As many industries such as tourism and luxury grapple with the effects of COVID-19 - demands in the leisure and recreation industry have consistently increased over the course of the global and national lockdowns and restrictions. While there is still no set date for gyms reopening in the UK, this eCommerce success is set to continue, but only if retailers understand the key areas they should be focusing on, according to digital eCommerce solutions specialist, Kooomo.
Ciaran Bollard, CEO of Kooomo says: “As individuals have strived to maintain an active lifestyle from home, recreation retailers that provide home gym equipment and sportswear have thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic, with activewear seeing a 97% increase in sales in the UK and Google searches for ‘home gym’ higher than they typically are in January. But it’s not as simple as those that supply these products will reap the benefits – eCommerce managers must ensure their websites are performing competitively to ensure not only a gold medal now, but continued success after further restrictions are lifted and gyms are once again open.”
With this in mind, Ciaran provides the following five tips for maintaining a competitive edge while in high demand:
1.Choose an omnichannel platform
Omnichannel brings all your sales channels together, providing a seamless shopping experience. Research has found that omnichannel shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than single-channel shoppers, demonstrating its value in customer retention. Furthermore, with distancing measures still in place for some time, people want options as well as convenience – offering them a variety of channels that they can jump between providing both of these elements. This will also work to encourage in-store browsing, if you so wish, as more people return to their previous ways of shopping.
2.Plan for scalability
Website scalability is defined by its ability to cope with the increase in workload when adding resources - ie. increased traffic, orders, inventory, content etc. Retailers often overlook that the infrastructure needs to be able to withstand increased pressure. More visitors can reduce the performance and speed of a website. With a 134% increase in online revenue for home and leisure items in March 2020 compared to March 2019, it’s essential that retailers support increased demands. Preventing slow loading times will, in turn, improve the overall customer experience (CX) and therefore the amount customers spend with you or return to you.
3.Adapt your customer experience
The CX is everything you encounter from initial click through to your website through to delivery. Unification and flow are crucial for a positive user experience - but there is also personalisation, customer assistance and transparent information to consider. It’s important that you don’t rest on your laurels here and not only provide a good CX for what your customers typically expect but also a good CX amidst a pandemic. Customer preferences consistently change and this should be considered as people adapt to new and different ways of doing things.
4.Synchronise your stock
Synchronising inventory across online and bricks and mortar minimises the gap of supply and demand and aids in ensuring a steady and clear flow of orders. If you’re unable to open a warehouse, you can think about using your bricks and mortar stores as hubs. This enables you to dramatically reduce the risk of ever running out of stock. Therefore, you can order inventory in a more accurate fashion (reducing wasted costs) and better communicate to your customers if items are low or out of stock.
5.Adjust your marketing message
More people are seeking out your services, which is great, but is your site prepared to leave the best impression upon them? In times of crisis, communication with consumers should be supportive, focused and relatable. Long after the pandemic, consumers will remember the business who inflicted an emotive and positive response. This can range from the content posted on your social media to transparent communications on your website, or even charitable contributions.
Ciaran concludes: “The market for at-home recreation is huge right now, offering retailers the opportunity to thrive past their peak season and secure their longevity. However, it's important to handle this influx of traffic with care ensuring that your eCommerce platform can perform to the highest quality under increased pressure. Only in doing so will you ensure you thrive now and into the future too.”
Kooomo is a next-generation eCommerce platform that is truly redefining digital commerce by offering the best in class, international platform. Kooomo is disrupting the marketplace with its affordable setup and flexible pricing, agility and speed to market. Recognised by Gartner in the Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce, Kooomo is a cloud commerce platform built for global eCommerce businesses. It connects your products with your customers online, in-store and through marketplaces. The full stack of technology needed to deliver a 360-degree digital commerce solution which is integrated with an eco-system of over 200 partners to future proof your business.
With 17 years of international eCommerce experience powering over 1 billion transactions, Kooomo has been built to integrate with the systems you already use, allowing complex projects to be delivered in six weeks using our Magento switching toolkit.
Kooomo is trusted by international brands through to SMEs such as Morrisons, Umbro, Mothercare, Havaianas, La Sportiva, Blauer, amongst many others. Any company can be up and trading globally - supporting all currencies and VAT rates, across all sales channels within six weeks. For further information, visit: www.kooomo.com.