2020 State of E-Commerce ANZ leverages the most up-to-date data from shoppers and Australia’s Top 500 retailers. Download the full 19-page report here.
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