The e-commerce market is changing. We already saw online sales - in part because of Corona - increase significantly. And that trend is continuing. For example, the new generation of consumers is ordering their items online with the greatest of ease. Still, online stores run into the challenge that many products are returned.
High energy costs, reduced consumer purchasing power and future high(er) tax burdens mean that online stores must look at solutions to meet these challenges.
On top of that, online stores are currently dealing with overstock. Jansen: "During Corona, we sometimes could not handle the demand. Most stores bought into that. But, now the demand is stagnating and we are left with surpluses. I expect companies to use Black Friday to get rid of those stocks."
Online ordering more accessible than ever
Because of Corona, online shopping has taken off. Web stores have applied technology that has made the barrier to making an online purchase as low as possible. Jansen: "Ordering online is more accessible than ever. We even see orders coming in at 2 a.m. these days."
According to Muller, it is precisely technological developments such as same/next day delivery, or buy now pay later that entice consumers to make as many purchases as possible. Muller: "You separate the moment of purchase and the moment of payment. Psychologically you stimulate impulse purchases with that."
Black Friday: what will you keep?
With Black Friday just around the corner, it's the opportunity for online stores to get rid of their large inventories. And because of those discounts, according to Muller, online stores encourage impulse purchases.
Still, Muller cautions, "It's nice that Web stores can get rid of inventory. But you can ask yourself whether it makes any difference at the bottom line. We see a decline in the number of sales in the month of November. In addition, after Black Friday we see the return rate at many online stores increase by up to 140%. In my opinion, you have to look at more sustainable solutions."
Fewer returns, more sales and satisfied customers
To make Black Friday a success, there are three solutions to consider, according to Jansen and Muller. Muller: "The first is to reduce the number of returns based on data. If you get insight into the products that are returned, then you know where to focus in the sales process."
Recognizing this, EsQualo says that thanks to these insights, they are now putting a lot of time and effort into product videos, product photos and product descriptions. For example, with the help of Returnista, they have been able to reduce their return rate from 47% to 32%.
Another solution is to offer swaps. Jansen: "This works very well for us. The moment someone indicates that the size is not right, we can immediately offer another size based on our current stock." According to Muller, online stores retain up to 35% of their sales this way.
Finally, Muller says you need to focus on customer satisfaction. Every consumer has different needs. Some prefer to deliver the package themselves, while others want it picked up at home. According to Muller, if you make that process run smoothly and offer flexibility, it contributes to customer satisfaction.
According to Jansen, that includes clear communication: "Let the consumer know where the package is and when the money will be back in their account. That's how you keep the customer connected to your brand."
The elephant in the room: sustainability
When we talk about Black Friday, sustainability is a theme that cannot be missed. Several brands have indicated they do not want to participate because of the environmental impact.
EsQualo considers sustainability important, but also says it needs to turn over sales. Says Jansen, "We are mainly looking at sustainability in the production process and the products we use. But the consumer's need to buy new stuff remains."
Muller indicates that Returnista's mission is to work towards zero returns; 'the road to zero returns'. Muller: "We want to achieve that by giving online stores insight into their return flow and on the other hand by making exchanges easier. It is up to all of us to make them aware of this."
Wondering what other topics were covered during the talk? Then watch the webinar back here.
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