Web store as the safest way of shoppingIt's time to create a Webshop
author: Nevena Mikec, 21.04, 2020
As the world faces a coronavirus pandemic, there is a growing awareness that many rules are changing and that few can predict precisely how things are going to be when this danger ends. For now, one thing is for sure; online shopping is the safest way to shop when staying at home saves lives.
Web shopping refers to the purchase of goods and services from sellers via the Internet, or through a digital platform. Customers visit online stores using a computer, and the advent of smartphones has made online shopping more comfortable and accessible than ever. Buying from the comfort of your own home is currently a breath of freedom, unlimited by strict quarantine regulations.
The web store has been around for almost twenty-five years. It now is more popular than ever, thanks to global coverage, ease of use, and flexibility in situations like this where nearly every country in the world is in quarantine. We could conclude that visits to web stores and online shopping are one of the few things that have remained unchanged by the global crisis and the new rules of conduct.
Online food store trade boom
According to data released by USA Today, in late March, total online food sales jumped 25% amid the COVID-19 crisis, with daily transactions up more than 100%. This significant growth is a clear indication that this extraordinary situation is significantly changing the shopping habits and trends that have prevailed so far.
In Croatia, this has proven to be an ideal opportunity for small producers and family farms to market their products in online stores. Homemade, organically grown ingredients, reasonable product prices, and door-to-door delivery are the ideal combination for success. Not to forget large and small grocery stores, whose products are also in high demand and part of everyday shopping routine. When customer habits have moved from physical stores to online stores, the transition to online sales seems like a natural process in maintaining or even increasing business.
Even before this health crisis, the demand and sale of healthy foods, superfoods, dietary supplements as well as organically grown fruits and vegetables, was on the rise. Now it is entering the scene with even greater enthusiasm. When the threat of infection potentiates health awareness, customers turn in large numbers to products that are recommended and labeled as healthy.
According to the Aprils forecast of eMarketera for Internet stores in the US (before COVID-19), the expected growth in sales of food and beverages for 2020 was 23.4% or 32.22 billion dollars. This segment is only 3.2 % of the total retail sales of food and drinks. This fastest-growing category of web trading shows that impressive figures are in the coming months.
Even closed markets did not diminish customers' desire for domestic products. On the contrary, trends on social networks, as well as official statistics, show a willingness to change shopping habits. Even the elderly population are turning to e-commerce, for the first time in large numbers. Croatian customers are willing to spend their money on a wide range of domestic products, from olive oil, cheese, honey, meats, and eggs to fresh juices, homemade jams, or spices and herbs. Local production should accept this situation and turn it to their advantage. The possibilities are high, and it is a logical step for producers and grocery stores to create a web store and move to a digital platform. A large number of potential buyers are currently sitting in their armchairs, surfing the Internet in search of a family farm that delivers to their door.
Clothing items are still in demand
In response to mandatory social distancing, many have opted for online shopping. Adobe Analytics found that orders in online clothing and footwear stores increased by 62%, compared to last year.
When selling clothes online, we are talking about a relatively wide range of products, from clothes, shoes, and supplies for babies and children to everyday or high fashion for adults, work suits, sports range, underwear and, of course, currently in high demand sports tracksuits and pajamas. Artisans and people who are engaged in sewing, clothing repairs, and handicrafts, who can easily place their products and offers on the market in their online stores, should not be neglected either. An online presence is key to creating a brand, even when starting with just one product.
For a web store, often just a good idea is a good start. There are many examples of success that started with only a captivating print on an ordinary T-shirt and achieved global success. Also, the production and sale of baby clothes and footwear are continually growing. This type of clothing is still in demand because, unlike adults, children are growing and often need to buy new clothes, regardless of reduced social contact and staying at home.
Often overlooked but a significant thing in online clothing and footwear stores is the clothing size chart. "When customers have to guess the size themselves, one of two things happens: either they don't buy, or they buy two or three sizes and return the ones that don't match," says Morgan Linton, co-founder of Fashion Metric, a company that offers sizing tools for the webshops. An extensive product size chart is essential to the success of an online clothing store. Sizes must be easily understandable to customers, visible, and easily accessible to keep the return of goods to a minimum.
In the case of online clothing stores, it is important to assess, more accurately analyze the market that is to be covered, and follow the estimates to organize the state of goods in stock and orders from suppliers.
Technology as a necessity, but also as fun
It is hard to imagine what life in quarantine would have looked like 30 years ago, without today's technology. The digital world significantly reduces the feeling of social distance but is also crucial for the dissemination of essential information.
According to the New Yourk Timesu the business of technology companies is not only holding up well but increasing its growth and sales. At a time when large numbers of people work from home, they rely even more on technology and the services of technology industry companies. Likewise, with more hours of free time at home, the technology offers a handful of different things and gadgets that make isolation easier; from smartphones and cameras to record quarantined videos to digital books and the ever-popular, video games. Parents and their children in this situation have to rely almost entirely on technology that is key to learning from home. Television is essential for watching televised school programs, learning, teaching, and communication with teachers and school are possible with the help of computers or tablets.
On the other hand, electronic toys are great to fill free time and, in addition to the play, can improve cognitive and motor skills in children. It is hard not to notice how much we connect to technology, and thus the need to buy technological devices does not subside. One interesting fact is that sales of office supplies have increased since a large number of employees now do their work from home.
Online e-commerce stores could prove very important during, but also after, quarantine. But one of the elements of success is the customer support that these online stores offer. According to various surveys, as many as 50% of customers are more likely to give up shopping because of poor customer support. The right support tools help maintain high standards, thereby helping to grow and create a quality brand.
The user interface (UI), the visual part of a software application or device hardware that determines how a user communicates with an application or website and how information displays on the screen, is another essential factor in attracting and retaining customers in a web store. An excellent interface facilitates user interaction, making it simple, intuitive, and efficient. Complicated and cluttered interfaces repel customers and lead to business downturns.
The user experience (UX) must fulfill a purpose - to be useful and relevant. With a well-designed UX, an online store can significantly increase the chances of attracting and retaining customers. According to Adobe Analytics, 38% of people leave a website after just a few seconds if the content or layout is not appealing.
Online stores use payment gateway systems to charge for their products and services online securely. One of the first and perhaps the most famous is PayPal. Today, there are many quality and reliable systems such as Pay Way (T-com), WS Pay, Pencepay, and many others that have entered the scene. When deciding which method to choose, it is best first to study the connection costs, usage fees, commissions, types of cards accepted, and more, and then select.
New customer habits
Analyzing the current market situation for Lider Sanja Jonke, media director of the marketing group Real Group, concludes: "Crisis shopping is certainly changing the pattern of consumer behavior and introducing new and permanent patterns of increased online shopping even among the elderly population. Brands, both during and after this crisis, are going to start developing and adding online sales channels to their existing ones."
The same magazine, in its article on new customer habits during and after the coronavirus pandemic, predicts growing demand for hobby and handicraft products, as well as children's toys and games.
If you are planning to start your web store, we are happy to offer you help in achieving your goals! Let us know your ideas and wishes, and we will provide you with tips, suggestions, and webshop design services. The cost of creating a webshop depends on many factors. We need to know the type and number of products you sell, the complexity of the design, the time invested in the work as well as the technological and marketing requirements. Several factors determine the price and time of production, so we suggest that you send us an inquiry and present your idea. We are your next step towards success!