For the last year and a half, most of us have become accustomed to doing everything from home, including our shopping. 

With website traffic in Australia sitting nearly 80% above pre-pandemic benchmarks, for many businesses, their website has assumed the place of shopfront. In an online world, customers expect a top-notch experience just as they would in-store. They want to be engaged and delighted from the moment they land on your site, held in rapture at each stage of the conversion funnel.

But as cities, towns, offices, restaurants and shops reopen, many of us are beginning to consider what life will be like in a post-pandemic world. Research suggests that for shoppers, the future will  be a hybrid of online and in-store, with  over one-third of consumers saying they will shop almost always online. 

Here, we delve into how businesses can successfully navigate changing behaviours and continue to reach shoppers as we enter this next stage of pandemic recovery.

Prepare for new shopping behaviours and expectations

Although we’d love to imagine the world going completely “back to normal” overnight, this will take time. In the wake of the pandemic, consumers are likely to remain cautious even once they’re vaccinated and once regulations are lifted

When it comes to an online or hybrid model of shopping, customers expect a frictionless, intuitive and delightful experience regardless of whether that’s for small every day purchases or high-value items. From navigation and ease of use, to up-to-date, relevant and helpful content, the experience on-site or in-store can mean a new customer or a lost opportunity. 

Customers will likely still want to see that businesses are making efforts to keep them safe. In addition to getting your business ready for health-conscious customers, you’ll also want to hone in on strategies to ensure shopping remains convenient for customers, with 18% of customers noting that they will shop in stores if they’re convenient. In the case of physical retail businesses, this might mean stocking products that aren’t easily accessible online or that customers don’t want to wait to have delivered. 

Managing a new shop front

Businesses are compelled to make decisions everyday about the best ways to engage with customers, and through which channel. For most businesses, their websites have become the single biggest interface with customers, so delivering a delightful experience is critical. 

When it comes to delivering a seamless online shopping experience, the majority of marketers in Australia believe that providing a personalised experience for customers is crucial to delivering a great overall experience. Yet with the average Content Management System (CMS) Net Promoter Score (NPS) ranking as -65, it would appear we’ve got a problem on our hands.

Delivering an exceptional experience online and managing your website shouldn’t be all that hard, but unfortunately a huge number of businesses fall down when it comes to finding the right tools for the job. In this case, their CMS is the most important tool in the box, helping to ensure that the experience on their website matches that of the experience in store.

Dive into digital transformation

Many of the problems businesses experience when reaching new audiences can be traced back to the CMS they use. So often, businesses and marketers are making a trade-off: choosing between a CMS that’s easy to use but lacks the technological capabilities that a growing business needs or one that possesses all the functionality but requires custom development that your team isn’t equipped to deliver. 

To keep pace in a post-pandemic world, businesses need a CMS that is flexible enough to make real-time website changes and powerful enough to support the wide array of website functions to deliver a seamless end-to-end customer experience. On top of this, the CMS must be secure for both the customer and business.

If your CMS isn’t equipping you with the tools you need to manage content, customise your site’s design, maintain security and add functionality, you need to look at alternative options. 

After adding a CMS to their CRM platform, Sendle, Australia’s disruptor delivery service supporting Aussie retailers, has been able to sustain an impressive growth trajectory and also eradicate its previously fragmented approach to marketing and sales. Since doing so, Sendle has experienced three times the growth in website traffic. Further to this, the overall business has been growing at an average rate of 20% month-on-month since. 

In a post-pandemic world, your digital shopfront will be just as, if not more important as a physical shopfront. To deliver the digital experience that customers have come to expect, it’s going to take much more than just a website with contact details and generic content.

Instead, you’ll need a CMS and website that drives business growth and enables developers, marketers, sales and service teams to deliver a personalised, contextual customer experience. Businesses looking to get ahead in the post-pandemic world will be crafting tomorrow’s digital experience, today.

Kat Warboys is marketing director for Asia Pacifc at HubSpot.