How a Reactive Omnichannel Strategy can Help you Capitalize on Reactive Buying Trends

Whether it was inspiration from this “summer of sport” or keeping up with the ever-changing weather, the increasing unpredictability of consumers’ shopping habits was on display this summer. From strawberries and cream sales soaring during Wimbledon to the switch from the hottest June on record to a rainy July encouraging shoppers to quickly swap from sunglasses to umbrellas, there’s no denying that a range of external influences are driving unforeseen peaks of interest in different goods.

Flexibility and timeliness are absolutely key when it comes to responding to fast-moving buying trends, as retailers must balance longer-term buying choices with customers’ shorter-term impulse decisions. This presents a challenge for retailers, as it’s essential to keep sufficient levels of seasonal stock to avoid missing out entirely, but disregarding other changes, such as the weather, can cause profits to plummet. There is, however, a huge opportunity for retailers that have the right offer, on the right product, at the right time. For example, short lead times and the ability to adapt quickly resulted in strong sales for Zara owner Inditex despite colder than usual weather this summer.

As important as it is for retailers to keep their finger on the pulse, they also need to ensure their backend and front-end systems work in a symbiotic way to achieve overall success. Investing in digital channels can make the difference between a highly profitable pivot and stock waiting in the warehouse for the end-of-season sales.

The Power of Flexible Enterprise Ecommerce

Retailers have traditionally struggled to understand sudden changes in customer needs, because their systems aren’t holistic enough to see surges early and react to them in time. With many brands seeking a more modular approach to their ecommerce presence and website, composable commerce offers interchangeable solutions to suit retailers’ unique and fast-changing business requirements, allowing retailers to respond quickly to unexpected changes by combining tech vendors.


The UK’s largest independent builder’s merchant, MKM Building Supplies, recognized that the building supplies industry was changing, with 45% of its current customer base set to retire within the next five years. By personalizing the customer journey using composable commerce, they can now deliver a first-class digital purchasing experience. The shift to composable commerce has seen MKM performing above expectations on ecommerce metrics and driving more physical store visits.

Driven by a Reactive, Connected Social Presence 

Social media ads are an exceptionally powerful tool for brands, with the ability to target key audiences with content reflective of recent searches and content preferences. Across multiple channels, they provide an ever-present buying influence for consumers — which is particularly useful when flash sales or immediate focuses on certain products are needed.

The numbers from our latest guide to omnichannel commerce speak for themselves, showing that marketing across three or more channels earns brands 250% higher engagement. Social commerce metrics are up in 2023, with a 9% increase in gross merchandise value and a 63% increase in average order value across BigCommerce’s merchants. This effect is particularly marked for Gen Z, with findings from GWI showing that this audience favors social networks over search engines for product research.

Social commerce channels are a boon for brands because they marry authentic connection with the convenience of native checkout features to create powerful shopping experiences. Having grown up as internet natives, Gen Z is said to be more desensitized to traditional advertising. In fact, Meta found that 41% of Gen Z users felt “more personally connected” to a brand when the brand posted content that made them feel like part of a community.

Using trusted role models to bring products to life for potential customers, whether it’s the cycling shoes that could make you the next Bradley Wiggins or a striped romper that would be perfect for your upcoming family sun holiday, social influence sells.

Convenience Only Becomes More Important

Another stat from our 2022 Omni Guide showed that 66% of consumers choose a retailer based on convenience, while only 47% choose a retailer based on price/value. The cost-of-living crisis is undoubtedly driving buying decisions, so simplifying the consumer journey is essential for closing the sale. Requiring too much data, glitchy checkout processes or unexpected delivery costs are all likely to send your customer onto their next browsing tangent instead — particularly if the item they’re interested in was driven by a more recent and short-term stimulus, such as a sudden aspiration to make their child a footballer having seen the Lionesses smash it once again.

Research from BigCommerce conducted in partnership with Klarna revealed that 17% of consumers admitted to abandoning items already in their online shopping cart once a week, and 21% did so even more frequently. Combining password-less one-page checkouts with payment systems like PayPal Wallet or Apple Pay can make a significant difference in checkout conversion rates. One BigCommerce merchant saw conversion rates jump from 52.9% to 61.9% after deploying both of these tactics.

Many retailers are needlessly accepting shockingly low conversion rates when stronger ecommerce strategies could be driving much higher returns, without the need to invest more into campaigns or advertising.

Provide a Brilliant User Experience

Speed is key when capitalizing on short-term buying trends. Missing the mark when it comes to any part of this process — from getting the right products in front of people to providing a frictionless shopping experience — can result in buyers moving onto the next big thing. In what has been a challenging year for many retailers, seamlessly reflecting buying preferences becomes more important than ever before.

Meghan Stabler is a highly experienced business executive with deep experience in all aspects of marketing, product management, strategy and digital transformation. Her background includes startup, pre- and post-IPO, turnaround and enterprise SaaS software firms. From cybersecurity to ecommerce, digital to mobile, she has touched every aspect of today’s technology landscape. She currently serves as SVP at BigCommerce, one of the world’s leading ecommerce companies. Stabler was previously a Senior Advisor at CA Technologies (acquired by Broadcom) and has held key leadership roles in several technology firms over the past two decades.

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