COVID-19, stay-at-home guidelines and in-store shortages triggered and forced a dramatic change in consumer habits and choices. A massive acceleration in online behavior is one of the most visible changes. Whether the choices that consumers make during the COVID-19 crisis become a new habit or not, understanding online consumer behavior will be increasingly important in the future.

We recently hosted a webinar where we explored what the new normal may look like and what eCommerce actions you should consider. Watch the on-demand webinar here or read on for three proven eCommerce strategies that can drive online engagement and conversion.

If shoppers who normally choose your brand are forced to try other brands, how do you win them back?

Whether or not consumers revert to old habits and choices will depend on whether the new experience is a good one or not. With increased comfort levels for online shopping, forced trials of new brands, and wider consideration sets available online: How do you ensure your online strategies are optimized for this new reality?

Understanding online shopper behavior
Read about marketing strategies post COVID-19. What you should know about decision behavior.

3 success strategies to win online

At SKIM, we have more than 40 years of expertise analyzing consumer behavior. Over the past five years we’ve focused on helping leading companies optimize their online strategies. Here are the three critical areas we recommend focusing on for online success.

1. Optimize omnichannel strategies for search and purchase

How will consumer familiarity and reliance with online search and purchase affect long-term behavior and in-store buying habits? Which channels, triggers and touchpoints will be more or less influential?  The COVID-19 disruptive change in behavior requires a reassessment of omnichannel search and purchase strategies.

Forced brand substitutions resulting from the COVID-19 crisis is likely to prompt more deliberate information-seeking. For example, we see consumers turning to social media for connection, but also to seek referrals for new products and services. We expect to see mobile voice search via digital assistants to be used more for in-store research, such as price comparisons and searching for broader product choices.

Omnichannel shopper behavior

Consumers will demand a more sophisticated, seamless and integrated omnichannel experience in order to satisfy their needs.

SKIMspiration Tip: Consider how you adapt your consumer journeys and product promos for an omnichannel world. Can you use geofencing and/or push notifications to shoppers as they enter brick and mortar stores?

2. Optimize digital content for conversion

Understand shopper behavior on AmazonThe acceleration in online shopping and research means that being found online is now more essential than ever. What type of content and visuals are best at grabbing consumer’s attention? When you know which stimuli maximize CTRs and add-to-basket rates, you can develop content which attracts, engages and converts consumers online. To effectively optimize content on online retailer sites, consider the following:

  • On category or search pages: Does your content have enough stopping power? Are consumers able to find your products?
  • On the product detail page: Is your content engaging? Does it clearly communicate the product offer? Would it convince consumers to buy the product?

SKIMspiration Tip: Develop guidelines for your digital content, i.e. your headings, images, videos, text, etc. These guidelines will help make digital content creation more efficient, effective and help your retailers as well. And don’t forget to check if your content is optimized for mobile. 

3. Optimize your online assortment and pricing strategy

As online competition intensifies, your assortment, pricing and promotions will be key battlegrounds. Understanding how pricing impacts consumers choices online will help you a) retain new shoppers who may have been forced to trial your product or service and/or b) help you win back once loyal customers who went forced to go elsewhere. Speed and agility are key here if you want to win online.

Download our guide “How to Successfully Optimize Online Subscription Pricing and Offers” for best practices

To optimize your online strategy, we recommend you:

  1. Optimize your assortment by channel.Consider which bundles, packs or configurations will drive sales on Amazon vs. vs. brick-and-mortar. Determine how shopper behavior varies between click & collect services vs. subscription services.
  2. Know which promo formats are most effective. Coupons may drive conversion on one site, while multipack offers may have more impact on others.
  3. Identify the impact of pricing and pricing format on consumer choices. Unlike in-store, in an online setting, price format plays a surprisingly important role. You should uncover what holds true for your products.

SKIMspiration Tip: Ask yourself if you have the right tools available for an agile pricing and assortment strategy. Which data sources do you have? Do you have simulators that help you play with ‘what-if scenarios’?

What eCommerce research solutions will help you to excel in the above-mentioned areas?

eCommerce research solutions: a mobile-first, digital research toolbox

In order to win online, you need to uncover what truly drives online decision making.

SKIM DigiShop-brochureYou need to understand how consumers search, filter and shop online. Unfortunately, popular online retailer and comparison sites don’t readily share behavioral data on consumer activity. SKIM’s DigiShop can help you overcome this blind spot and can give you the valuable insights you need.

DigiShop uncovers and predicts online shopper behavior via realistic, replicated online environments. With DigiShop you can test your online product communications, assortment, pricing, ads, and promotions in a safe and secure environment – and get specific, actionable insights and guidelines as a result.

Want to dig deeper into eCommerce best practices?

Check out our eCommerce webinar series where we share proven tips for optimizing engagement and driving conversion via communications and pricing strategies. Feel free to reach out We’ve got decades of experience in helping brands navigate changes in consumer behavior – online and offline.

Download eCommerce success strategies amidst disruption covidWatch eCommerce online ads and product content that drive conversionDownload eCommerce webinar for online pricing and assortment tips