Global events are changing things drastically. We can see on the news every day how this is impacting health, travel, and the economy. While this is all something to be concerned about, there is a need to educate ourselves on the impacts it will have. Even with the uncertainty, information is still as valuable as ever and so is being prepared. For those business owners, and those in eCommerce, it is useful to use this time to prepare.
While shopping and retail have been hit hard due to lockdowns and other social practices, online retail has seen different changes, but still dramatic enough that they are noticeable. For eCommerce businesses, the impacts of this pandemic are big, and this is how it is changing the world of online retail and services.
Increased Shipping Demands
Now that shoppers are not going to stores in person, the demand for shipping is exploding across the world. Major retailers like Amazon are seeing drastic decreases in shipping as they cannot get products out on time, and are costing more because of this. This is actually a great time to be focusing on providing better shipping alternatives to satisfy customers. Peer-to-peer order fulfillment is a good alternative, as this solution offers the fastest service that customers want while providing them at a lower cost. For an eCommerce business, this is about as good as it gets given the circumstances and can drastically improve your sales even during these global events.
On a less positive note, there are expected to be fewer sales as there is an economic downturn due to the pandemic. As more people are either being laid off or are holding their wallets tight to their chest, there are fewer sales occurring in retail. There are ways in which eCommerce businesses are trying to adjust to this, but it is an unfortunate reality that before a potentially upcoming recession, people are more likely to save than to spend. It is better to be informed on why this is happening and how it will impact your business than to be blissfully ignorant, but times are hard for a lot of consumers.
Increase in Brand Recognition
Not just brand recognition has been improved due to online shopping for a lot of those that are still retail shopping online, but an improved ability for accountability with the retailers and brands. Due to issues with shipping or returns, companies, brands, and businesses have a unique opportunity to be transparent with their customers and come out of this looking good for their marketing base. It might seem counterintuitive to the business to lose money on returns, but being ready to step up and provide support for the customers through communication and openness can help in the long run as these customers will see that as a benefit to shopping with your business in the future.
Marketing and Advertising Needs
The increased amount of screen time for buyers at home means that advertisements and marketing are at a premium now. With the number of people who are going to be shopping or seeing advertisements in their daily scroll through the internet or social media, it is apparent that now is the time to focus your attention on improving your marketing strategies. SEO, social media, and paid ads should all be accounted for as you have more time to plan how to reach a wider audience who is more connected now than ever. So, while there are a lot of downsides to the impact of the pandemic, there is still some good.
Shortages of Inventory and Goods
As retailers see shortages in supplies because of supply chain disruptions, the opportunity to provide alternative options is rife with potential as an eCommerce retailer. Many consumers are limiting their spending to essentials, but for those that are still confident and committed to spending, you can offer them options for goods they may need but are not able to find. The supply and demand are constantly changing in this uncertain time, but you can take advantage of it by giving that alternative and potentially creating a new line of supply for customers.
It goes without saying that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is being felt throughout the world, and especially in the economy and business sectors. There is a lot of change and eCommerce businesses need to be ready to adapt as they are not immune from these changes. With this information, you can prepare yourself for the months to come and hopefully find yourself in a good position for your business, and even possibly better than before.
Samantha Acuna is a writer based in San Francisco, CA. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, and Yahoo Small Business.