E-commerce amidst the coronavirus pandemic: Be proactive
A tough blow for the business community
COVID-19/coronavirus is first and foremost a human tragedy, but also a tough blow for the economy and the business community.
No stores, companies, restaurants, hotels, concert venues or organisations will be immune to the effects as society is subject to lockdown. It could be a lack of customers in shops, reduced inclination to purchase, cancellation of events or shortage of goods deliveries to enable production activities to be maintained.
In the short term at least, shops and companies with an existing online store will be in a better position than those who cannot yet offer their customers an e-commerce function.
Although e-commerce retailers may and will, of course, also be hit by supply shortages, which may affect their ability to deliver, reduce inclination to purchase, etc.
What impact do you believe the corona virus will have on your e-commerce business?
Source: Survey of 304 U.S. retailers conducted by Digital Commerce 360, March 2020.
Tips for a proactive approach
As an e-commerce retailer nevertheless, there is much to be gained from taking a proactive approach and helping and guiding online customers – both new and existing. The capacity to be flexible and adapt, in terms of both organisation and platform/technologies, is a good starting point, regardless of whether you are implementing large or small-scale measures.
It may, for example, be useful to focus on some of the following measures:
UP-TO-DATE PRODUCT DATA
Ensure that your product data is fully up-to-date at all times: are the goods in stock? If not, is more stock on the way, and if so, when? Are you experiencing extended production or delivery times, etc.?
RELEVANT PRODUCT DATA
Make use of the capacity of your PIM system to quickly set up new product categories or groups, so you ensure that product illustrations remain relevant at all times in relation to the most up-to-date searches.
Use the CMS system to constantly produce relevant and up-to-date content. Things develop rapidly: for example, when authorities issue new instructions that impact on your daily activities and that require information to be provided to customers. Why not use “breaking news” banners for extra visibility and impact in your store?
ADD NEW SERVICES
Inform your customers about what precautions you are taking to keep your staff safe and to ensure that the goods you are delivering to your customers are safe to receive.
Make use of the capacity of the platform to quickly add new services. For example, if online advice and chat functions, new or additional offers regarding delivery options or similar are necessary.
Think creatively, and for the longer term consider the latest technology: with virtual reality, apps, image recognition, voice functions, etc. you can make online shopping simpler and provide enhanced advice and inspiration remotely..
Many of us will probably experience losses – both personal and financial – as a result of coronavirus. But we also hope that we will all gain some valuable experience that we can learn and benefit from in the future, and we will hopefully soon be looking back on the coronavirus rather than finding ourselves in the midst of it. In the meantime, best wishes to you all, and take care of yourselves and one another.