Top 5 Online Retail Strategies for 2012

According to a recent study by PayPal and Forrester Research, online retail is expected to grow by 12.2 per cent in the coming year to reach $37.7 billion in 2013. Along with adjusting marketing strategies to suit the online environment and faster delivery times by using effective shelving systems, businesses can make it easier for customers to buy their products or services by providing simpler online payment options and facilitating smartphone usage. In this article, we look at some of the top online retail strategies for 2012 and beyond.

Simpler Payments

As more and more buyers grow accustomed to the online retail environment, they’re looking to simplify the process. The October 2011 report from Forrester Research (‘Secure Insight: Changing the Way We Pay’) mentioned above suggests that as many as 40 per cent of consumers are looking for simpler payment options when they shop online.

Many consumers are finding that they have to change payment methods depending on what and where they buy. This suggests that businesses could improve the customer experience by going beyond just providing an e-commerce site to looking at including payment options that simplify the entire process.

Faster Transactions

Online shopping can lead to faster transactions if customers are given their preferred option for payment. These may be simpler payment options that facilitate faster transaction online. New platforms and sites such as grouping buying sites mean consumers will have more options when it comes to transacting online.

People are looking for faster and more secure transaction; as such, retailers can make faster and simpler payment process a competitive advantage that provides real time saving benefit to the buyer. In addition to faster transactions, deliveries of physical goods can be sped up with the use of efficient storage and pallet racking systems and well-designed operations systems.

Facilitate Smartphone Usage

Technology is another factor driving the search for simplified payment options. The rapid uptake of smartphones in Australia has meant that mobile payments are growing by as much as 430 per cent a year (according to the Forrester report).

Around 39 per cent of consumers are looking for information about products or service on their smartphones. However, consumers are not only looking for product and service information online, they’re more likely conduct final transactions (purchase transactions) online.

Mobile based shopping can mean simplified payment options are more important to consumers using smartphones compared with those accessing the site with their PC. Thus, facilitating smartphone use or simplified payment options for the smartphone platform is also important.

Multichannel Presence

Consumers, whether ultimately shopping online or in a physical retail store, will use a multiple number of channels to research a business or product before they decide to purchase. Consequently, businesses need to make sure that they establish a marketing strategy that covers most, if not all, of the relevant channels.

Depending on the industry, this mean may require traditional advertising, online marketing, and other strategies such as direct marketing and cold calling. Related to this is the fact that consumers are also sharing their opinions on products as they go, so social media is an important marketing channel.

Making It Easy for Customers to Do Business

What each of these strategies suggests is that businesses should be looking to make it easier than ever for customers to do a number of things. First, to be able to find out about the business and its products and/or services online. Second, to connect with the business with queries or questions, and to receive a quick response. Third, to finalise a purchase online across a variety of devices (smartphone or computer) where possible.

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