The eCommerce sector is going to lead the charge this autumn with a predicted increase in sales by even 20%. While back-to-school advertising is down by 50% and retail experiences a drop in sales, eCommerces are expected to keep growing, even more than the last year’s 15% boost. See how you can benefit from the new ways customers shop online to make these trying times easier on them, and lucrative for you.

 

The upcoming season is going to be pretty tough for a lot of families and that translates into direct difficulties for brick-and-mortar stores, which experienced a ~4% drop in sales last year. However, as more school activities are moved online, with a lot of schools across Europe and the United States going completely virtual, eCommerce shops experience additional growth opportunities. A lot of ways in which parents approach the education of their children are going to have to change. Find out how you can benefit from these changes instead of losing because of them this autumn.

 

Consider whether the items you offer can be useful in improving the online learning experience

 

In previous years, going back to school was a pretty straight-forward affair –  the children of your customers need new notebooks, pens and pencils, school books, backpacks, clothes, and a whole lot of other miscellaneous supplies. But with the move to online schooling, some of these items become obsolete, for example, backpack searches on the internet experienced a 50% drop. Meanwhile, other options may suddenly become a priority when designing a good learning environment at home, some perhaps surprising. For example, web searches for desks increased by 10 times since January, meaning a lot of families are wholly unprepared for these changes and are scrambling desperately to design a good space for learning in the home environment.

 

What this means is that there’s going to be a market shift where some stores, like electronics or furniture, can capitalize on a trend that previously didn’t affect them. We’re already experiencing this shift now with drops in sales in retail and increases for eCommerce, so you should consider the new way we approach education carefully and see if there’s a place for your brand in enhancing the home experience. The big winner of this trend is going to be the electronics industry, with predicted growth of 24% by 2022, but less obvious leaders may emerge along the way.

 

Adjust your website to meet user requirements in this period

 

The global pandemic already has had a great effect on the shopping habits of people, as online sales increased by 56% since July last year. This means that a lot of people who would previously go to a local supermarket will now shop online. Therefore, user convenience should be your top priority when it comes to your website, as retaining these new customers can prove extremely profitable in the long run, while losing them can be pretty easy by making a few unnecessary mistakes. Your customers will probably spend a lot of time online trying to find the best offers, so treat them and their time with respect –  they will probably want to be able to customize and compare offers, they’ll want the shipping rules to be easy to understand, and they will greatly appreciate an offer of help from a consultant, whether by email, chat, or call. Avoid bombarding your customers with messages and pop-ups, people already don’t like being accosted by aggressive advertisement, and it’s going to be more true now than ever in these difficult times. As people start spending more and more time online looking for offers, you want to make that process as smooth as possible.

 

Organize convenient supply bundles

 

Shopping for school supplies at the start of the new season usually consists of buying a lot of miscellaneous items like notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, etc. While some items like clothing and backpacks become obsolete, some items of comparatively small retail value are still going to be necessary. Consider bundling them together with discounts or add them to other offers on your store to reduce the hassle of making each purchase separately. You can also make this the focus of your cross-selling campaigns. Your customers will want to make the entire purchase in one place if they can help it, so surprise them with personalized campaigns offering them supplementary products. Automate these campaigns if you can, and schedule them pretty quickly after the customers’ visit, because they are likely to try and go through the entire laundry list of supplies to buy at once, nobody wants to spend a whole week trying to prepare their children for school. Additionally, using AI recommendations to suggest appropriate offers can prove very effective, as the parents will be reminded of items others have bought and which they may also find useful.

 

Increase client retention by assuring your customers that you can fulfill their expectations

 

This coming season is going to be physically and emotionally taxing for a lot of your customers. Families will be very stressed, they will need to reevaluate their priorities and change the way they approach schooling, so you need to be ready to reassure them that you’re a reliable company, ready to address their concerns. In order to relate to your customers’ worries, you can send them special, personalized offers with discounts, due to the COVID situation. A token of goodwill like that will also go a long way in increasing brand loyalty with your active users. You should also be ready to answer all queries by any means available, as your users are sure to have a lot of them, so be sure to clearly explain in your messages where and how they can contact you –  be ready to help them, and they will reward you with engagement. Customers will now more than ever look for reliability and convenience, be ready to satisfy this demand.

 

Become the trendsetter this autumn

eCommerces have been on a nice, steady growth trajectory for quite a while now, due to our increasing reliance on the internet and mobile devices, but the pandemic has accelerated this process rapidly. Nothing will ever be the same again, we’re living the new, post-Corona normal and a lot of our habits and priorities are changing very quickly. You can capitalize on this by knowing where current trends stand and acting accordingly. Change in marketing represents one thing: opportunity. It can be yours if you realize it and capitalize on it.