With the ongoing restrictions caused by COVID-19, many retailers have had to close their stores or operate in a limited capacity, meaning that online shopping is the new normal. Here are a few things that I believe are defining the online shopping experience.
Security is a concern for many who shop online, which is why customers should look out for an SSL certificate on any website they want to make a purchase from – this will usually be in the form of a padlock icon at the end of the address bar. The SSL certificate ensures the connection between customer and shop is encrypted and all payment details are safe.
A variety of payment options allows flexibility for customers and some payment options, such as PayPal, can also offer the customer some peace of mind as it allows them to pay without entering any card details on the website.
Whilst shopping online is very convenient, many of us find it difficult to be sure about a purchase until we see it first-hand. If the stores were open, then customers would have had a chance to do just that, so businesses should be aiming to get their products to customers as quickly as possible.
Retailers should be offering as many delivery options as possible for their customers and free standard delivery where possible.
All retailers should have a clear returns policy made available to customers before they purchase anything. It is unlikely that customers shopping in the new normal will have had the chance to see a product in person, so it is possible you would have to return wrongly ordered sizes or colours. All e-commerce retailers should be able to process these returns easily unless packaging or tags have been removed.
Customers will have more confidence in an online brand and enjoy products with assurance where there is a fair returns policy in place. Large retailers may even offer free returns to customers.
What Milina London is doing to aid the online shopping experience
Here are a few of the things we have put in place to make shopping in the new normal a better experience for our customers:
Virtual chat function for making personal suggestions
At Milina London, we are known for our personal touch, so we have included a virtual chat function on our website which works as a substitute for personal suggestions I would usually make face-to-face. This way, our customers get the same level of help and support when choosing their jewellery, that they would experience when visiting us in person.
Bespoke commissions continue to be available on request
Creating bespoke commissions is an important part of what we do, which is why we wanted to make sure that our customers could still make requests for these special, custom pieces via email, phone or video call conversations.
A clear and simple online storefront
We want our website to reflect our brand, and so we put as much care into showcasing our products online as we do in any of our retail pop-ups or market stalls. We have curated and clearly set out collections to help our customers browse and shop with ease. You can also shop by jewellery type, gift range or by gemstone and we have a ‘new arrivals’ section so you can see all the latest styles!
Making it easy to send a gift
Because of all the restrictions that have been placed on us recently, we have all missed out on seeing our loved ones for special occasions and being able to give presents in-person. At Milina London, we offer a complimentary gift wrapping service and can also send your personal messages for you. If you are not sure what piece of jewellery someone may prefer, you also have the option of purchasing a gift card for them.
An Instagram shop
One of the main ways that customers are engaging with brands and shopping in the new normal is through social media. This is why we’ve also set up an Instagram shop and included shoppable links in our posts to make the shopping experience as easy as possible for our customers, without necessarily having to navigate away from their social media to do so.
Whilst I would love to see our customers in person again as soon as possible, I believe that the experience of shopping in the new normal doesn’t have to be a poor imitation. With consideration and a personal touch, retailers can make their ecommerce experience effortless and enjoyable for their customers.