As we continue to adjust to life outside of lockdown, online retailers are faced with a very different landscape. After months of unrest and unease, shoppers are returning to the high-street and whether your business thrived or barely survived during the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to maintain a strong online presence. We asked our team of e-commerce experts for their tips on how to battle the post-lockdown online shopping world, from social media to staying on top of your website, it all adds up!
1. Make sure your business details are correct. With many still limiting their time outdoors, it’s more important than ever that shoppers know exactly when your doors are open. If you are on limited hours, let people know! Your Google Business listing should be your first port of call for any business updates, followed by your social media channels. Google worked with retailers during the pandemic to ensure that they had the tools they need to keep customers updated throughout lockdown, adding additional features to their listings including;
- Adjusted hours of operation, for instance, if you close early as well as noting If your business is ‘temporarily closed’, without it impacting local search results.
- Adding ‘More hours’ that describe other business operations such as delivery, takeaway and drive-through.
- Selecting an attribute to show that you offer online services such as classes, appointments or estimates.
- Highlighting delays on specific business services.
- Showing extra services that you’re providing for the community.
2. A social media presence is a huge trust signal for shoppers, and it’s more important than ever to ensure that your channels are up to date. Whether you simply provide updates on opening times or you’re able to continue with your regular social media campaigns, an active presence shows that you are still operating and ready to answer any queries. Even if your business is closed, or still on limited opening times, it’s essential to maintain an active presence. If you’re unable to sell your products or services right now, focus on sharing content that matches your brand values instead. Take a look at our guide to building a brand voice to find out more about how to communicate with your customers!
3. During lockdown, the brands that thrived online were the ones that shifted their focus to providing a different type of content for their audience. When your shoppers can’t physically visit your store, you still want to offer them a positive brand experience, and there’s no reason why this should stop. Great content comes in many forms, whether it’s video updates through Facebook Live, Twitter debates, Instagram stories or our favourite medium – an updated company blog! Ok, we may be biased but analysis of 100 fashion eCommerce sites over the lockdown period revealed that companies with an active blog made the most of the COVID online shopping boom. On average, sites with a regularly updated blog page gained 227% more traffic, according to The Industry. There’s no reason why this should stop now, so take time to plan your content schedule for the months ahead!
4. With many brands stripped of their ability to function from their physical store, company websites became more critical than ever. Companies without websites suddenly found themselves scrambling to build an online store, while those with sites were left crossing their fingers that their customers would choose to checkout with them and not their competitors. Lockdown highlighted the importance of having a website that works. As we begin to see some signs of normality, you must continue to maintain and build on the experience you offer your customers. Our Head of SEO, Chris Foster, offers his top tips…
“As stock levels may have fallen, it’s a good idea to review internal links and menu items to ensure you’re not sending people to empty pages. This can be frustrating for customers and harmful to SEO. Ensure all delivery messages are up to date; this can be a great conversion tool but ensure this is accurate to avoid disappointing customers.
5. It might be tempting to try and save costs right now by reducing your marketing efforts, but when you consider that companies are all fighting for their share of the market – it pays to stay ahead. SEO, in particular, is one avenue that you cannot afford to step away from, whether it’s your own in-house efforts or that of your external marketing team. Your online visibility is key right now and through a combination of strong technical foundations, regularly updated unique content and valuable brand building, you can ensure that you’re ahead of the competition. We’re far from being back to normal; instead, we’re adjusting to the new search landscape that requires all online retailers to keep their foot firmly on the gas.