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The tactics that are boosting ecommerce businesses

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Due to the pandemic and lockdowns, many more people are trying out online shopping or increasing their online purchases. Businesses that fail to develop an ecommerce strategy are taking the risk of becoming left behind in the dust by the competition.

Just take a look at the numbers. Retail ecommerce sales worldwide rose by 26% last year to $4.2 trillion, according to eMarketer. In 2021, sales are expected to hit nearly $5 trillion and reach $7.4 trillion by 2025.

As more consumers go online to shop, agile entrepreneurs follow suit and move to digital platforms to take orders.

However, with the robust growth of online shopping comes more competition, and it is businesses that can master effective digital sales tactics that will thrive for years to come.

This article looks at the various ways businesses can drive their online retail sales aside from advertising and offering lower prices through promos, markdowns and other pricing measures.

Chatbots are your reliable shop assistants

The use of chat functionality, whether through messaging apps or integrated with digital sites, is helping businesses connect better with the customer. And with the rise of artificial intelligence to power chatbots, companies don’t need humans to respond instantly to customer inquiries or answer most questions.

Aside from providing customer support, chatbots help businesses improve sales by generating leads, building engagement and recommending related products. For example, a chatbot can provide important information about a product, show the latest offers to a customer and help book an appointment or arrange product shipment. 

Business leaders have seen chatbots increase sales by as much as 67%. In the case of Lego, when it rolled out “Ralph” for the holiday season, the chatbot accounted for 25% of all in-season sales. Also, it had a conversion rate 8.4 times that of conversion-based ad formats at 65% lower the cost per purchase.

The capability of chatbots to support businesses will only improve as the technology to make them more conversational and accurate develops. In this area, startups like Singapore-based Wiz.AI are getting chatbots to understand and speak local Asian languages. Microsoft spin-off Xiaoice, one of the world’s most popular social media chatbots, has become essential.

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Shopping is now a way to be entertained

How powerful is live streaming in boosting e-commerce sales? Based on our research, it is incredibly powerful. 

Viya, an internet celebrity in China who sells via live streaming on Alibaba’s online shopping platform Taobao, sold $2.8 billion worth of goods back in 2019. In just one minute, she also sold out all 15,000 bottles of Kim Kardashian’s debut fragrance, eliciting an “OMG” from the reality TV star.

What exactly do live streamers do? Entertainingly or pleasantly, they demonstrate products, answer questions in real-time, offer exclusive coupons and conduct lucky draws throughout a session. 

Through the combination of live streaming, audience participation through a chat function or reaction button, and instant purchasing features, live commerce has become a significant sales channel in China, where it took root early on. Now, live commerce is a massive business in the country. Last year, Taobao alone generated $62 billion in gross merchandise value for Alibaba.

Success breeds competition, so live commerce is being adopted in many parts of the world. Recognising the extraordinary ability of live video to boost a business’s sales, platforms from Facebook to Amazon have enabled live shopping. More recently, TikTok has begun a pilot of TikTok Shopping among some Shopify merchants in Canada, the UK and the US.

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Gamification gets people to keep coming back

When a straightforward type of transaction becomes part of a way to get recognition, earn a reward or celebrate an achievement, it becomes far more attractive to people. 

This process of adding game mechanics into a non-game context is called gamification, and many e-commerce platforms have adopted the approach.

Examples of gamification include leaderboards where users are ranked based on their game performance, countdowns where players are spurred to complete a task in a specific time frame, and progress where customers are shown how they are moving forward in a particular activity.

In ecommerce in Asia, consider how some popular platforms challenge you to go up tiers – say bronze, silver, gold, platinum – based on the number of items you buy or how they provide badges or rewards for specific actions.

When used in marketing, gamification can benefit businesses, including increased user engagement and growth in brand awareness and loyalty. One study shows that gamification has a positive influence on the usage of an e-commerce platform. Ecommerce platforms can get customers to keep coming back.

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