By Dr Eugene Brink
In 2020 people around the world have grown accustomed to ordering products and service over the internet. Likewise, businesses have expanded their ecommerce platforms to cater to these changing needs.
Tencent and Amazon have become global titans and ecommerce is delivering convenience for buyers and reduced costs for sellers.
Customers’ means of interacting, demands and buying might have changed significantly over the last 20 years, but the stakes for businesses with electronic offerings couldn’t be higher. Clear and effective communication is still the bedrock of any business strategy and organisations that fail to practice this will flounder in an economy that is increasingly digital – especially in the Covid-19 era of minimal contact.
Business writer Lisa McQuerrey states that in contrast to brick-and-mortar businesses, where personal contact with customers and clients is the stock-in-trade, ecommerce businesses depend on virtual communication methods. “While this is often a more efficient and effective means of exchanging information, workers must take care to ensure appropriate messaging and clear communication to guard against misunderstandings. Poor communication in ecommerce can result in lost business or an unprofessional business image.”
Firstly, this virtual communication depends on a convenient and effective website. “An easy-to-use company website is an essential tool for an ecommerce operation. Include high-resolution photographs of products, detailed descriptions of products and services and, if possible, video tutorials on how your products work. Include a frequently-asked-questions section to address common questions and concerns so you can quickly and efficiently communicate information to prospective customers,” McQuerrey advises.
Part and parcel of the website is a blog. “A blog presents an interesting platform for you to converse with your customers and prospects. In adding to the freshness of the site, a well-cultivated blog helps build credibility and trust,” writes tech entrepreneur Ajeet Khurana on The Balance.
It is also advised that you enhance your search engine optimisation (SEO), which will improve your rankings in, and traffic via, search engines such as Google. For instance, this can be done by way of the clever use of frequently searched keywords.
OK, so you have a website on Google but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee your company optimal exposure. Seeing that billions of people worldwide spend so much time on social media, its benefits are irrefutable.
Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat will help your business to firstly expand its online reach. Moreover, it allows people to share your brand with their family and friends while you’re able to engage them in a more casual way than is the case with normal advertising. Although it requires maintenance and constant innovation, it is also a lot more cost-effective than conventional marketing methods and you can target your customers on the platforms they frequent.
Seeing that dynamic and visual tools are becoming increasingly popular and important, a YouTube channel and videos are of paramount importance.
Email and webchat services should not be neglected. “If you give customers the option to email you with questions or concerns, make sure your response time is fast – same-day or 24-hour turnaround time is ideal. Use an automated email response system to immediately let customers know their query was received and will be addressed soon. This lets the consumer know someone received his question and will get back to him quickly,” says McQuerrey.
She says giving customers instant access to online chat features with knowledgeable staff members is vital. “This aids communication for time-crunched customers who need answers right away, and it allows employees to direct customers to FAQs and other online resources they might find helpful. With chats, customers can ask follow-up questions, which helps if they have a problem not found in your FAQs list.”
Notwithstanding the wizardry of modern technology, many customers are not yet comfortable with it and prefer more conventional methods. Therefore, be prepared for the people who would still want to use the phone to buy things and seek after-sales support.
All told, new tools dictate new methods but to communication specialists and their organisations, it is all still contingent upon effective service and interaction. Be bold and innovative!
Ajeet Khurana, 16 August 2019, “Doing E-Commerce Communication Right”, https://www.thebalancesmb.com/how-to-do-ecommerce-communication-right-1141640.
Catalin Zorzini, 5 November 2015, “Why Communication is Essential in Ecommerce”, https://ecommerce-platforms.com/articles/why-communication-is-essential-in-ecommerce.
Cleverecommerce.com, 2020, “Coronavirus & Marketing: how will it affect the ecommerce industry?”, https://www.cleverecommerce.com/ecommerce-blog/coronavirus-marketing/.
Lisa McQuerry, 2020, “Aids to Effective Communication in an E-commerce”, https://smallbusiness.chron.com/aids-effective-communication-ecommerce-72032.html.
QContact.com, 2020, “Effective Communication for E-Commerce Businesses”, https://www.qcontact.com/blog/2019/09/25/effective-communication-for-ecommerce/.
WebFX, 2020, “Social Media for Ecommerce: A Quick Guide”, https://www.webfx.com/industries/retail-ecommerce/ecommerce/social-media/.