Online commerce companies must start looking for new e-commerce strategies against the coronavirus if they want to survive this health crisis that is leaving a very battered economy.
The coronavirus is completely changing the daily lives of people and companies. As uncertainty continues to grow, consumers see online shopping as a reliable means of sourcing . Italy, one of the most affected countries, has seen how online sales have increased up to 80%.
In a situation where everything changes overnight, companies must exercise extreme caution and try to guarantee normal sales. It remains to be seen what e-commerce strategies against the coronavirus are adopted by large multinationals.
Is coronavirus affecting ecommerce?
The harsh measures that world rulers have taken are having a noticeable impact on online commerce. Investment in advertising has decreased by 35% due to the slowdown that has been established in various sectors.
Economic uncertainty has also reached the pockets of consumers, who have reduced purchases by 50%. Also, total earnings are down about 40%.
The online stores that have most noticed the general decline have been those that depend on their physical establishment. Suppliers are not delivering orders on time and several logistics companies are failing. Also, one of the strong campaigns of the year, Father’s Day, has been greatly diminished. Others have had to stop their delivery services, such as Mercadona in Madrid .
A future full of campaigns
But it is not all bad news. Several sectors have benefited from the situation and have increased their online sales. Grocery stores have seen their traffic and sales have grown tremendously. People want to stock up on food, so the sale of refrigerators online has exploded. The confinement has also caused the sale of toys to have multiplied by four. And the demand for parapharmacy has doubled in a few days.
In the following weeks, all companies will have to adopt e-commerce strategies against the coronavirus. Experts warn that until the arrival of spring, the level of sales will not recover .
To do this, merchants and department stores will have to do a multitude of promotional and discount campaigns . The important thing will be to recover clients and try to attract new users.
How big ecommerce is behaving
Asian giant Alibaba has recently admitted that the coronavirus crisis is going to have a tremendous negative impact. In order to help sellers and platforms, it has approved several measures to boost sales.
Chinese New Year celebrations have also influenced the behavior of Asian users. The usual break for this holiday looks like it will last for several more weeks.
Amazon released a reassuring official message to sellers and consumers: “ We are taking action; This situation will not be noticed in the availability or prices of products . ” On the other hand, sellers have been contacted to recommend various precautionary measures. The multinational has also intensified the storage of products from China.
Rumors related to powerful e-commerce have set off alarms for thousands of consumers. This has caused thousands of users to launch compulsive shopping.
The experts recommend observing what happened during and after the crisis of 2003 SARS virus to design new scenarios possible. Although, of course, ecommerce 2003 and 2020 are two completely different worlds.
Ecommerce strategies against coronavirus
During this crisis, there are several actions you can take to minimize the impact of the virus on your online business. The important thing is to ensure the supply chain, but you also have to maintain quality customer service.
1.- Close relationship with suppliers
It is recommended to monitor the situation with your local suppliers and distributors. You have to stay informed at all times, either by official sources or by suppliers. Try to have a good relationship with them, so the flow of information will be better and you will have fewer unexpected surprises.
Now is a good time to get detailed information on international regulations and protocols for crisis situations. China, for example, has changed several points in its legislation due to the impact of the virus on New Year celebrations.
Be aware that movement restrictions also happen. In this case, many workers will not go to work, which limits the capacity of the factory. It is vital that you control all the factors of your business so that you are not the last in line in your sector.
2.- Increase quality control
Rumors about production from Chinese factories are creating uncertainty in many European online stores. Chinese New Year is the holiday period for many employees, and with this crisis many have not returned to work. This explains many delays in shipping and distribution, as production has been reduced.
The holidays have been “forcibly” lengthened for many employees and factories note this lack of personnel. This has led to a drop in product quality in order to satisfy all demands.
Quality controls have even been reduced to increase the shipping rate. Therefore, be careful with your orders and be sure to offer only warranty products in your e-commerce.
3.- Inventory always well supplied
All the e-commerce strategies against coronavirus that are being published affect the need to be properly supplied. Although many factories are lowering quality to maintain shipments, other suppliers have not opted for this tactic. In the coming weeks the factory catalogs will be reduced, so it is time to be proactive.
More than one vendor has announced that there will be noticeable delays to manufacturing ramps after the Chinese New Year. Therefore, contact your suppliers to release orders as soon as possible. If you can, buy a larger quantity than usual, as it is unclear when it will return to normal.
4.- Correctly manage the sales execution rate
In case of shipping and inventory issues, you should protect the total margin and ranking on Amazon. Take good note of current sales and current inventory. Also, take into account the possible delays of suppliers and distribution of your sales.
With these data in hand, rethink your e-commerce strategies against the coronavirus and ask yourself: How long can I endure in this situation as the market is?
It is recommended to adjust discounts, promotions and prices of all your items to control sales . Maximize the inventory margin you currently have and make sure you guarantee a minimum of shipments to your customers.
5.- Intensive and personalized customer service
It should not be forgotten that without consumers willing to buy online stores there is no point. Because of this, e-commerce strategies against the coronavirus must give great importance to consumer concerns.
In times of crisis is when you have to offer close and humane customer service . You have to prepare yourself to solve numerous problems with patience and a lot of empathy.
It is recommended to strengthen the team of people who are dedicated to this task in your company. Why not expand with external equipment located abroad? Any measure that benefits the relationship with your consumers is positive.
This section should be prepared for all questions that clients may ask. For example, shipping delays, how to pick up packages and the security of opening the packaging.
Tips to alleviate the effect of the crisis in your ecommerce
For the new e-commerce strategies against coronavirus you have to think about giving facilities to users. In the tips that you will find below are actions that will help you manage your communication :
A.- Offer special promotions
Design an extraordinary campaign with reduced prices to release the stock you have in the warehouse. You can also do promotions as a 2 × 1 on items in high demand when the current crisis ends. Having a wink with your consumers will improve their vision of your brand.
B.- Adapt your communication plan
In such a situation you can do more than you think for your followers. Change your social media strategy and offer content related to the current problem. You can give relevant information or opt for friendly posts that distract them from everything that is happening.
C.- It offers different payment methods
This new crisis is going to be a hard blow to the economy of many families. Why rethink how to pay for your products? One way to continue sales is to offer collection at the beginning of the following month. Another interesting proposal is interest-free financing. You will get paid later, yes, but better a sale than none.
D.- Design new newsletters
Email marketing is still a great tool for spreading messages and promotions. Develop campaigns to promote the new discounts in your catalog, as well as recommend your customer service. In the same way, you can also send a newsletter simply with a positive message, without the intention of selling. Now is also the time for unity and strengthening the relationship with your community.