​How E-Commerce is Transforming Consumer Retail


The retail sector was hit hard by Covid-19 and many retail businesses transformed their e-Commerce strategies at an accelerated pace to adapt to consumer needs. The past 18 months have all been about going digital and more people are online than ever before.

Investment in technology

Technology has played an incredibly significant role in changing people’s shopping habits and enhancing the consumer experience. More e-Commerce businesses are adopting:

  • Tracking Apps for Deliveries

A big player in this arena is ‘Shopify’ which many businesses use to help consumers know when their order has been packed, shipped and when it will likely be delivered.

  • Payment Apps

More retailers in Hong Kong are offering a wider choice of digital payments methods for customers. Online payment platforms such as AliPay, WeChat and PayMe, as well as other payment options such Pay Later Plans or Payment Instalments offer more flexibility to customers and caters to each person’s payment preference whether in-store or online.

  • Augmented Reality (AR)

AR apps are used in very future-forward businesses to help consumers visualise what they are purchasing and applying it to real-life settings. This is now more commonly available at homeware and furniture businesses as well as the cosmetics industry.

  • Enhanced Mobile Apps

With a vast majority of online consumers using mobile devices to browse the web, more retailers have rolled out enhanced mobile apps to improve the consumers’ shopping experience. These include data-driven analytics to customise shopping preferences, multiple payment options and chatbots.

  • Chatbots

Many e-commerce websites and apps now offer AI-powered chatbot services for an enhanced shopping experience. Customers can ask questions directly and converse with chatbots such as asking for product recommendations, enquire product stock and flagging issues about their orders.

All about convenience

Digital strategies are becoming more focused on convenience for consumers. E-Commerce eliminates the need to go to physical stores and it also has a wider network reach. While the majority of people are back to shopping in-stores, online shopping gives consumers more options, such as all-in-one shopping platforms like HKTVMall and Ztore, as well as international retailers for products that cannot be purchased locally, as well as offering free and easy returns.

Impact of influencers and unique collaborations

There is no denying that social media has been highly influential in brand marketing strategies and more businesses are collaborating with influencers/KOLs, as well as unique cross-brand collaborations, to capture a wider audience.

There is also a rise of people sharing ‘word of mouth’ via the internet. Word-of-mouth and referrals are an age-old advertising avenue that has always performed well and is amplified through the use of social media and online advertising. People love to hear feedback and reviews from real people. Brand ambassadors that truly believe in the products or services being sold will help in gaining interest and sales of new customers. Collaborating with companies that may be seen as a competitor or an unlikely brand pairing, will also grab attention.

Customised services

People are willing to pay more for products that feel specific and catered towards them and their lifestyles. This is especially true in industries such as health and beauty and apparel, filled with consumers who have a large range of unique needs and requirements.

Businesses that can offer customised products or services tailored to individuals, tend to have a more loyal customer base and the likelihood of retention is higher.

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