The spread of novel coronavirus has affected businesses worldwide. Despite the fact that more than 70% of the countries on the world map are currently under lockdown, global e-commerce seems to be in a pretty good situation.
In this article, we talk about some of the ways COVID 19 has impacted e-commerce and the strategies businesses can follow to make the most of the change brought in by the virus infection.
The Shifted Buying Trend
If trends are to be believed, in past few months, the online sales of baby products increased by 1197% in the month of March 2020. Interestingly, the sales of toys, which are like an amusement for kids, have gone down drastically.
Similarly, the sale of jewelry, automobile, electronics, and apparel have significantly dropped because of the virus outbreak.
In India, not a single car was sold in the month of April. In addition to that, no shopping portal or brick and mortar unit sold any smart phone last month – because of the corona crisis and lockdown, and also because, the priorities of people have changed.
Now, the shoppers prefer searching for products, they want to buy, online before going to physical store. This is mainly because most of the stores went out of stock due to panic buying. And online was the place for them to search for and buy their requirements.
Another popular trend is, people are searching for online stores that have stocks available. For this, they use AI-enabled search engines to get alerts for the availability and unavailability of items they need or may need in future.
A Boost to Online Shopping
Social distancing has become the talk of the town. Everybody is practicing it. People are avoiding going into crowded places. So, how do they get their basic and urgent requirements? The answer is, e-commerce or online shopping.
E-commerce revenue has gone up by over 40% after the United States of America declared lockdown and a state of emergency – which is a great boost to online shopping and e-commerce.
Online Grocery Buying
Before the corona outbreak, people used to buy groceries from their nearby shopping centers or stores. But this trend has experienced a sea of change after January-February, when the World Health organization, declared the COVID 19 a pandemic.
Buyers do not want to go to shopping centers, as Corona is a communicable disease. They do not want to wait in line at the POS, where the possibilities of virus infection are highest. Buying grocery online or from a local store via a phone call or text message has ease off all such concerns.
According to a CNN article, one-third of the people used an online delivery service for their grocery needs in the mid weeks of March. Of which, 41% of buyers were using the service for the first time.
Selling Only What is Essential
Owing to the imposed lockdown, the supply chain of e-commerce has badly suffered. There is a massive shortage of even the essential items – because both manufacturing and logistics facilities are either shut down or working with limited staff.
Given that, many e-commerce stores have decided to take orders for essential items only such as medicines, baby products, kitchen supplies, groceries, cleaning essentials, pet supplies, food delivery, medical equipment, etc. The sales of luxuries; for example smart phones and jewelries; have been put on pause.
How Not to Run Out of Business Amid the Outburst of COVID-19
Re-find Your Audience: If you will scan through your Google Analytics, you will notice that there are a number of users visiting your website who haven’t purchased from you ever. The current global situation has brought in a new hope to widen your reach and enhance your sales.
You can re-build your customer base keeping in mind that you are getting new hits and new searches by making changes in your search engine and social media marketing strategies.
When a majority of your customers is resting and saving the world by staying home, you need to make changes in your geotargeting and geofencing marketing strategies.
The demand for customized gift cards, stickers, and labels has surged due to coronavirus lockdown. This is because people are sending best wishes to their friends and families. There is no other way to do this than sending customized cards. iCustomLabel, an online custom label design agency, ran paid marketing campaigns and yielded over 53% of ROI.
Check with Your Suppliers and Manufacturers: The lockdown has narrowed the way you do business. With limited to no supply, it is quite a challenge for ecommerce businesses to meet the risen demand from their customers.
Many e-commerce businesses have seen a mountainous surge in demand after the eruption of corona. All they have is the demand, but the product to meet this ascended demand and satisfy their customers.
It is crucial for you to stay in close contact with your suppliers and manufacturers. This will allow you to update your website/online store regarding the availability of products listed. You could also find your supplies from alternate sources such as distributors and stockists.
Apart from redefining your audience and buy definition, what you could do is to introduce a new line of products based on the immediate and urgent need of your customers and visitors. To draw in new traffic and user engagement, you could use paid marketing channels like Google Ads and Facebook Ads.
Birbahadur Singh Kathayat is an Entrepreneur, internet marketer and Co-founder of Lbswebsoft, a digital marketing company, and has 11 years in digital Marketing experience and helping some of the biggest companies build their brands and keep their reputation while increasing sales in the process. He is a writer and author on Socialmediaweek, Semrush, Searchenginewatch and other publications. You can follow him online at LinkedIn or Twitter.