Resilience. Adaptability. Ingenuity.
The best human traits come to the fore when catastrophic events cause changes so fundamental that the old rules no longer apply. As the world adjusts to life under a global health emergency, people find new ways to not just survive, but to also thrive.
For retailers and their customers, online shopping has become a lifeline, keeping shops and restaurants in business and providing the public with the goods and services they need. Forbes reports that people who previously were reluctant to shop online are creating online accounts with retailers. As a result, they are “experiencing an entirely new customer journey [and] may never go back to their old ways.” For businesses adapting to this new terrain, having a solid point of sale system can ease the transition.
How Retailers and Shoppers Address the Pros and Cons of Online Shopping
Safety is everyone’s primary concern now. Rather than responding in fear, communities, businesses, and individuals must educate themselves so they understand the risks and how to minimize them. Staying safe means staying smart by applying safe business practices as retailers continue operating during these difficult times.
- Heed the advice of local government and health authorities relating to social distancing, self-isolation, and other safeguards. It’s everyone’s duty to minimize risk, especially to the most vulnerable in our communities.
- To reduce the physical interaction that can spread COVID-19, encourage delivery and curbside pickup of takeout meals, groceries, and other products.
- Encouraging customers to take advantage of online shopping also contributes to stopping the spread. As part of this effort, talech is waiving fees for Online Ordering through September 2020.
- Use contactless payment whenever possible. Many cards, phones, and smartwatches now support contactless payment, so retailers should ensure their POS system is configured to offer shoppers this option.
- Communicate with customers via social media to inform them of the measures your business has taken to protect their health. You can also let them know if your operating hours have changed, and alert them to promotions and discounts.
Facilitating the Shift to Online Ordering
The last thing retailers need is more disruption to their business operations. That’s why the move to online ordering has to blend smoothly with existing practices while simultaneously making it easy for customers to reach you. Online ordering must seamlessly integrate with your POS system while also being flexible and customizable
These are the features to look for when implementing online ordering:
- A branded website
- Integrated payment options
- Fluid order management
- Automatic notifications
- Reports offering insights into your customers
The online ordering system should allow orders to be paused when a surge hits. It should also provide retailers with the option of adjusting the times during which online orders will be accepted, and it should keep customers notified of the status of their orders. Other useful options include the ability to track customers’ in-store and online activity, and to monitor sales across all channels.
How to Counter the Disadvantages of Online Shopping
When considering the pros and cons of online shopping, one of the most formidable challenges for retailers and their customers is how to resolve problems when they arise. These problems include dissatisfaction with the quality of a product and knowing when products are on backorder. The Balance explains that these situations are usually resolved quickly and simply by store employees when customers are on the premises. However, finding resolutions through a web interface usually takes more time and effort.
These are among the challenges retailers face when dealing with their online customers:
- Online shoppers aren’t able to negotiate price and payment terms the way on-premises shoppers can.
- Online shoppers can’t always tell whether the retailer’s site is legitimate and safe to use for their purchases.
- Product returns often entail charges for restocking and shipping.
- It may be difficult or impossible for online customers to reach a human being to help them deal with a problem.
- Online shoppers may not be aware that a product they purchased isn’t available immediately and may take weeks to be delivered, which is especially problematic when they are buying gifts.
Many of these problems can be avoided or minimized by ensuring the retail online ordering system has the right mix of features and runs on a solid infrastructure. POS vendors offer retailers the expertise to anticipate problems and help sellers steer clear of them.
For example, retailers may not appreciate the need to make their sites easy for customers to use while also ensuring that the site’s interface reflects the business’s brand and in-store atmosphere. The appropriate interface gives customers the sense that they are in control of the ordering process, including being able to use their preferred form of payment.
The eCommerce Options that Can Make a Big Difference for Your Business
Online shopping has become an ordinary part of our daily lives, yet many retailers haven’t put much thought or effort into how they present themselves in the virtual space. In particular, shop owners may be missing a valuable opportunity to gain greater insight into their customers’ behavior that they can use to boost sales.
Here are features retailers should consider when planning and implementing an eCommerce solution:
- Do customers read product reviews before visiting your site or while on your site? Do they visit your competitors’ sites? By collecting this and other customer behaviors, a store can anticipate the options most likely to convert clicks into sales.
- Is your valuable customer data stored securely? The eCommerce solution must ensure that customers can shop with confidence whether they’re in the store or on your site.
- Do you know which are your hottest-selling products and which are the laggards? Tracking online and in-store sales together helps retailers identify the products to promote and the most profitable special offers and discounts.
- Does your POS system integrate smoothly with popular eCommerce sites such as eBay, Shopify, OpenCart, and BigCommerce? Such integrations boost brand exposure and help attract new customers.
COVID-19 will eventually pass into history, but the way people shop may never be the same. Successful retailers know how to take advantage of changes and trends in the industry regardless of what brought them about. Customers will continue to frequent the shops and restaurants that offer them the value, quality, and convenience they crave, whether they’re shopping in person or online.
We at talech want to assist customers that have been financially impacted by COVID-19, in light of restricted movements in cities and towns across the country. We have launched a number of initiatives to help customers during this time. Click here to find out more or reach out to our Support Team at firstname.lastname@example.org