New strategies to use in today’s new normal

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Picture this: you are doing a random Google search for a cool new pair of shoes. At the top of the results page, you see a whole bunch of shoes, lined up with their brand names and prices. Sometimes you can even see products with freebies or, for example, a promotional code or a one-for-one purchase offer. You click on a specific pair and are automatically taken to a shopping site. Once you’ve added the shoes to your shopping cart and entered your payment and shipping information, there’s just one thing left to do: click the “Checkout” button.

We might not always notice it, but classifieds like these are an effective ecommerce strategy. Gone are the days when entrepreneurs almost always had to open a physical store and hire sales agents to sell their products. Almost anything can be done virtually now, especially when the pandemic hit, as most consumers have had to rely on online businesses for their daily needs.

Over a year later, most companies have learned that investing in digital transformation should be part of their game plans. But, as McKinsey aptly cited, being the hub is just one point on the list of priorities companies need to consider as they strive to grow despite challenges. Amid the disruptions that have slowed business growth, a promising solution has emerged. For those who retail and those looking to start their own online business, investing in ecommerce strategies is the way to go.

Many businesses are already reaping the benefits of e-commerce. Another McKinsey report showed that in 2020, e-commerce sales in the United States reached nearly 35%, down from 16% three months earlier. The same report added that companies using e-commerce strategies saw a 50% increase in their overall profit. In the Philippines, a study by the International Trade Administration (ITA), released in September this year, found that e-commerce has grown thanks to increased consumer spending and other similar factors.

Solution provider BigCommerce pointed out that new trends in e-commerce will likely shape the future of businesses. He described augmented reality (AR) as a catalyst for change in online shopping as well as artificial intelligence (AI) to help businesses keep up with changing consumer mindsets through automation. One trend that venture capital firm Loop Ventures is investigating is the use of voice search, a technology that can be used by stay-at-home buyers to shop online.

However, making the switch and integrating e-commerce is no easy task. One of the hurdles posed by the pandemic was how businesses could scale quickly but also remarkably well. It’s a battleground out there, where it’s hard to win without making the necessary adjustments. The ITA, in its report, said that while the e-commerce sector continues to thrive in the Philippines, businesses face some challenges, including slow development of digital infrastructure and low broadband penetration.

All things considered, adopting the right platform and the right ecommerce strategies is essential. More and more strategies are now being used by established companies and start-ups. An example, as described above, is the use of Google Shopping ads. It works by showing relevant products when people search for items and directing them to seller websites. It is considered to be an easy and economical way to sell products virtually.

To reap the full benefits of e-commerce, therefore, businesses must be open to implementing both proven and recently introduced e-commerce programs. In addition to creating an effective marketing strategy that adopts e-commerce methods, it is essential to try a mixture of other strategies.

Improve your website

One of the first steps in revamping or strengthening your online presence is to make sure that your main platform is functioning well.

Ecommerce brands will never go wrong by investing in a good website domain and quality, interactive media content. For businesses that have not yet made their mark on the World Wide Web, they can start by choosing an available domain and setting up a website that matches their products and attracts their target market.

Look at the search volumes of your products

Most people start shopping online by researching products. Visibility in search engines is therefore important, especially since viewers are more likely to click on the first results. This is where search engine optimization or SEO comes in. SEO refers to the process by which website owners can configure the search and visibility of their sites and links so that they can be easily found during an online search. SEO targeting involves careful selection of relevant keywords that can be used in articles or promotional content. There are various SEO optimization tools and programs that can help businesses promote their products online.

Install an efficient payment processing system

Money is definitely no longer king. The use of cashless payments continues to increase and these have become a reliable alternative to physical currency. CNBC reported last year that the pandemic has prompted more consumers to switch to cashless payments, making electronic payment providers like Apple and PayPal king in this area. To add, a study by the Pew Research Center showed that nearly a third of consumers in the United States admitted that they could go a week without making a cash purchase. Electronic payments are now made by electronic funds transfers between banks, either by credit and debit cards or by electronic checks. Businesses should also ensure that transactions made through the website are secure by adopting SSL encryption technology.

Remember the power of social media

Filipinos spend an average of four hours a day on social media, the highest in Asia-Pacific, according to a 2021 Statista survey. Similar numbers have prompted content creators to use social media as a platform and allowed social media marketing to advance. It also reinforces the fact that social media isn’t just a platform for people to share, like, and comment on posts – it’s an effective tool for ecommerce businesses. Therefore, boosting presence and engagement on Facebook and Instagram will definitely help businesses step up their selling game. Using hashtags, paid advertising, and posting relevant visuals can go a long way in boosting engagement.

Amid the adverse effects of the pandemic on business growth and expansion, new platforms and tools are also emerging. Experts say the future of work is for companies to move away from their transactions. Likewise, as we anticipate a new reality where hybrid working arrangements and alternative forms of service replace traditional methods, being innovative and open to change will ultimately help businesses thrive and grow.

Wendell Ganhinhin is a partner and director of the Cebu office of P&A Grant Thornton. P&A Grant Thornton is one of the leading audit, tax, consulting and outsourcing firms in the Philippines, with 24 partners and over 900 employees. We would love to hear from you! Tweet us at @GrantThorntonPH, like us on Facebook at P&A Grant Thornton, and email your comments to [email protected] For more information, visit our website at www.grantthornton.com.ph.


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