Coronavirus: Is e-commerce the step your business needs to take?
There's no doubting that the current Covid-19 outbreak is going to have a serious effect on every business. Events, festivals and gatherings are set to be cancelled for the foreseeable future, causing severe damage to markets across Ireland. Is there a way to keep your business thriving? Let's take a look.
A shift to e-commerce
As the current situation escalates, there have been signs of changing consumer behaviour. Does your business currently only sell in person? Consumers may be less likely to make purchases face to face, the opportunity for retailers lies in acquiring sales from new customers who wouldn't normally shop online. Investing in setting up your e-commerce store could be just the direction your business needs to go in.
Pradeep Elankumaran, co-founder and CEO of online grocer Farmstead, told Retail Dive in an email that delivery volume rose more than 30% this week over normal levels, "most likely due to coronavirus concerns" as more people work from home and avoid crowds.
Time Spent Online and with TV Increasing as Consumers Fight Boredom at Home
Places of entertainment like movie theaters and theme parks are being shut down to prevent the spread of the virus, which has already altered online behaviour for consumers. According to QuestMobile, daily time spent with mobile internet rose from 6.1 to 7.3 hours in China once workers were placed in self-quarantine.
Supply chain disruption
The ripple effect this has across the global supply chain is becoming more apparent as companies are being forced to halt production, or increase their prices due to increased labour costs. In the past, big companies have managed to provide cheaper solutions for products through lower overseas productions and shipping costs. With this being heavily disrupted, there is an opportunity here to provide a quicker and cheaper solution for online goods than some of the big brands in the market.
Focus on the customer experience
With the current chaos around this outbreak, it's important to not lose sight of the customer. Brands who go the extra mile to address customer frustrations due to the impacts of Coronavirus will make a positive impression on consumers that can only encourage brand loyalty in the end. Can you offer free shipping for products that might help in the crisis, such as cleaning products? Maybe you can offer discounts on bulk purchases? Can you deliver to a distribution centre for regions that may go into quarantine?
We are living in times unknown to us, but there can be positives. Adapting your business to the e-commerce world will be a change. We will hopefully see this through and at the end of it, the short-term hurt that brands may experience will hopefully lead to long term gains.