Looking to grow your business? Upgrade your e-commerce strategy
[Commentary] Jonathan Hougardy Head of Business Development, Ecommerce, Merchant Services, Worldline
Ecommerce is the simplest and most effective way to grow your merchant business, allowing you to attract customers and enter new geographies via fresh channels. With that in mind, in today’s digitally dominated world, an e-commerce strategy is no longer a “nice to have”, it’s an absolute necessity. A strategy that helps to identify new trends and enhance your offering to meet changing customer expectations.
What are some of the biggest opportunities and challenges for ecommerce and merchants right now?
Ecommerce is here to stay, bringing with it a competitive new landscape in which merchants must find new ways to attract customers, increase brand loyalty and provide easy access to new sales channels.
With the rise of digitalisation, direct-to-consumer competition levels and customer acquisition costs are increasing, making it progressively difficult for merchants to attract new customers and transform this new audience into long-term profit drivers.
Beside fast-free shipping and easy returns, consumers are looking for seamless omnichannel, personalised experiences and brands to connect with. A strong brand is undoubtedly the basis of new online growth. Brands must highlight what makes them unique, demonstrate their values and must be present across every channel and every service, in order to increase and ultimately dominate market share.
“ Consumers want a customised brand experience anywhere and at anytime “
New in-store experiences, conversational commerce and, more recently, the Metaverse are increasingly critical to a merchant’s sales strategy with a strong focus on live shopping experiences – which have a 10x higher conversion rate than website – and including sales assistance. Access to these channels is a fantastic opportunity for merchants to improve brand awareness but can present some challenges in terms of technology and security. To reduce the barriers and leverage these growth opportunities, merchants must source the right payment partner to deploy customised and optimised payment experiences.
Food, beverage and personal care are still among the biggest sectors to capitalise on new consumer habits and new ecommerce subscription models. Fashion has achieved significant growth by collaborating with influencers who provide access to a huge new audience. Growth is also bolstered with new same-day delivery options and hassle-free return processes. Meanwhile, gaming, metaverse, e-learning and e-health are emerging as developing sectors.
In terms of geographies, Asia and LATAM – particularly in Brazil and Argentina – demonstrate some of the highest penetration rates for e-commerce with strong online sales increasing in India and the Philippines. Interesting growth in Africa and the European Middle East market is also being detected.
Next steps for ecommerce
Even if we cannot predict the future with certainty, ecommerce is an exciting space within which to operate. Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies look set to further accompany merchants on their road to automation. The metaverse and augmented reality are beginning to provide customers with access to immersive shopping experiences and to test products in new ways. In addition, biometric, blockchain technologies and digital currencies will help merchants to improve trust and security for customers.
A robust ecommerce strategy now!
Consumers demand digital for its ease of use, for easy access to a wide range of competitive prices and simple fulfillment options. For these reasons, merchants must act now to develop a robust ecommerce strategy and user experience. As part of this strategy, the capturing of data is key to providing a better service and understanding customers. Supported by new AI tools, data can also help merchants to manage stocks more precisely and reduce the risk of lost sales opportunities with the right fraud prevention.
In this new and changing landscape, a customisable payment solution is imperative. A strategic payments partner will collaborate rather than dictate and help merchants to reach their unique potential.
At Worldline, our payment experts support merchants to boost their online business with Worldline Online Payments solution, dedicated to ecommerce. Our solution can propose various payment features and add-value-services to reach new sales channels and geographies.
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