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Online Retailers Experience Influx of New Customers

29 April 2020 - 09:17 by Graham Miller

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March was a game-changing month for retail in the UK, with the introduction of the national lockdown in the final week leading to many more people using safe shopping online to order essential goods.

This has had a knock-on effect for many retailers, with data collected by Emarsys and reported on by Internet Retailing revealing that close to half of all sales seen by major e-commerce sites during this period were made up of purchases from new customers.

While in a normal month retailers can expect that returning customers will account for the lion’s share of sales, this fell to just 57 per cent in March and is predicted to be even higher once the figures for April are analysed.

Study spokesperson Alex Timlin said that it is not just that new customers are quickly taking over online sales but also that many of the e-commerce firms which are facing this influx of activity at the moment are not entirely equipped to cope with the greater volumes of orders being placed.

In this manic time for online retailers, Timlin said that it was still essential for businesses to be able to keep track of which orders belonged to existing customers and which came from first-time users so as to better guide follow-up marketing and conversion efforts.

The good news is that AI is helping retailers to do a better job of catering to the needs of customers, both prior to a sale as well as during the post-sale period. Loyalty is a valuable commodity in an e-commerce context, yet consumers can be very fickle because of the ease with which they can compare prices, look for better deals elsewhere and quickly carry out product research to find alternatives if they are so inclined.