Since Michael Aldrich demonstrated the first online shopping system back in 1979, e-commerce has consistently evolved year on year to bring us the ability to purchase items at the touch of a button.  What started out as simple transactions using a standard computer, now offers a far more complex and integrated approach in today’s society.  Bringing an up to the minute online shopping experience 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and by allowing us the ability to order whilst on the move through our Smartphones, the customer experience is far greater than just the exercise of buying online. There is much more depth to how we engage with brands, product types and product uses and it is about communication and customer service as much as the product itself.

So how does online shopping integrate with consumers now and what does the future hold?

Targeted advertising - If you are browsing at the latest skirt or researching your favourite car, then it is certain that algorithms will be tracking you. Displaying responsive adverts based on the criteria of your previous searches is just one way in which e-commerce integrates with customers.

Going Social – Instagram have just launched their online platform so that retailers can upload a photograph of a product and then link to a BUY NOW button.  Not only are social marketing online platforms like Instagram a great way to build networks further afield, they also offer a unique opportunity to sell goods direct and with ease , often from the platform itself.

Personalising the experience – Adding options such as ‘You might also like ….’ ‘Customers who bought this, also bought ….’ Or demonstrating a product in situ with other products for sale, offers a more tailored online shopping experience and the opportunity to up-sell items that perhaps the customer might not have previously come across.

The challenges of GDPR – With the introduction of GDPR, retailers have had to evaluate new ways to communicate with customers through the use of email marketing. Techniques like loyalty cards, sign ups and monetary discounts off future orders and online receipts, has enabled businesses to continue communication with their customers far beyond the initial purchase.

Providing a Delivery Choice – This has seen proven success by online shopping businesses and depends very much on the customer. There are customers who will plan well in advance and will want to take advantage of low cost posting or even FREE posting to a local store, whilst there are others who will hastily require next day delivery and will be prepared to pay for it. Dropshipping direct from a manufacturer or warehouse can be very extremely beneficial to online retailers who are looking for a low cost business model as they don’t need the capacity to carry stock or pack and post.

Customer Service – Providing a good standard of customer service and a flexible returns policy is as important as any sale. Establishing your terms and conditions in a clear and concise way so that the customer knows their rights and the ability to offer ‘Quality’ and ‘Communication’ throughout, are at the heart of all successful and established brands

Protecting your online retail business – Calling all online retailers! Crendon Insurance Ltd are here to support you! Covering many aspects of online shopping from e-commerce and IT platforms to stock control and dropshipping or building cover and public liability, our online retail insurance plans are tailored specifically to the requirements of online retails. Please get in touch to find out more.

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