What You Can Do to Stay Competitive Online During the Covid-19 Pandemic Crisis
Ecommerce, already on a growth path all over the world, has seen a spurt in growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers are avoiding brick and mortar stores to minimize the risk of infection. Shoppers are increasingly turning to online stores. There is an opportunity for a local shop to do brisk business if they have an ecommerce store. If they do, an opportunity exists to rank organically for newer keywords and products plus strengthen their existing presence for organic traffic.
There’s enough data available now for online retailers to calibrate marketing strategies in these times of global pandemic. Let’s look at what businesses need to do to adapt to this new normal. What insights and actionable steps for the present scenario are available now.
Where is there opportuinity in the post COVID-19 pandemic world
Sales of baby products, personal hygiene products, and toys have increased while jewelry, electronics, and apparel have recorded a slowdown. These trends are perfectly understandable because in almost any emergency people will prioritize necessities over luxury or discretionary items. But other niches are doing well. Home goods, athletic equipment and athletic apparel have seen big spikes in revenue. Travel, vacation, and event categories have seen a big downturn. It seems people are adjusting their discretionary dollars accordingly. All in all, ecommerce revenues have increased 40% over the past couple of months.
What online retailers should focus on
The shutdown of brick and mortar stores selling nonessential items has boosted sales online. It remains to be seen how much of that boost will last now that most communities have begun allowing businesses to reopen. Maintaining inventory has also become a factor. National import policies and shutdowns in other countries has created shortfalls in many product niches. If you’re an online retailer you need to factor in inventory shortfalls and extended delivery periods. You need to communicate with suppliers. Understanding your suppliers’ perspective on possible gluts and shortfalls will help you navigate the supply line dilemma that has developed over the last 3 months. Your pricing strategy, sales pitches, packaging, and delivery services will be influenced by the kind of supplies you plan for. Put your money into products and activities that can yield returns over the short term. The future is uncertain. Things must settle down before people return to a life that existed before the covid pandemic.
Safety is the order of the day
Safety has emerged as the order of the day. If your online store does not stock soaps, handwashes, masks, face shields, and other self-care related products then you’re missing out. They are hot sellers now and may stay that way for some time to come. Consider adding these products to your online catalogs. Are you a local store that offers curbside delivery? If so, educate your customers about the steps you’re taking to keep everyone safe. Have you implemented best practices to maintain distance and minimize contact with recipients? This includes safety practices within your operation. These are vital factors in the minds of customers. If you can highlight these steps as achievements, then you’ve just given your business an advantage over competitors. On the other hand, news about your employees getting sick on the job will harm sales, online and offline.
Don’t have an online store but plan on starting one
If you’ve been planning to start selling online, there’s no better time than now to get started. With established ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Big Commerce or Woo Commerce, you can set up a store quickly and begin selling. The COVID pandemic has caused a wave, and anyone interested in selling online must ride it before it subsides.
One of the most important aspects of online selling right now is to tweak SEO so that you can rank for new keywords, new long tail phrases, and pandemic-related search terms associated with your business. Work with a trusted SEO firm for a complete technical SEO check and to update product descriptions. An informed and experienced SEO firm can also help you with targeted copy and a PPC advertising strategy that yields the best returns.