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How online retailers can support customers during the COVID-19 outbreak

Posted by James Yapriadi on 15. April 2020


Since the Stage 3 restriction was enforced by the Australian Government, more people are staying at home than ever. Friends and families are wondering when they can go back to the normal lives they had a few weeks ago. With tight lock-down rules, non-essential services, especially brick-and-mortar retail stores are taking a lot of damage. As a result, consumers are forced to shift their shopping habits to limit human contact. While this is happening, retailers need to find ways to support their customers as many of them may be new to online shopping.

A survey conducted by Power Retail stated that out of 70 Australian online retailers surveyed, 20% of them increased in sales, more than 50% experienced a decline in sales, while the rest stayed the same.  The current reliance with online retail and home deliveries stimulated some businesses to hire more staffs. Dominos announced that they are hiring 2,000 staff to cater the surge in orders. Amazon also announced 100,000 new jobs to cope with the COVID-19 crisis demand. Coles, recruiting 5.000 more casual staffs to serve more customers. Even the government is telling people to stay at home and by default pushing ecommerce in order to slow down the spread of the outbreak.


Support your customers during the COVID-19 outbreak.


The public is now facing a high amount of stress and risk to just buy products they need.

 Lots of customers who normally shop in-store no longer have that luxury. They cannot simply walk into a shop, try clothes on, or ask the sales assistant for guidance and advice. Times are changing, consumer habits and changes and retailers need to change to stay relevant, retailers need to focus on how to bring the physical elements of a store online.

There are several ways retailers can adapt to changes in consumer behaviour, some that we suggest you look closely at are:


Build Customer Confidence


Purchasing products online is not easy at it seems. In particular for customers who don’t normally buy products online. Studies have shown that 50% of customers don’t know what product to buy when they hit a website. 

Many consumers simply don’t know how to start understanding your products, for example I recently purchased a wine for my mother, I had no idea what paired well with meat, I had no idea what types were heavy, medium or light bodied, these are questions I needed their sales assistants to answer for me.

This is easily done in-store. However, the same need is poorly serviced online and as a result, the customer goes along their own buying process which weakens their confidence to transact. Customers must be confident to purchase a product that fits their needs, this is important now more than ever as new users are shopping online faster than ever before, these are the same users that shopped in-store, hence are used to that in-store guided experience.

Minimize Choice paralysis


More choice doesn’t always act as a positive attribute to customers, especially products with terms and specifications that needs additional knowledge to understand. A study by Lyengar and Lepper found that displaying 6 products to a customer is better in stimulating a purchase decision than displaying 24 products.

 At times like this when many of your customers are new to your brand and the online shopping experience, the last thing they need is to experience choice paralysis. If there was ever a time to simplify your customer journey this is the time, make the experience frictionless and painless and remove that choice paralysis.

Experience In-store but On-line


In-store sales assistants are employed to make sure customers obtain the right guidance before making a purchase. Even though every single store provides this function,  online doesn’t. It’s no wonder in-store converts at 40% while online converts at 2%. Every user has different needs and they need to be provided with personalized guidance in order to make a purchase. The knowledge of sales assistants must be implemented for online stores to answer uncertainty of product specs.

Online retailers must integrate improved customer experiences in their online shopping journey at times like this. Governments effort on social distancing and online retail success definitely supports each other.

Preezie is here to help online retails and customers to keep on delivering packages to customers front door during this unpredictable time. Our guided conversion algorithm has helped businesses to truly understand their customers’ needs and wants while recognizing an increase in conversion, sales and leads.

Topics: RECOMMENDATION ENGINE, Guided Conversion, COVID-19

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