Now that online shopping has returned to normal in South Africa, many e-tailers are starting to re-look their ecommerce marketing strategies. As of 1 June 2020, South Africa has entered level 3 lockdown. Aside from ecommerce continuing as normal, with no restrictions on products, the sale of alcohol is permitted online and offline. The majority of the workforce goes back to the office and many schools are set to return, for grade 7 and grade 12 learners at any rate.

This is great news for the economy and even better news for those who have been longing for lockdown restrictions to ease even a little bit. In the next month or few, we are very likely to ease our way out of lockdown, especially where shopping is concerned. For customers, it means that there is less pressure doing online shopping, far more choice in products once again, and some semblance of normal. For e-tailers, on the other hand, it means the need for a new ecommerce marketing strategy that takes into account the effects left by the lockdown.

Ecommerce Marketing Strategies After Lockdown

One big challenge that will affect online shopping after lockdown is the financial impact. Many customers have been impacted by the lockdown. Many have taken advantage of specific deals offered during the lockdown, which may not be offered afterwards. Then there is the fact that customers have far more choice than ever, as new shops opened during the pandemic, new product ranges launched and various other changes were made to take advantage of online shopping. Traditional retail is also returning to normal already, adding even more options for customers.

To to keep customers coming back to your store, you need to have an ecommerce marketing strategy in place that takes into account the unique changes and challenges faced by customers during and after the lockdown. Some things to keep in mind include the following:

1. Give customers a reason to come back

Why should that customer who ordered fresh fruit and vegetables from you a few times during lockdown return to your store keep coming back to order rather than buying fresh produce at their local grocery on the way home from work? Why should the customer who ordered essential items from your store come back to buy non-essential items as well? If you are not providing a seamless customer experience that makes every single part of the process a pleasure, you are not giving customers much reason to return. This is where customer service and personalised campaigns become important. When customers know that every shop they do on your store is easy, fast and problem-free they will come back.

2. Go over and beyond

You will also need to go over and beyond simply delivering what it says on the proverbial box. Customers expect to have a good experience when doing online shopping. This should be a given. How can you surprise customers in a good way that goes over their expectation? This could be something like gifts for a certain number of products purchased or a certain amount spent, hand-written delivery notes, free samples to test new products, delivery options that do not change after lockdown ends, and any other action that makes customers love your store.

3. Think like a customer

When was the last time you shopped online? Was the experience easy or frustrating? One of the biggest frustrations for many shoppers during lockdown has been a lack of clarity about product availability and delivery times. Larger stores selling in-demand products have been especially poor in this regard. When there is no communication on stock limitations or updates on delivery changes, customers expect to be able to make purchases without delays. Sending out constant promotional emails instead of updates on stock will not win you repeat customers. Instead, think like a customer and see how you can plan campaigns that put people over profits.

Ecommerce Marketing After Lockdown

It is too early to tell yet just how much of an impact the lockdown and its after-effects will have on online shopping. So far, it looks like the rise of ecommerce is set to continue as more businesses in general turn to a digital model. While we can’t predict the future, we can at least continue to fine-tune and adapt our ecommerce marketing strategies to meet the needs of customers long after lockdown and COVID-19 come to an end.

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