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Ecommerce Revelations From 2021 .CO Study Give Guidelines To Sell More

E-Commerce Revelations From 2021 .CO Study Give Guidelines To Sell More
E-Commerce Revelations From 2021 .CO Study Give Guidelines To Sell More | Image taken from

The study 'Perceptions and use of the Internet', carried out by .CO Internet, confirms the growth trend of electronic commerce marked in the pandemic, and gives clues on how to have more commercial success. Here we share the most relevant. In the context of the pandemic, electronic commerce became an ally of millions of Colombians to maintain a certain 'normality' in their homes. Articles and products for daily use, such as the market or lunch, as well as other consumer products such as computers, televisions or clothing, grew exponentially in sales during the months of confinement. Online stores and 'marketplaces' or virtual shopping centers became a great virtual showcase for all types of users – those who already bought digitally and those who did not know or were still reluctant to buy on the Internet. While e-commerce increased dramatically, much of this momentum was not due to its own natural evolution, but rather to the fact that physical stores were closed. Would sales and businesses fall when it was time to open and reactivate?

The study 'Perceptions and use of the Internet', 2021 version, carried out by .CO Internet and commissioned by the Centro Nacional de Consultoría reveals that electronic commerce definitely came to many homes and companies to stay.

The study, in which 1,040 people from Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, the Caribbean region, Santanderes and the Coffee Region were surveyed, indicates that 9 out of 10 people surveyed made purchases through websites or social networks in the last year . In the big cities there was a stable behavior that was around 90%, while in the regions where the percentages were lower –Caribe and Santanderes– they matched the level of purchases of the others. An important finding, which reflects how the pandemic democratized electronic commerce – badly, but it succeeded – was the volume of purchases by strata and by age: strata 1 and 2, and people between 46 and 60 years of age, were those who had least adopted online shopping according to the study in its 2019 and 2020 versions, but in this one they almost managed to equate people from the middle and upper strata and the youngest. The balance after the pandemic is positive and broadly shows a Colombian consumer with more confidence in digital buying and selling processes. On the other side of electronic commerce, that of sellers, the change was more subtle: while from 2019 to 2020 there was a jump among those who sold something on the Internet in the last year – it went from 33 to 44 people out of 100–, in the 2021 study the increase was only 2 points, up to 46. In general terms, this upward trend serves as evidence to show that electronic commerce was not simply a response to sanitary measures, but also a paradigm shift in the ways Colombians consume. “During the last year, the country has shown significant progress in the e-commerce ecosystem. In 2021, online sales were registered for a value of 39.9 billion pesos, for an increase of 40.2% compared to 2020, in which a total of 28.4 billion pesos were sold through this channel. In addition, the last 2 years have been marked by very different behaviors in the categories of goods and services, as a result of the pandemic and the different preventive isolation measures”, explains María Fernanda Quiñones, executive president of the Colombian Chamber of Electronic Commerce.

E-Commerce Revelations From 2021 .CO Study Give Guidelines To Sell More
E-Commerce Revelations From 2021 .CO Study Give Guidelines To Sell More | Image taken from

Trust and security are increasing, but remain a challenge

Despite the fact that the explosion of digital consumption in 2020 was also reflected in the great growth of digital threats, including fraudulent merchant scams, the study shows that in 2020 there was a great leap in the perception of security during the online purchase process : In 2019, only 62 out of 100 shoppers felt more secure than the previous year, while in 2020 76 felt more secure. In 2021, 75 out of 100 said they felt increasingly secure. But this greater security and confidence did not come by chance, rather they are the result of a joint effort between merchants, the developers of their websites, commerce platforms, means of payment - from Nequi and Daviplata, credit cards and the almost ubiquitous PSE button – and other players in the digital ecosystem. The study highlights that business websites continue to be the channel that generates the most trust for online purchases, despite the fact that apps and social networks are gradually growing in this regard.

E-Commerce Revelations From 2021 .CO Study Give Guidelines To Sell More
E-Commerce Revelations From 2021 .CO Study Give Guidelines To Sell More | Image taken from

In the graph of purchase channels that generate security and trust, websites continue to be far from 'apps' and social networks, although these are gradually becoming more trustworthy for buyers. Among the most relevant factors for the average consumer to feel calm are the guarantee, the support and the fact that it is from a recognized brand or with good references. Likewise, it should also be noted that the presence of brands on social networks has become a great sales engine. How to build trust? 10 guidelines (Box) With the clues provided by the study and the good practices of the industry, any merchant, even the novice, can take the right steps in this challenge of being reliable and inspiring security among its users. These are some of them:

  • Build a professional website, as the center of your digital business. Do not fall into the temptation of not having a website or of having it neglected.

  • This includes the use of recognized and proven platforms and tools, such as WordPress for the website, and WooCommerce, Prestashop, Magento or VTEX for the e-commerce platform, appropriate hosting and different payment methods, for example.

  • Use a clear, reliable and recognizable web address. This starts with the name of your business, if possible without changes, and of course with a nationally recognized domain such as .COM.CO or globally recognized domain such as .CO.

  • Security should be at the heart of your website –and of your entire online commerce strategy–, starting with the HTTPS protocol.

  • The site should also have a nice, easy-to-understand design (usability), work just as well on phones (responsive design), clear and complete product descriptions and photos, good writing and spelling, and clear and transparent prices. In short, everything that gives the customer a feeling that they are dealing with a 'really true' business.

  • Provide information about your business, even if it is not fully formalized or the business is just you. Make sure you have the following elements: the 'who we are' section, a telephone number, a physical address (if possible), the policies for handling personal data and commercial practices - guarantees and returns, claims, delivery times , etc. This will give customers a sense of transparency and closeness that will motivate them to click the 'Buy' button.

  • Configure your store to send the user automatic purchase confirmations by email (or mobile phone).

  • If your brand is new, rely on other brands that give you support and credibility. For example, affiliate your business with associations such as the Colombian Chamber of Electronic Commerce, which provide support and encourage you to adopt better practices.

  • Optimize your store so that Google and other search engines display it when users search for products or services like the ones you offer.

  • Allow shoppers to review and rate the shopping experience and products. This is a technical and message moderation challenge, but immediately increases the buying momentum.

  • Align your social media with your website design, messaging, and information. Noticeable differences between these and the site could confuse the potential buyer and make them flee your store.

Social networks: an effective ally... but only an ally “Don't build your house on someone else's land”: this is basic advice that would save entrepreneurs, businessmen, merchants and even content creators a lot of headaches. What does this mean? That although social networks have grown as a sales channel and are in the daily lives of users –and potential customers–, they should not be the center of an electronic commerce strategy, or of any type of solid digital presence. What would happen if the social network in which an entrepreneur has dedicated time, effort and money, and has put as the heart of his business, changes its policies, or decides to charge a user fee or simply closes? Well, the survival of the business is at high risk. This does not go against giving importance to social networks as essential channels for business, to which attention should be paid. The study 'Perceptions and use of the Internet' reveals that, although the presence in social networks is essential to strengthen a brand and generate trust in the store, by themselves they are far from being the ideal channels: only 10 out of 100 buyers they feel more secure in them than in the websites of the shops or in their 'apps'.

E-Commerce Revelations From 2021 .CO Study Give Guidelines To Sell More
E-Commerce Revelations From 2021 .CO Study Give Guidelines To Sell More | Image taken from

According to the study, the best indicators for social networks are the seriousness/responsibility of the seller and the ease of seeing comments from other buyers. This may be related to the fact that it is mostly personal business and, therefore, transactions between people, not between brands and buyers. The opinion of other users, then, becomes a very useful factor to resolve doubts and have more peace of mind when buying. Curiously, one aspect that has promoted social networks as a sales channel has been the possibility of cash on delivery payments. The possibility of ordering a product and paying in cash upon receipt is a characteristic that shows that, in countries like Colombia, cash is still one of the most dominant payment methods, although financial inclusion and the use of digital or electronic payments are growing and become a purpose of the country. Looking to the future, social networks will become even more relevant for online stores, to the point that the concept of omnichannel is no longer exclusive to the largest businesses.

What to do with social networks? 7 guidelines (Box)

  • Align your social networks to the website (the official online store) and other fronts such as the mobile app and advertising. This, in design, language, messages and everything else.

  • Adapt to each social network. This does not contradict the previous point: adapt the formats, styles and messages to each social network, without losing consistency with each other and with your website.

  • Make a presence in the networks where your potential buyers are. If your products are for young people, for example, LinkedIn is probably not the best place to be more active, but rather Instagram and TikTok; Similarly, if you sell professional services, LinkedIn may be the ideal network.

  • Content marketing: beyond the publication of products. Create posts that go beyond products and promotions. For example, success stories (of happy customers), guides on how to use or take advantage of your products or services, testimonial videos and studies.

  • This is content marketing, and it can be as important or more important than pure advertising.

  • Networks are social. Take advantage of being there to get feedback from your customers, answer questions, and interact with others. This allows you to better understand the market and, at the same time, generate more trust and empathy.

  • Use online advertising wisely. Do not invest more if you do not have a clear plan, an appropriate segmentation to define who to reach, and you have not done some experiments before to find out what works.

  • Measure. Take the metrics of your publications and other actions on the networks, and these will be your allies to make better decisions.

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By: Impactotic

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