Taking Care of the Digital Customer

Given the frigid temperatures this winter has given us, I have to admit that I did a lot more online shopping.  It just seemed much easier than getting up from my couch, layering up, removing the ice from my snow and dealing with the untreated roads.  In fact, most of the time, I have a hard time convincing myself why I should go to a store for an item when I could just as easily order it online.  And the interesting thing is that I’m not alone.

According to one study commissioned by UPS, more than 70% of 3,000 consumers surveyed said they preferred to shop online.  This is due in part to the ubiquity of smartphone and tablet devices.  Today’s consumer is more likely to shop using these devices.  They might receive a recommendation from a friend on Facebook or Pinterest, or find a promotion in their email inbox and purchase the item right there and then.  Immediacy and reason are major motivation factors of today’s digital consumer.

And things aren’t going to change anytime soon.  In fact, the online shopping market has grown tremendously year after year.  This past year, online shopping grew by 15% to 186 billion dollars.  Most research groups who have analyzed e-commerce expect this number to continue to rise.  Businesses who want to take advantage of the growing e-commerce market will have to cater to what the digital customer wants.  Here are some factors to consider:

 

Order Fulfillment

Ordering something online is only worthwhile if it remains as convenient as the point of sale.  If things get lost or they take forever to reach their doorstep, the point of ordering goods online is pointless.  Therefore, businesses need the right warehouse management system software and transportation logistics in place to allow them to fulfill an order.

 

Social Media Presence

Another thing businesses must consider is where digital customers get their recommendations.  Oftentimes, they find it through social media.  Businesses that want to appeal to digital customers should have a strong social media presence in order to attract their attention.  A strong social media presence includes frequent updates, multimedia posts, contests, active community participation and more.

 

Perks

In this digital economy, customers have many choices.  Therefore, those who stand out among the pack must offer perks that appeal to digital customers.  If you ask online shoppers what they’re looking for in a merchant, the first thing they’ll usually say is free shipping.  Even if you require a certain amount of money spent to get free shipping, many customers will pay a little extra money to get the free shipping.  Other perks digital customers are looking for include being able to receive an item on a certain date and discounted shipping if free shipping is impossible.

 

There’s no question that the market is moving towards the internet.  Those businesses that can appeal to the needs of the digital economy will certainly thrive and take advantage of this shift.  The aforementioned strategies are just several ways businesses can move towards appealing to the online shopper.

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