A recent eShopWorld webinar explored how the pandemic has shifted consumer behavior dramatically.

Martin Newman of The Customer First Group revealed the results of a consumer study showing that 72% of shoppers he surveyed said they would boycott a brand they believed took advantage of the crisis.

The survey reflected consumer attitudes brands must be aware of to win in this moment. For example, Amazon, which is known for its fanatical focus on the customer, has been rewarded with a market cap greater than the next 20 top retailers, including Walmart. Meanwhile, brands that have furloughed workers while delivering record profits, or have made moves like asking workers to donate sick days to each other as a way to get through the virus, will likely not fare well as consumers think about which brands they choose to support moving forward. If current trends hold, post-pandemic 25-30% of total retail will be online – a significant increase from 20%, and all the more reason for ecommerce brands to focus their efforts on creating the best customer experience for shoppers, as a 5% increase in customer retention leads to a 25-95% increase in profit.

As brands look to cross borders, they must keep customer experience front and center. Especially now, as markets around the world are in flux, with different markets responding differently to the pandemic and even different behaviours and personas responding in unique ways, brands need to be able to do experience testing and understand what has the biggest effect not just on conversion, but the sentiment of the shopper. There is no substitute for understanding what works in tailoring a brand to a new market, and delivering the experience the shopper wants on the site – from language to checkout.

Brands that are innovative in their response to the limitations of the pandemic and keep the customer in mind will find that they will be at the forefront of shoppers minds’ both during and after the crisis. One excellent example is of a small independent Chinese fashion retailer who, when her store was closed due to lock down, live-streamed webcasts promoting products every day, taking sales online and creating an experiential retail experience.

This sort of innovation from a small retailer is one way to turn customers into fans and increase sales during a difficult time, and one that other brands can emulate or build on. Ecommerce success today requires brands to be responsive and adaptable in their online offerings and respond to their customers’ changing needs in order to provide comfort to shoppers in a new normal. This can be achieved by adopting a customer-centric outlook and also ensuring they have a global partner who will help them understand the complex and unique requirements of operating in cross border markets in this unique moment.

To see the whole webinar on demand, click here.

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