One of the biggest business stories that has emerged from this COVID-19 crisis is regarding the huge clothing brand, Primark, revealing the importance of eCommerce.
Since lockdown, it’s been forced to close in Europe and the US, with monthly sales going from £650m to nothing. It has also had to write down the value of its clothing stock by £284 million.
Difference Between Primark and Other Retailers
No eCommerce Platform
One of Primark’s biggest flaws which has caused this damage is that is does not have an online presence. Prioritising their low prices in store meant they didn’t want an eCommerce shop, but this is where they fall against their competition.
Large Corporate Owner
Other retailers are able to make sales online, whereas Primark doesn’t have this option. Luckily though, Associated British Foods is the brand’s owner. They have been able to stay afloat due to their other brands such as, Twinings Tea and Blue Dragon.
Not the Only Struggling Retailer
A similarity though, Primark aren’t the only ones to be struggling during the pandemic – and they have an eCommerce site. John Lewis are also not performing as well as before lockdown was put into place.
Importance of eCommerce in a Crisis
Even though John Lewis have an eCommerce platform, which is fundamentally where it went wrong for Primark, it seems it has not been constructed for a crisis. Although it’s good having an online shop, if it isn’t optimised, it won’t serve your business through crisis situations.
From bulk-buying to online shopping, COVID-19 has affected the way consumers shop; what they’re buying, when and how. With online sales increasing by 25%, It’s important to be able to serve every different need customers may have. Therefore, this crisis has highlighted the importance of optimised eCommerce sites.
Ways to Optimise an eCommerce Site
Checkout as a Guest
With potentially new customers visiting your site, requiring a customer account to make a purchase might put them off. In order to save their time, offer the ability to checkout as a guest. This will speed up the process, encouraging them to shop with you again – and even set up an account in the future!
Reduce Delivery Costs
A great incentive to reel in new customers during this pandemic is to offer reduced or free delivery charges. People are more likely to shop with you when there’s free or discounted delivery when you spend over a limit. With more people shopping online, delivery charges are an important factor.
Clarify Shipping & Returns Policies
It is obvious, but customers always appreciate honesty. In such an uncertain time, it is now more significant than ever to recognise businesses shipping and returns policies. They may have altered due to the pandemic so make sure they are clear. This way, customers feel informed and, ultimately, customer service enquiries or complaints are reduced.
Responsive Website Design
It is imperative that your eCommerce site is user-friendly across all devices. During lockdown, people are spending more time than ever online, whether that be on a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile. It also needs to be quick to ensure customers don’t lose interest and go somewhere else for their shopping needs.
eCommerce Design and Build by Logic Design
Primark’s boss encouragingly states that, “In time we can rebuild the profits. We can’t replace the people we lose.” Although a positive outlook in such an unpredictable situation, maybe they will now consider an eCommerce platform for the future.
Online sales channels have proven to be powerful and popular and, as long as they are optimised, they will prove to be successful in an increasingly competitive landscape.