May 4, 2020

Developing an eCommerce App in the Time of Corona

Nogah Hendler, VP Product Comm-IT

Large and small businesses alike are now facing a new reality of restricted traffic due to the COVID12 epidemic. There has been a meteoric rise in consumer demand for products and services they are accustomed to receiving online, in an attempt to maintain as normal a routine as possible.Businesses, for their part, are making efforts to meet consumer demands and remain relevant these days.

Alongside this increase in demand for online consumer goods, the Corona Crisis has brought about a major increase in demand for services. Gaming companies and online video conferencing companies, such as Zoom, have seen a rise in their stocks’ price. LinkedIn also took advantage of the situation and began offering its subsidiary Lynda’s online learning services free of charge to attract consumers to purchase more courses, as these are precisely the kind of services the population around the world needs today.

Over the past few years, the eCommerce world has pivoted from a product-focused approach to a value-focused approach. An end-user who is preparing to go out to dinner, is no longer merely looking for a nice shirt to buy for the event. Rather, in the eCommerce world, he has an encompassing envelope of experiences available at the touch of a finger, including cosmetics, shuttle services, restaurant reservations and more.

In recent years, accessing the eCommerce world has become a habit for many people. The psychological barrier is lower: the technology exists and consumers are ready to embrace it. It is conceivable that the Corona Crisis will force the market as a whole to complete the last steps of its education towards purchasing online, even if it is against their will, forcing consumers to get used to the new reality. Today, more than ever, small and large businesses must offer digital services to keep them afloat.

When launching new eCommerce services, an app submitted to the market must be well-built to deliver value to both consumer and business, to prevent users from abandoning the purchase, to retain them after the purchase and to do the utmost to ensure they will return time and again to the shopping experience.

Here are some steps you should take when developing your eCommerce app to increase value and maintain sales during the Corona Crisis:

1.      Marketplace Planning: The marketplace is where users can view the services and/or products, and planning it is critical to user retain ability and to user conversion from short-term, one-time visitors to repeat users who stay longer, purchasing multiple products and services. Users sometimes abandon apps after first logging on when it is slow, uncomfortable or deemed threatening.Therefore, the marketplace is where the full weight of characterization lies, for that is where the first impression takes place – the initial user experience to which the user is exposed. It is the face of the app and it must be seductive,non-threatening, not cluttered and convenient to use.


2.      Adjusting to culture: Marketplace success depends on users' culture.Take marketing banners, for example. In the U.S., incorporating banners with promotions and discounts in apps greatly increases user engagement. In Israel,these actually cause buyers to abandon the purchase because they don't like products being pushed too hard. By the way, this trend has started to change slightly,and in some cases, Israelis also accept the banners’ presence, but a deep analysis of the target market culture needs to be done in any case, and your app needs to be adjusted to maximize visitor conversion to buyers.


3.      Building data-driven system: Users who sign in to an app are used to being offered relevant products and services. For many of us, it is strange to be presented with irrelevant offers, sometimes these even discourage us from completing a purchase. This data-driven system, which includes ML mechanisms, should take into account many layers of information in order to match the user with relevant offers - location, past searches, past purchases,local trends, seasonality and more.


4.      Adding to cart with shipping time: At this point, it is important to allow the user, as soon as possible, to get an indication of when he will receive the goods. Users do not like to go through dozens of steps before they understand when the shipping will be due. They have no desire to complete an ordering process and only at its end discover that the shipment will arrive at a completely irrelevant time.


5.      Making payment accessible and secure: Information security and privacy issues constantly come to the forefront and could lead to abandonment.Users like to have the option to pay securely through PayPal, Google Pay, etc.In Israel, traditional credit card payment methods are being used, but the Corona Crisis is likely to lead users to open charge accounts to increase information security and you should be prepared for this change.


6.      Providing Support: After the transaction is made, when the payment has been made but the goods have not yet been delivered hands, it can be said that the user has entered the "anxiety phase". He will visit the order page to check up on the exact status of his order. This page should provide as much accurate and detailed status as possible, married with support infrastructure such as chat bots and online chats with customer service representatives. It is advisable not to push too many email or SMS status messages so as not to overwhelm the user. The status of the package source,location and arrival date must be marked clearly on the order page, and be the focus of its content.


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