How can I be relevant to my consumers’ needs? How can I be engaging when reaching out to them?

Two questions that are just about as old as the very idea of commerce.

While these questions haven’t changed much, the effort needed to stand out from your competition has jumped exponentially, with the evolution and advancement of culture, society, and technology.

Qoo10 and Google looked to answer these questions (as of January 2019, anyway), in a jointly organised workshop for Qoo10’s merchants.

Given Qoo10’s nature of being an online shopping platform, merchants in attendance were more than savvy to the importance of having an online presence. In fact, a sizable portion of Qoo10’s merchants started and grew their businesses exclusively online. But with the continued rise of e-commerce, and breakneck improvements in technology, even the internet has become a very competitive place, with its own challenges.

Here are three tips, courtesy of Google’s wealth of insights, for e-commerce retailers to not only stay afloat, but gain effective results from online advertising efforts.

Be (re)searchable

Why exactly is having an online presence so unavoidable today? Most of you will already know that it’s because today’s consumers pretty much live their lives online. In particular, Google’s research shows that Singaporeans love to do a lot of research while shopping online. And like typical Singaporeans, we don’t just do our homework right before we make our purchases. We’re a curious bunch, constantly searching for inspiration and bookmarking ideas online for all sorts of gifts.

As an online retailer, your shop is always open, 24/7, whether you are awake, asleep, or trapped in the Twilight Zone. The more readily available and searchable your products are online, the more your audience will remember them, and potentially purchase them.

It’s no coincidence that some of the fastest moving product categories on e-commerce platforms, including Qoo10, are the same categories that people do the most research for before committing to a purchase. 91% of electronics, 83% of babycare, and 82% of beauty products are bought online only after rigorous research has been conducted.

Ain’t nobody got time for slow

Consumers today have less patience than ever. Waiting a few extra seconds for a sluggish, un-optimised website to finish loading feels like an eternity. And consumers don’t actually have to wait – not when there are many other instantly loading options waiting to be explored instead.

Our smartphones have become personal assistants, helping us to search for the right products at the best prices the moment we think about doing so. This makes it crucial for online retailers to keep their website and online shop mobile-optimised and easily legible on small screen, to serve shoppers the information they’re looking for.

In an age of instant gratification, consumers also often have the choice to make things happen faster by paying premiums. Why wait three weeks when you can get it in three days?

Competitive advantage doesn’t simply apply to pricing and promotion. With how saturated the market can be today, success boils down to how much attention you pay to every single stage of the customer’s journey.

Simply the best, better than all the rest

Lastly, when information is this freely available, consumers naturally become more demanding. Knowledge is power, and consumers today have the power to search their way to the deal that best suits their needs.

How do you even call attention to what you are offering? Research shows that consumers are twice as likely to recall online ads as they would radio and newspaper ads (35% vs 16%). This, naturally, is good news for online retailers.

Google Ads and Facebook Ads are your greatest weapons in the online game. Used strategically, online advertisements need not cost an arm and a leg. As clarified during the workshop’s Q&A session, the visibility of shopping ads on Google is based primarily on relevance, not by platform. In other words, merchants should focus on making their product offering as attractive to their prospective customers as possible, rather than fretting about how to get an assured spot right at the top of Google searches.

So are your online products optimised to be on the best online shelf? Or are they on the bottom shelf, together with expiring goods and forgotten brands?

Qoo10 recently partnered with Google to integrate Google Shopping into its seller management console (more familiar to our merchants as QSM). To be more easily discovered by your relevant audience and attract more customers to your store, with measurable results, check out this webpage for more information.