By Roel Linssen - Imagine that you started a webshop for passionate amateur bakers in 2015. Shows like the Great British Bake Off kicked off a widespread baking frenzy, which was good news for your webshop. After that promising start, 2020 happened. Confined to their homes, more people started figuring out how to cure their boredom by baking bread.
E-commerce was booming while your enterprise was at the height of its power. To deal with the gargantuan demand, you increase essentially everything: stock, personnel, distribution. Now that we’ve returned to the ‘old normal’, people can go out again, and their ovens are running out of cakes to bake. Your sales drop and the stock continues collecting dust at warehouses. The costs of all the upgrades from the lockdown days remain, and growing competition drives up marketing costs. What are you going to do?
The secret ingredient is preparation. I’ll walk you through it. Brick-and-mortar stores, where people would usually get their rolling pins, had to close during the lockdowns. This accelerated the rise of e-commerce, where people had to make new purchasing decisions.Roel Linssen / Director & Founder Tomahawk
The customer journey has always appeared to be a linear procedure where customers make step-by-step choices for purchase. The past years made clear that this is not the case: the process is not a predictable funnel. Google describes it as a ‘messy middle’. Calling it the messy middle implies that the steps the shopper takes from exposure to a product to the actual purchase are beyond our influence and unpredictable.
The recent decline in brand loyalty is one of the elements that made the middle so chaotic. Consumers don’t have a clear journey in mind when they’re looking for products. They might have an idea of a product type or a brand in mind, such as a round baking mould.
But they’re still on their way to the actual purchase and everything can happen en voyage. Another webshop might offer free shipping or have better reviews. These nudges can motivate consumers to switch to another brand. You might lose some customers because of that loyalty, but there is also potential to attract new shoppers.
Research has proven consumers nowadays are more willing to choose a lesser-known brand if buying biases are similar (or better) than a well-known brand. So this is what you can do to face the aforementioned challenges: you can have biases mise en place that influence the purchaser, such as free cake decoration samples and recommendations from regular shoppers. These biases tidy up the messy middle for the consumer. Compare it to baking – it is so much easier to do when all the supplies are already put in place.
But the real opportunity is beyond local markets. With the reduction in brand loyalty, it’s easier to convince new consumers in new markets to pick your brand without having to invest in brand awareness. Going international might sound ambitious for your e-commerce enterprise, but specialised marketing agencies can help you out with this.
Crossing borders with your webshop gives you a chance to boost your sales and decrease your dependence on the local market. Baking virtuosos in new markets are more than happy to relieve you of that extra stock you have left from the lockdowns. By simply being present with the right biases, you can nudge consumers from exposure to purchase. It’s almost a piece of cake.
All the best,
Director & Founder Tomahawk
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