The growing importance of e-commerce

Times are changing. It is now more important than ever for businesses to take advantage of every sales channel available to them, and especially crucial that they do not remain stagnant in a world that is constantly changing.

Consumers continue to buy products, but the way they are making these purchases is evolving. Electronic commerce has existed for several years and is no longer a secret, but its popularity is continuing to increase at a steady, unwavering pace.

Recent major store closures prove it. These stores were not able to recognize the transformed trends and the changing needs of their customers. They instead focused their energy on known sales channels which they expertly grasped, all the while ignoring the new sales and distribution channels now at the disposal of consumers.

More specifically, they ignored the new reality that the buyer is no longer obliged to go to the physical store to find the product that will meet their needs. Now they can buy whatever they desire online, from the comfort of their living room and without ever leaving home.

Conversely, companies like David’s Tea were able to establish an overall retail strategy that integrated all points of sale and information mediums used by their clients, be it shopping, social media or the web.

E-commerce, in the broader sense, goes beyond merely selling products on a website. It’s an overall strategy based on the idea that today’s customers are going elsewhere than in the store to buy your products. They go online, but they also use their smartphone to visit mobile sites which must be optimized. They also visit your Facebook page or Twitter account, and they open the emails or text messages you send if these are relevant.

A proactive company will recognize all of these channels as being crucial to ensuring continued success without neglecting the quality of its traditional stores. Ultimately, it is appropriate to question ourselves, and more specifically to ensure that we adopt a strategy that optimizes user experience across every tool used to reach potential customers.

All this also applies to the automotive industry. Dealers often tend to focus their efforts on the experience offered to consumers in their physical stores. Although important, they shouldn’t be the only focus point.

Firstly, the dealer’s showroom needs to continue online where potential customers can learn about your new and used vehicles. It is now a confirmed fact, consumers first head online to learn about the models that interest them. It is therefore very important that dealerships offer comprehensive information about their new vehicles as well as a detailed inventory of their models for sale. They must also explain their after-sales services in detail.

The website should receive as much attention from management as the showroom. When a request comes in through a contact form, it must be acknowledged as quickly as possible, just like you would if a customer came to the dealership. It is important to offer the possibility of making an appointment online in each department, and confirm with the customer when appointments are booked.

Advertising campaigns need to take full advantage of every method of communication available to the business. There needs to be as much emphasis on TV and radio as is placed on online advertising, and management needs to monitor the impact of each advertising channel, restructuring the advertising budget as needed to achieve the highest possible ROI.

Then, it is necessary to establish consistency across all media channels. This means that our advertising in print, radio, TV, and web must display the same message and the same information.

Yes, times are changing. There are more ways than ever now to reach our target customers and increase our sales. All that is needed is to ensure we optimize our presence in every channel available to us.