The popularity of eCommerce has exploded over the last three years, with the option to order almost anything online proving popular for retail and wholesale customers. In Australia alone, eCommerce sales were worth $62 billion in 2022, up 8.9 per cent from 2021. Add to this the peak shopping seasons, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, the holidays (Christmas and Boxing Day), and the end of the financial year, and it’s clear that getting your eCommerce processes and systems right can drive strong revenue growth. But as retail and wholesale customers have flocked to eCommerce stores, they’ve become more discerning too.
If your business can’t offer features such as flexible payment options and fast, reliable delivery, customers may start to shop elsewhere. To win in the competitive eCommerce landscape, you need to get key parts of the customer experience right. Keep reading to learn how to win at eCommerce in 2023.
Forecast demand and plan accordingly
You’ve likely seen it before, or maybe your business has experienced it too — the order backlog that comes with peak demand periods. To plan ahead and keep everything running smoothly even when customer order volumes are higher than normal, you need to forecast demand. It is important that you spend some time at least two to three months out from peak demand periods to analyse your sales volume for the previous busy season and plan accordingly. Similarly, inventory management tools should be used to proactively manage stock levels. With customisable features such as low stock notifications and real-time integration with your eCommerce store, you’ll make sure you only ever sell what’s available while giving your warehousing team the data they need to maintain ideal stock levels.
Once you have analysed previous peak periods, you can forecast what you may expect in the upcoming busy season. This will allow you to effectively scale your resources and keep orders going out on time. According to Supply Chain Dive, customers expect orders to be delivered within five days, including picking and packing. Of course, delays may occur in busy periods, but if you can forecast demand accurately, you can plan ahead and provide a better customer experience than your competitors.
Provide flexible payment options
Buyers in B2C channels have enjoyed using a range of flexible payment options in recent years, especially with the growing uptake of buy now, pay later services. For B2B sales, however, payment options are typically limited to electronic funds transfer (EFT) and maybe card payments. Those suppliers who offer credit card payments can help customers effectively extend their payment terms by using the interest-free period on their credit card, making it an important payment option for B2B transactions. And when credit card payments are combined with access to a range of on-demand lending solutions, this further boosts payment flexibility for customers and helps both trading partners better manage their cash flow.
Provider warehouse-to-door order tracking
Warehousing and logistics are another key part of providing a positive eCommerce experience. To ensure customers always order items that are in stock and have the ability to track the order from the warehouse to their delivery address, eCommerce businesses should use integrated order management and warehouse management solutions. These solutions update stock numbers in real-time and ensure there’s no guesswork in knowing the status of a customer’s order. Further, using integrated systems can speed up the order fulfilment process and get orders out for delivery faster. This not only provides a superior customer experience, especially in peak demand periods, but it eliminates the need for customers and suppliers to spend their time manually following up on orders.
Optimise your UI to promote sales and important updates
Information about order fulfilment and shipping times is typically located within the FAQs section on a business’s website. If this information takes several clicks to find, it can result in a poor user experience. To optimise the user experience, use banner features, chatbots and space on your homepage to inform customers of current order fulfilment and shipping times. This will proactively manage people’s expectations, and of course, if forecasting and planning have happened ahead of busy shopping periods, then ideally, there won’t be too many delays in getting orders shipped.
A local coffee shop gives customers their tenth coffee free with a loyalty card, but have you thought about ways to reward loyalty in the eCommerce world? One of the easiest ways to encourage repeat business is to offer retail customers a discount code for their next order. Similarly, for customers ordering applicable products via a subscription model, providing a discount on one-off pricing, for example, can be a great way to build recurring revenue streams. And for wholesale customers, procurement solutions that allow businesses to search and buy a range of products in one intuitive marketplace while providing custom pricing, such as discounts for large or repeat orders, is an effective way to strengthen customer relationships.
Up your eCommerce game with Spenda
eCommerce is competitive, and you don’t want to win customers purely based on price. Providing an exceptional shopping and payment experience, from getting your UI right to getting orders out quickly in peak demand, is possible with one integrated system. Spenda’s integrated technology platform helps eCommerce businesses get ahead of their competition with warehouse management and invoicing tools, flexible payment options, and integrations that make data entry and reporting a breeze.
Whether you’re looking to get paid faster, improve customer loyalty, or better prepare for busy retail periods, Spenda’s solutions can help. Our Business Survival Guide: How to manage cash flow in uncertain times, outlines everything that eCommerce businesses need to do to optimise their cash flow and grow. Click here to download your free copy.