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From promotions to gift cards: how a great website keeps customers coming back again and again

Guardian Technology 01 Jun 2020 10:36
With consumers shopping online more due to the pandemic, it’s important to keep them coming back. Photograph: Stocksy

Smartphone shopping, augmented-reality changing rooms, same-day delivery (perhaps soon by drone) – with so much innovative e-commerce out there, you would think that small and micro businesses were tooled to the hilt with technology. In reality, nearly half of UK small businesses lack even the most basic of 21st-century gizmos: a website.

In recent months, consumer spending has dropped significantly because of Covid-19, but where money is being spent, it is likely to be through online purchases, so a website is more essential than ever if a business is to thrive. In fact, a survey for the website builder GoDaddy found that lockdown has prompted a fifth of micro businesses to set up an online presence for the first time, while nearly half of such businesses have boosted their digital and social media activity.

One survey found that 53% of consumers had shopped more online during the pandemic, and that at least three-quarters expect to continue buying online once lockdown ends. This could well signal a permanent change in consumer behaviour.

Another way to spur bigger purchases is to create product or service bundles, or to cross-sell complementary items. Multi-buy deals – such as three for two – can result in a larger shopping basket too. And what about the customer who leaves your website without purchasing the items in their cart? A reminder email might entice them back.

Some businesses combine e-gift cards with promotions offering future discounts, which they hope will encourage recipients of e-gift cards to return and spend more.

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