What COVID-19 Means For Businesses Without A Digital Strategy?

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What COVID-19 Means For Businesses Without A Digital Strategy?

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COVID-19 has put ecommerce businesses in a bit of an interesting position.

On the one hand, internet usage has spiked by up to 50% as people turn to the internet to help them deal with the demands of social distancing. On the other, millions of people are in danger of losing their jobs of having their hours cut back, so ecommerce conversion rates are already down 14%.

In other words, your audience is online…but they’re hesitant to buy.

To make things even more difficult, the novel Coronavirus has had a big impact on manufacturing, production and shipping. Many ecommerce businesses have little- to-no product to sell, and those that have product in stock or on its way have to deal with extended shipping times.

So, between tight-fisted customers and product shortages, is it time to give up? Should you just hunker down and hope to wait out the storm? Or are there still opportunities to be had in the midst of this global crisis?

Whether your business is strictly online or ecommerce is a supplement to your physical location(s), COVID-19 will affect you in one way or another. Even if your core product offering is largely unaffected by Coronavirus concerns, the economic fallout will have an effect on your customer base.

To be honest, while Coronavirus has created a lot of challenges for retailers, this situation has a ton of positive long-term potential for ecommerce as a whole. People are being forced to learn how to shop online for new things and in new ways. No matter what the future holds, this pandemic will change how people view ecommerce forever.

Despite the widespread growth of online shopping, the vast majority of retail spend still takes place offline. While you can buy almost anything online these days, many people still treat ecommerce like a digital catalog. They’ll shop online for unique or specific items that are hard to find elsewhere, but they buy everything else from brick-and-mortar stores.

For example, many people still want to see and touch their groceries (especially produce) before checking out.

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People are being forced to adapt or—quite possibly—die. Given the nature of the Coronavirus, even technology-resistant groups like the 60+ demographic are beginning to explore their ecommerce options.

This sort of learning and discovery will have long-term effects on how people shop. Ecommerce has always offered a ton of convenience and options, and more people than ever are finding out just how nice online shopping can be.

So, how do you make the most of this situation? How do you use this shift in customer perspective to grow your ecommerce business? How do you push your business forward amid product shortages, shipping delays and economic uncertainty?

We don’t claim to have all of the answers, but if there is anything to learn from Amazon’s moves over the past few weeks, it’s that now is the time to be aggressive.

The simple fact of the matter is that times are changing. Like your customers, if you don’t adapt, your business could die. It might not die today, but if you don’t take advantage of the coming months, it won’t be long before your company starts to struggle.

If you’ve got product, but no one is buying, you’ve got two options: change your messaging or sit tight. The right choice will depend on your business.

If your business sells non-essential items like expensive watches or handbags, you may just want to hunker down. You’re selling a “want”, not a “need”. When the future is financially uncertain, people are more careful about how they spend money, so it can be hard to get them to splurge on a “want”.

After all, who knows if they’ll need that money later?

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t successfully advertise this kind of product right now. You’ll just have to adjust your strategy a bit.

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There are a variety of ways to encourage people to buy something they want— even when the future is in doubt. For instance, people are well aware that many businesses are struggling as a result of COVID-19. Offering a significant discount to “help you keep the doors open” can play to this sentiment.

If the deal is good enough, people will buy simply out of fear of missing out. This sort of tactic is particularly well-suited to remarketing campaigns, since you’ll be targeting people who already have an interest in your products.

Thanks to COVID-19, the world of ecommerce is changing. Some of those changes are good, and some are real challenges.

For many businesses, the difference between success and failure in the coming months will be how they choose to respond to these changes. Will you sit back, cross your fingers and hope for the best? Or will you be aggressive, find ways to adapt to this constantly changing situation and discover new ways to grow?

Article adapted from Disruptive Advertising