COVID-19 pandemic had a massive impact on all of the businesses across the globe. In terms of e-commerce, we have definitely seen a significant shift to e-commerce. Shops providing essential goods, especially groceries, are struggling to meet the demands, with many popular sites crashing due to the increased traffic and much longer waiting periods for delivery. Does it mean we have just entered the golden age for e-commerce?
According to statista.com “online retail sales in the United Kingdom have shown the biggest growth in textile, clothing and footwear stores. The most recent data published by the Office for National Statistics shows that as of February 2020, online sales in stores in this category grew by 14.9 percent, compared to the same month in the previous year. Another category where internet sales significantly improved was household goods stores, which recorded a 6.1 percent growth in that month.”
Unfortunately, it could be just a temporary spike, as the economic slowdown and fears for the uncertain tomorrow might discourage consumers from shopping. As a result, many companies might refrain from any unnecessary expenses and investments. But is this really the way to go?
Focus on e-commerce
E-commerce seems to be to main sales channels nowadays. As such, this should be the main focus and the main stream of investment should go this way. By focusing on e-commerce, large brands have the chance to fight for the consumer and minimize the risks associated with the current situation. At the same time, stores that operate mainly online can now compete for market shares with larger players, as lack of high-street stores have evened the scales.
For all of you looking for a way to do business in those difficult time, we have prepared a short, 6 points e-commerce pandemic toolbox. Check it out.
1. Introduce additional delivery options
For obvious reasons, it is one of the key elements of every e-commerce. Not only in the times of social isolation. Of course, each of your stores has already developed delivery options, but are you prepared for a sudden increase in orders? To avoid delivery problems and long waiting times, you could consider adding the “click & collect” option for your customers to choose from. This combined with allocated time slots for collection can still enable social distancing.
2. Invest in customer experience
All functionalities that improve the quality of customer service and experience are priceless. Everybody, who is isolating at home at the moment, will inevitably spent more time browsing. Even with no plans to actually buy. However, if they like your store, there is a good chance that they will come back again. So amazing customer experience is your investment for the future.
3. Don’t stop marketing
When the specter of crisis appears with the need to cut expenses, marketing is often the first areas to feel the cuts. This is not the way to go, especially now. Let us refer you to the point above – now more than ever people spend a lot of online. Give them a chance to find out about your brand. Especially, if many other companies decide to cut expenses, your voice will suddenly become much louder.
4. Take care of your employees
You want to operate successfully in a pandemic – look after your employees. Make sure you provide them with safe working conditions and introduce all of the possible safety measures. Inform your customers about your actions. This way, you will preemptively respond to their potential concerns about the whole production and delivery process, that could have been stopping them from shopping.
5. Enter additional payment options
Introduce additional payment options, e.g. “buy now, pay later”. This will be appreciated by the customers who are experiencing some temporary financial difficulties, waiting delayed payments or governmental support.
6. Communicate and get involved
Even if you do not have the opportunity to implement any new solutions, make sure you proactively communicate with your client base. By increasing your communications efforts, you are making sure your customers stay engaged and loyal to your brand.
Still, as it might be difficult to run any communication activities with no reference to global pandemic, look for a ways for your brand to get involved. Maybe you can sew masks? Or offer special discounts to certain groups? Maybe you can support local businesses and small business owners?
Look for opportunities and fight for your company.