During the COVID-19 crisis, online shopping stopped being the more convenient option and became the only option. As a result, by July 2020, almost 60% of customer interactions were digital, compared to 36% in December 2019.
At the same time, businesses had to change to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on their present and future success. For many, that meant undergoing digital transformation sooner than they may have, without such an unforeseen catalyst forcing their hand.
But what is digital transformation? Why is it important? And what should your priorities be as an e-commerce business?
We’ll answer these questions below.
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is a complex process through which businesses utilize digital technologies to overhaul or adjust their operations. This affects everything from internal communications and customer success to service delivery. For marketers, digital transformation also requires shifting promotions to internet-based tactics, evaluating new tools and technology, and using data to enable strategy like never before. This transformation can be challenging, especially if there have been any field or direct mail campaigns driving significant revenue for any length of time.
It’s not just about incorporating a couple of new platforms into your team’s daily processes. Instead, it’s about embracing various digital technologies to provide the level of experience customers expect when they visit a business’s website.
Why Is It Important?
For e-commerce companies, digital transformation is vital for several significant reasons.
First and foremost, more and more consumers are shopping online — and it looks likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future. More than 50% of the companies that saw increased demand for online purchasing and services expect this demand to remain after the pandemic ends.
That means businesses must deliver an outstanding online customer experience. Websites need to be discoverable by search engines and users alike and provide memorable experiences to real users every time.
Another reason why digital transformation matters: new technologies allow brands to learn more about their customers and provide a more personalized experience. Analytics bring decision-makers a wealth of insights into buyer behaviors, shopping habits, technical issues, etc. – especially when connected to existing first-party data sources.
These analytics can tailor services to cater to different types of shoppers — a strategy that consumers are aware is happening:
- 52% of consumers recognize when a business uses personalization
- Two-thirds expect personalized experiences after shopping with a brand
- 70% are happy to share data for a more personalized experience
Digital transformation also empowers businesses with the latest technologies capable of significantly automating many smaller tasks and streamlining processes. This frees up more time to channel back into priority tasks and improve productivity.
What Should Your Priorities Be As An E-Commerce Business?
Three core elements of digital transformation are:
- Digital marketing
- Website functionality and user experience
SEO and digital marketing increase your company’s online visibility, boost brand awareness and discoverability. Website functionality ensures that visitors have a great experience when they land on your site — increasing the likelihood of converting them into a buyer.
But what should your priorities be in each area?
Customer behavior is at the heart of this e-commerce growth because circumstances have meant that digital is the primary channel for engagement, whilst not necessarily conflicting with traditional retail channels. This ideal combination of online and offline is something we’re striving forElise Ducret, L’Oreal CMO and CDO
In 2021, SEO is still one of the most impactful ways to reach new customers.
49% of marketers say that organic search has the best ROI out of all marketing channels. And, it makes even more sense when 53% of all US buyers use a search engine to find a product. So, why not meet them where they already are?
In-depth keyword research is a fundamental part of any effective SEO strategy. You can’t afford to guess — you need to know what your target audience is looking for and how to make sure they find their way to the right page.
Good keyword research should be performed one page at a time. This might seem daunting if you have hundreds of pages on your site, so start with your most important ones (those that generate the most revenue and engagement).
The best place to start your keyword research is with your own Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools accounts. These first-party data sources allow you to see what actual users have searched for to land on your website. Optimizing around these keywords – and the keywords you expect to be driving traffic but aren’t – should be foundational to your SEO strategy.
On-page SEO helps create a clear structure for your website and makes it easier for search engines to recognize when they offer exactly what a customer’s looking for. Making on-page changes can help spiders better crawl your website as well.
On-page optimization includes:
- Optimizing meta titles and descriptions with informative, keyword-rich information regarding a page’s content
- Updating URLs to keep them organized and clear (helpful for search engines and customers)
- Creating unique descriptions for products and categories (again, for search engines and customers alike)
Google Shopping Campaigns and Shopping on Instagram
Google Shopping campaigns make it easier to advertise your products on Google SERPs and reach customers when they’re ready to buy. Ads may feature photos of products, ratings, and other essential details to entice users.
Opting to advertise to consumers via social media channels makes sense in 2021. Not only are you getting your products in front of your target audience, but you’re also building a social community. And, with that community, you can start to develop a loyal customer base. Social media can also provide a ranking signal for search engines.
Generate Customer Reviews
Customer reviews help to build trust and add credibility to your business. They can also inspire buyers to purchase a product, alongside good images and descriptions.
Start inviting customers to review products or your business overall after purchases via a follow-up email.
Around 60% of US adults prefer shopping on their mobile device than on a computer, so your website should have a responsive design. This means pages will adjust to the screen on which they’re viewed for maximum convenience and engagement.
Make it easy for customers to find products and information with clear menus, filters, colorful buttons, and simple page titles. Don’t give them any reason to become frustrated and click away. Clear navigation options are also crucial for Core Web Vital metrics.
If customers don’t trust that their contact or financial details are safe with your site, why would they buy from you?
Use HTTPS hosting with an SSL Certificate to provide customers with invaluable peace of mind. These are also important for Google as security is becoming a more significant part of its core algorithm.
In-depth FAQs answer customers’ questions, set their minds at ease before purchase, and prevent them from contacting your support team. These can include questions you receive often and those you expect to be asked someday. These are also powerful for SEO, as they can help you grow Quick Answer results and additional SERP placements quickly with a unique value proposition to potential customers.
These e-commerce priorities for digital transformation can help you provide the best customer experience, increase your visibility, and establish a more substantial path to long-term revenue.