Online stampede is a mixed shopping bag for brands

shoppingThe Covid-19-fuelled rush to online shopping is proving a curate’s egg for marketers, whose joy at seeing a stampede of new customers is tempered by the fact they currently have limited resources to keep them coming back for more.

So says the Covid-19 Commerce Insight report, a new analysis carried out jointly by Emarsys and GoodData, which is designed to show the impact of the coronavirus on consumer confidence.

It reveals that 43% of online sales in March were made by first-time buyers, with those already versed in the joys of the Internet – active repeat customers – accounting for nearly a quarter (23%) of sales. Meanwhile, one in six (14%) were defecting customers, followed by inactive customers (8%) and second-time buyers (5%), who were by far the smallest proportion.

Emarsys has been quick to point out that the numbers do not add up to 100% because mapping certain purchases to customers is impossible, for example those checking out as a “guest”.

Even so, the firm insists the figures present an opportunity for marketers to target a larger addressable market than they had perhaps initially planned pre-Covid-19. However, the figures also present a challenge to marketers with limited resources in how to target and communicate with such a large influx of new customers.

Emarsys senior vice president of verticals Alex Timlin explained: “Our own customers — especially supermarkets — have told us over the past month that they’re dealing with not just more customers but more types of customers than they know how to deal with.

“It’s now more important than ever to be able to quickly distinguish new customers from loyal ones, so you can target them with campaigns in the right way and do so quickly. Artificial intelligence is a huge asset to marketers here because it can analyse your entire customer base quickly to determine who’s new and who’s loyal. Then you can set up separate automated digital campaigns for each type of customer.”

Covid-19 Commerce insight draws on more than a billion engagements and 400 million transactions in 120 countries, providing a global and regional picture of ecommerce activity and trends — a key indicator of overall economic conditions in these unprecedented times.

Key insights from Covid-19 Commerce Insight include how the pandemic is affecting the number of online consumer transactions, order numbers, the average order value, types of items purchased and more — in any industry and region in the world — in context of the extraordinary measures taken by governments globally.

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