COVID-19 has put a halt to our economy. However, many sectors are improvising to survive during the pandemic to keep business flowing, or at least partly flowing.

If you are reading this article you are probably aware of the current state our beloved retail industry that’s taking a massive blow; particularly negatively impacting on those that operate in the high street.

With the lockdown and a dramatic decline in foot traffic, bricks and mortar businesses have been forced to further adapt to a digital landscape to better serve consumer demand, to survive and ideally grow.

Consumer confinement during lockdown has led to a spike in digital orders. A study by Retail Economics found that two-thirds of shoppers said they had switched to purchasing products online that they have always previously purchased in-store. This further highlights the reason for retail businesses to move their efforts to an eCommerce initiative and to implement the right API technologies when doing so.

A perfect example is Aldi, a major player in the grocer sector, that’s started selling groceries online for the first time. It has launched an ‘essentials box’ that includes a list of items, including sanitiser, toilet paper and various food items. Aldi’s move follows other stores like Tesco’s, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons, which also sell boxes of essentials to better service and deliver to people who are elderly or more vulnerable during their self-isolation.

The right technologies

Now, more than ever, fulfilling a better eCommerce model is mission-critical. With consumers stuck at home, businesses need to start focusing on their customer data and implementing technology solutions to sharpen data, checkout and logistics.

One of the prime elements of any eCommerce platform is the checkout process, previously covered in our blog Address Autocomplete for eCommerce: Better Conversion Rates. In this post, we communicate the fact that having an effective address lookup tool within your checkout process enables customers access to a drop-down list of verified postal addresses, just by entering their postcode or the first few characters of their address.

Reduced keystrokes and a good flow of address entry allow retailers to offer a quick and easy checkout process and an overall improved UX, while storing accurate and verified data into their systems, to ensure efficient deliveries.

It has been found that by improving checkout usability, an average large-sized eCommerce website can covert 35.26% more.

Another powerful way to reduce checkout abandonment is to offer predictive shipping, as famously used by retail leader Amazon. Implementing a Geolocation API would give retailers the ability to calculate the precise distance from the shopper to a retailer’s warehouse or distribution point

through latitude and longitude coordinates. This greatly assists in providing the ability to offer more convenient delivery options to customers.

It all starts with data quality

As more retail giants follow the trend of Amazon in trying to offer the best delivery options to their customers, there’s increased pressure in making sure that the organisation’s overall logistics infrastructure integrates into their eCommerce process. Retailers need to consider the entire value chain, from payment, warehouse management, inventory management, addressing, shipping, logistics, route planning, and accounting to collection.

The efficiency of all these applications gelling together relies on the quality of data retailers work with. This involves the validation of customer information, including contact details and postal addresses at the onboarding stage, which forms the basis for profitable business development.

Valid address data is the prerequisite for online trading, enabling business processes to interact seamlessly, leading to fast processing of orders and timely deliveries and leads more effective CRM, ERP and online trading. This is important when many of us have experienced delays in deliveries due to the strain on retail warehouses and the shortage of logistics resources during the pandemic.

Retailers that are either looking to move to selling online, or more experienced retail businesses wanting to enhance their eCommerce model, should consider the power of data quality and address solutions. These tools aid areas such as marketing, accounting, customer support, and more importantly, help retailers adapt to the delivery demands caused by COVID-19.

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