By Alan Wolf, YSN
In the first of a series of bi-weekly webinars, AVB Merchandising Vice President Chad Evans and his team reported “huge increases” in online traffic, including searches and transactions.
Evans said the spikes occurred over the past seven to 10 days and were led by searches for and sales of freezers, refrigerators and even cooking products, as more meals are being prepared at home.
Related: How to Keep Your Store Shoppable
BrandSource’s Director of Merchandising Grant Hancock noted that consumer patterns are shifting to online shopping amid the pandemic, and that he fully expects the changes to continue after state-mandated restrictions are lifted. Accordingly, he said the group is adapting to the new consumer behaviors and improving its online merchandising by sorting products based on brand market share, best sellers, competitor benchmarking and consumer reviews, rather than simply alphabetically.
Hancock said this “strategic sort weight” places the most popular, in-demand products up front, which is critical as 75 percent of consumers never go past the first page of product listings.
To further improve online conversion rates, AVB Marketing can outfit member websites with payment gateways including credit cards, PayPal and Amazon Pay. As Eric Hunter, Director of eCommerce & Catalog noted, accepting payment online alleviates friction, allows customers to place orders at all hours of the day and helps make the shopping experience seamless.
Hunter also encouraged members to incorporate live chat into their websites, which improves shopper satisfaction and presents “a huge opportunity to engage with your customers remotely.”
“Many members are seeing significant increases in chat engagement,” he said, and are shifting store personnel to live chat duty to accommodate demand.
Hunter added that AVB Marketing is currently developing a live video chat capability that will allow real-time sales consultations with shoppers, and an online scheduling technology that will allow customers to choose the day and time of their deliveries and service calls.
Concluded Evans, “We’re working diligently to get you online and provide online solutions to help you grow your business.”
The merchandising and e-commerce webinars are held each Tuesday and Thursday at 12:30 p.m. Central. BrandSource members should check their email for invitations and links to the webcasts and replays.
BrandSource is a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc.