There are five key areas that retailers need to focus on when it comes to e-commerce in this new pandemic era – according to information shared in part one of the webinar series presented by Google and AVB Marketing, which started yesterday and continues through Thursday, Oct. 8.

The 2020 Fall Home Furnishings Insights series offers insights on furniture shopping in the new normal during three sessions being held this week and co-hosted by Kristen Fox, Google Customer Solutions, strategic partner manager, and Brian Wattier, vice president of AVB Marketing.

The five areas include: Having a fresh and updated website design; integrating up-to-date inventory with online merchandising; ensuring the presence of compelling content including product videos and photos; optimizing mobile check out with multiple payment options; and offering online financing options.

“Our studies show people are consuming more media such as watching TV while on the laptop and the phone,” said Fox. “Mobile data usage grew by 50% in March alone. And, we’ve seen an uptick in folks looking to refresh their homes and turning to retailers who are prepared with relevant information online.”

Among the data Google has gleaned since the virus took hold in March:

  • 30% of consumers say a reliable website is more important than before.
  • 33% of consumers said they will shop online more frequently.
  • 52% of consumers say free delivery is important.

Fox said the goal is to translate foot traffic to web traffic and suggested retailers could do that by considering four questions.

  • How are you adapting and adjusting to shifting consumer trends?
  • Are you showing up at the times of day when people are looking?
  • How are you effectively managing the marketing budget across digital/traditional routes so people can find you?
  • How are you making sure potential customers are aware of products that you offer along with transparent shipping times in this new reality?

When it comes to offering support at various times of the day, Wattier said that having live chat or live text is becoming a necessity.

“It’s important to have some type of messaging that allows for consumers to ask questions and get an instant answer,” Wattier said. “We put live chat on 300 websites since March. Many people carry their phone with them through stores and text or chat to look for answers while in the store.”

The complimentary webinar series, “2020 Fall Home Furnishings Insights,” is open to all retailers, vendors and friends of the independent home furnishings channel. There is still time to sign up for the webinar series, which runs from 2-2:30 p.m. EST. Today, the focus will be on furniture retailers’ most effective digital strategies by taking a look at video, Google Ad types and targeting the right online audience.

The series concludes tomorrow, with a preview of Black Friday, including what to expect, how to strategize and where to invest.

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