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What’s the impact of Coronavirus on eCommerce?

With all that's going on in the world right now, it's both a good and bad time to be an eCommerce business. It's safe to say no one expected the situation to take hold as quickly as it did.

One thing is for sure though, it’s what businesses do now that will determine how they ride out the storm and ultimately carve out the path to walk down once it all goes away.

Let’s talk about the bad stuff first. If you are an eCommerce seller relying on Amazon for a large chunk of your orders, there’s a problem. Amazon’s FBA service was scaled back a number of weeks ago to make way for urgent provisions and medical supplies so the network could cope with the surge in demand. You can totally understand the rationale behind this, but the move has resulted in a number of issues for eCommerce sellers who rely on Amazon to not only market their products, they also process and deliver their orders too. If you try and order a non-essential item now on Amazon, expect delivery sometime in May or June. Yes, they can still showcase the product on the marketplace, but with lead times as they are, purchases will surely decline until the situation settles.

Even when there is a pandemic, people want items yesterday, it’s how we have become conditioned through things like Amazon Prime. With all this in mind, those affected need to now concentrate on taking the supply chain into their own hands and with it, marketing too. Products still need to be sold to survive.

The other problem is that traditional bricks and mortar stores that normally flourish are now closed. It’s safe to say many did have some form of eCommerce branch to the business but many still don’t. The same goes for some service offerings, where reliance was placed on a sales team to stimulate pipeline and sales, that’s now a tough gig. For the many that do have some form of eCommerce offering, it wasn’t the spearhead of the business and in many cases may have suffered unintended neglect while the core business got the bulk of attention and operating budget. Now we are seeing many businesses scrambling to digitise in order to keep selling and keep heads above water.

Many people are not in the right frame of mind to be sold to. People have suffered not only business disruption, but their whole routine has been changed with schools closing, lockdown imposed and navigating the working from home challenges. That doesn’t mean that people are not buying, because they surely are, if not only to cure a bit of boredom or for something to keep the kids occupied.

This means that eCommerce businesses need to be sure if someone is looking for what they offer, they need to give consumers a ‘virtual’ window to look through. This isn’t just having a great eCommerce store to look at, virtual footfall needs to be driven to the site. It’s a common mistake to plough all efforts into making the website look awesome and easy to navigate while forgetting it needs marketing to drive visitors. Offline sales still make up the lion’s share of retail sales but that scale is most certainly about to tip. Its crucial businesses adapt and are ready for it.

Now the good part, many businesses that are taking steps to adapt will come out of this smelling of roses. There is a real opportunity for many businesses to help make life just that little bit easier. Your products and services need to be where your audience is and where they are looking. Lots of the large retailers are also feeling the pain and there is an opportunity to play on a level field. Home furnishings, home office, toys, educational products, provisions delivery and online services will surge. People at a time like this have problems that need solving, whether that be through a product or a service. It’s time now to step in and help solve pandemic problems.

There are multitude of ways to ensuring that people experiencing a problem and seeking help, see your solutions.

Keyword targeting can be used so your products appear alongside content relevant to what’s being sold. If you are a traditional bricks and mortar store, Geofencing can be used to let your community know you are still trading or even offering deliveries while the store is closed. Dynamic ad technology can be used to show data influenced content relevant to what consumers are looking for based on online behaviours. Your product feed can be synced with your ad provider to ensure consumers are seeing only in stock items and special offers.

A must is Retargeting, if someone has visited your website and not purchased, you need to keep your messaging alive as well as any stories you want to convey. If a website visitor has shown an interest in an item but not purchased, keep them in the moment. Even if a purchase has been made, show a related product to keep your onsite experience alive.

There are multiple different ways to target the right people, at the right time, with the right messages. At a time like this, messaging is crucial and there are literally hundreds of companies out there offering help and advice so use them to your advantage. Many have made concessions to make navigating through all the uncertainty that little easier.

At Fluid Ads, we are offering free creative work and access to our ad builder platform for those who need it most. If anyone needs any advice, tips or guidance in navigating the eCommerce journey, then please get in touch.

Most of all stay safe, stay positive and we will see you on the other side.

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