With the coronavirus pandemic affecting the whole world in unprecedented ways, most business owners are probably on the edge. Clearly, the COVID-19 virus has altered consumer behaviors, and in order to remain profitable, eCommerce businesses have to learn to quickly adapt to these changing times.
The New York Times report that , with most businesses selling non-essential products ordered closed. Fortunately, for some eCommerce businesses, they can still remain operational. For those that can continue transacting with their customers (subject to government restrictions of course), certain challenges remain.
Chart by New York Times
Whether you are a B2B or B2C eCommerce business, there are ethical ways to boost your sales despite a pandemic. You can make changes on your marketing strategy, or even take advantage of opportunities that arise at this time.
Just a reminder, for any business, corporate responsibility should be practiced at this time. Make sure that you are looking after the well-being of your employees too, whether it’s through a work from home set up or added measures for their safety if they have to go out in the field.
Here are our marketing strategies to help your business survive a pandemic.
1. Assess your eCommerce business situation
Chart by New York Times
In order to know how to develop an ecommerce strategy during these times, you need a clear understanding of where your eCommerce business is right now.
For most B2C companies selling essentials, the changes in buying patterns could have a positive impact on their eCommerce website. But this may not be the case for those with non-essential products. For others, it’s possible that activities remained business as usual, causing little to no effect on their eCommerce business operations.
In an article by Forbes, they cited a survey showing a in eCommerce activity as reported by online businesses in the US. They explained that although most customers are now doing their transactions online, they stick to the more popular sites such as Amazon and Walmart.
Therefore, you should take the time to understand the unique situation your eCommerce business is in. If you’re doing well or quite the same, keep doing what you do and check for areas you can improve upon.
If you find yourself bearing the negative impact of this pandemic, look for the root cause of the change in buying behaviors. Are your customers fearful to make a purchase at this time? Has the situation changed their perception of your product or service? Do your users know your products are still available and relevant to their needs?
By being able to answer these questions, you’ll be able to develop the best eCommerce marketing strategies that’s tailor-fit for your business.
2. Create a plan to make sure you have enough cash
Austin Browner emphasizes the importance of , and he recommends keeping a minimum amount that will cover your business expenses for 3-4 months. This means that even with zero sales, your eCommerce business will still be able to operate as you take corrective actions during this period.
Make a projection of your cash flow to determine whether you have enough dispensable cash on hand. In case you find yourself short, you can cut down on expenses (Browner advises a pause on advertising that does not generate ROI in 30 days), liquidate assets, negotiate deals, or look at financing options.
3. Review your eCommerce website
Make sure that your eCommerce website is primed for conversion. With user experience being a key factor in sales, check to see if you are making it easy for your visitors to do their transactions on your website.
This could mean making design changes to keep your checkout process simpler. In his article for Medium, Dan Stearn offers . With 1 out of 3 checkouts being abandoned without recovery efforts, you may want to work with your web developers to incorporate this design as part of your eCommerce marketing strategy.
In addition, now is the time to check whether all elements of your eCommerce website is running smoothly. Aside from factors that affect user experience, you should review the navigation, links, and security features of your website. Whatever the size of your business, make sure that you cover the basic .
4. Incorporate live chat
In order to provide customer service to visitors of your eCommerce website, they should be able to have access to you should they have questions as they are making their purchases. Live chat allows you to address concerns about your products and services, especially for first-time visitors. It can be a tool that you can use to further convince potential customers by offering them more information through email, quotation, or product demos.
It’s also a good eCommerce strategy to potentially avoid abandoned checkouts.
5. Diversify your eCommerce strategy by offering new products or product bundles
Photo by Veeqo
Some eCommerce businesses can get away with humor, even during these trying times. But if comedy is not aligned with your brand personality, your best eCommerce marketing strategies would then have to depend on innovation.
We’ve seen how some liquor companies repurposed their factories to produce alcohol. Some eCommerce websites even bundled toilet paper along with their products. With uncertainties surrounding every business, quite a number of them have already explored pivoting. To determine whether your eCommerce business should pivot, Fast Company says that right now and determine what your business can offer, depending on the resources available to you right now.
A pivot can be one of the best eCommerce marketing strategies during this pandemic, but make sure that it is implemented correctly, and that it takes into account the future of your eCommerce business.
6. Develop a digital ecommerce marketing strategy for this period of pandemic
With almost everybody spending an increased time online, a strong online presence is your key to success. You can implement these eCommerce marketing strategies, or hire an agency that offers .
Ecommerce marketing strategy 1: Optimize your content for search engines
Ecommerce marketing strategy 2: Use email marketing
Emails could be a great way to remind your customers that you’re open for business and that they can still avail of your products or services at this time. You can even use this tool to communicate with them your inspiring messages, useful tips, or just simply wish them well during these difficult times.
Just like you, your customers are facing the unknown brought about by this pandemic. You can use email to reach out to them and send positive messages in their inbox.
Ecommerce marketing strategy 3: Use social media
Most people are now more tuned in to the news, and a lot of them probably keep themselves informed through social media channels. So it’s a good eCommerce marketing strategy to be active on social media.
That said, it’s important that you double-check your content and copywriting for elements that could offend. Everybody is coping differently at this time, and emotions can run high, so you should know . Make sure that you are invoking the right emotions for your eCommerce website.
Ecommerce marketing strategy 4: Buy paid traffic
Neil Patel states that paid traffic is the for your eCommerce website. Done properly, this eCommerce strategy can give promising results. In a study by Jeff Bullas, he uncovered how promoted tweets, accounts and trends can bring for an eCommerce Website.
7. Set proper expectations on each eCommerce business transaction
The sudden surge of sales can be a happy problem for most eCommerce businesses. But with the added challenges of logistics brought about by the coronavirus, this may mean longer waiting time for your customer.
In order to avoid frustration on the part of your customers, make sure that your eCommerce website explains the terms and conditions of your deliveries. Set expectations and advise of any possible delays. Your customers will most likely understand.
8. Give something back
It’s a good business practice to share your blessings with the community you operate in. Whenever possible, take the time to give back. You can show that you are sincere in your efforts by giving something that is related to your eCommerce business.
Food delivery companies have sent meals to frontliners, while fashion designers have started sewing masks to give away for free. Some B2B companies have offered learning courses for free, or at a discounted rate. Yours could even be as simple as waiving the shipping fee.
The coronavirus has brought about drastic changes in such a short amount of time. With most businesses still figuring out what to do, it leaves so many at a standstill.
While the best eCommerce marketing strategies have yet to be written, as eCommerce business owners, it’s important that you take action rather than remain stagnant at this time. By assessing the situation for your eCommerce business, you’ll be able to know how to develop an eCommerce strategy for your company.
Explore your options and don’t feel limited by the new challenges presented by the pandemic. With the Internet offering a variety of ways to deliver your products, you don’t even have to stick to one platform for your eCommerce business. Whenever you can, consider a multichannel eCommerce strategy.
There is no guidebook yet for eCommerce businesses to survive this pandemic, but by banking on your business strengths, it’s possible for your eCommerce website to survive and eventually thrive.
If you need help making sure that your eCommerce marketing strategies are virus-proof, wash your hands and get in touch with us now.