Online volumes lose ground to offline share because of the re-opening of the world: an overview of consumer needs and demands webshops should cater to

The world is opening up again. Countries are letting go of their restrictions bit by bit or even all in one go. Health worries are dropping tremendously, even though the covid cases are literally off the chart. Correlation? Not really. Another interesting trend to follow is the trend of online purchase volumes. We also place the Online Volumes-line graph over the Covid-cases graph. Those two show clear signs of correlation from June 2020 up till October 2021. Cases up? Then online volumes are up, too. This is both good and bad news. Good: exit Covid. Bad: online volumes are dropping. The drop in online volumes is what we expect, just like the volume peak in December, and the volume decline in Q1 and Q2. 

Sharing is caring: AfterPay Insights is here to help

We see a long-term strengthening of online vs offline purchases, as consumers’ online share of total spend is higher in December 2021 vs December 2020. But trusting the trend from last year, we can expect consumers to venture out and shift a share of their purchases from online to physicals stores during Q1 and Q2. That means Online Volumes are decreasing. And as happy as we are with our freedom, we do want to help our audience and merchants’ webshops, to retain and attract consumers. To help out we at AfterPay Insights are pulling helpful numbers out of our tracker data set.

For merchants, understanding consumers’ demands is key in attracting current and potential customers to their business. In this blog we go over consumer needs and demands that merchants and webshop should cater to. That will not only attract but also retain their customer base. Keep reading.

Grouping shoppers’ demands into three categories: Hygiene Needs, Webshop Choice Drivers and Niche Needs.

Hygiene needs
1. Used before
2. Security
3. Lowest Price
4. Well Known

Hygiene needs are the most important needs for consumers. “I have used this webshop before” is the most important Hygiene need. “I have used this webshop before” is foremost a need to Retain shoppers. Reaching out to your shopper base is always a good idea. Just a simple Hello-message with (new) featured products or retargeting could help retain consumers and create extra traffic to the webshop. 
Light shoppers have higher hygiene needs in general, and fewer demands in Webshop Choice Drivers and Niche Needs.

Safety first. A sense of Security is also part of the Hygiene Needs. If an online shopper feels doubts about the webshop’s security, there is a change the shopper will abandon the basket in check out. Building and maintaining a website is easier than ever, but that doesn’t change the fact that security maintenance and keeping software and plugins up-to-date is necessary. Always be proactive when it comes to protecting your company’s and customer’s data. Whether your site takes online payments or personal information, the data online shoppers enter into your webshop must be protected, be safe and also Feel safe.

Webshop Choice Drivers.
1. Reliable delivery
2. Wide range of products
3. Good customer service

Once Hygiene Needs are met, the battle for consumers plays out in the field of Webshop Choice Drivers.
This is where merchants need to perform better than their competition to really win consumers over.

Heavy Online Shoppers’ demands on ‘fastest delivery time’, ‘flexible delivery options’ and ‘flexible payment options’ have become slightly more important during the past year. If these continue to increase in importance, they will become clear ‘Webshop Choice Drivers’ - and a competitive advantage opportunity for merchants.

Reliable Delivery plays an important role. Consumers want it all, and they want it now, or at the point in time they select during check out. Not getting a parcel at the given time causes for a drop in satisfaction of the webshop. Communication is key when it comes to delivery, leaving very little to the unknown status. Parcel left the warehouse? Tell your consumer. Out for delivery? Tell your consumer. Parcel delayed? Tell your consumer.

Good Customer Service is what makes shoppers come back. Afterall, shopping is not just making purchases, it is also an experience. A positive experience adds value to your product of service and is likely to result in another visit and transaction with your business. An extra benefit here: It’s always cheaper to retain a current customer than to acquire a new customer.

“Good customer service can justify a higher price tag on your product or service.”

And finally, Niche Needs become the final, critical factor for choosing a webshop. Heavy shoppers have higher niche needs. Keeping these needs in mind when communicating and handling purchases help serving up the best experience an online shopper could wish for, and keep them coming back for more.

Niche Needs
1. Fastest delivery time
2. Flexible return options
3. Flexible payment options
4. Display in-stock information
5. Flexible delivery options

What’s next?

Split Payments, who’s interested in that? And which methods do consumer use to split payment? How many installments and how long does it take before the full amount is paid? Our next blog dives into these questions. We are curious about the results, hoping you are, too. Come back next week to learn more about consumers and split payments with us.

Until next time.