eCommerce and COVID-19 don’t mix well, but you can survive. And that’s the silver lining.
Even with the presence of the many constraints, one does not have to bow before the forces of change. The limitations that this pandemic brings also offer an opportunity for you to expand and upgrade your online presence.
Are you concerned about your online store? Do you need help figuring out what to do until this pandemic ends?
Let’s take a look at some general tips on how to help your eCommerce store make it through these turbulent times.
New eCommerce Brand
Those who’ve just begun their venture or started a new brand are in for a treat. It can be exceedingly difficult to proceed further, but it is possible.
First and foremost, your business might not be profitable. However, this is more common in business than you might think.
Now is a time of many changes and you have to remain adaptable! Figuring how much demand there is, establishing what you can and can’t sell, and accommodating the supply chain limitations of the times is crucial.
To your benefit, ads are quite affordable now, as the larger brands have cut their budgets. You should begin with projections and focus on the results.
Take any feedback that you get. Improve packaging. Communicate with your brand image and nail the customer experience.
Dealing With Manufacturers
As most eCommerce brands heavily rely on the supply chain side, there is bound to be some upset, if it begins to develop limitations of its own. And that’s exactly what has been seen over the past couple of months.
As a periodic eCommerce brand, it can be difficult to find quality suppliers and manufacturers. Many brands have their supply chain pulled through China. But perhaps now is a time to rethink this and go local.
Find 20 manufacturers in your niche within your locale. Get quotes on several thousand units, including any of the packaging, people involved, etc. Get all of the numbers right.
Would you rather let your brand grow with small margins or die with high ones?
Financial Planning Is Still Part of the Job
Focus on your finances. Knowing where you’re winning and where you’re losing will prevent your journey ending in “game over.”
1. Improve Cash Flow
Make sure that you have enough liquidity to have your regular operations in working order.
Analyze and discover more efficient ways to perform, based on your accounts receivable. Receive payments quicker with discounts.
Don’t have cash tied to inventory that’s not moving. Run a promotion – get things out and cash in!
2. Locate Your Capital
A small eCommerce business can have its hands tied with no access to a lending institution.
If you don’t need a loan now and you’re doing well, don’t get one. Research how to apply, discover paycheck protection, and get ready for the day when it will be needed.
3. Project and Analyze
Financial projections will be key to making decisions. Change your assumptions and don’t think traditionally.
How much can you produce in the worst case? How much can you spend on marketing in the worst case? How much cash can you burn in a variety of scenarios?
Examine every route and every exit.
Logistics Are in Need of Improvement
Trade restrictions, sourcing issues, and domestic manufacturing – all of this increases costs and reduces your work efficiency.
Manufacturing times are slowly getting back up. However, lots of inventory is usually transported over port and water. If you need to speed up, get affordable air shipping.
Don’t do what you’ve done before. Communicate with suppliers and establish new guidelines. If they can’t understand, let them go!
Domestic brands will have an easier time. However, your current logistics are critical. If you relied on your supplier to do all of the work, they might not help you out in these trying times.
Be kind. Everyone you know is fighting a hard battle. See how you can help them out.
Perhaps, you can take on the logistics and manage the orders. Everything can be resolved within minutes.
Spending time you don’t have on things that can be changed within minutes is a waste of time at the cost of losing your business.
If the customer experience was not part of your business before, it absolutely should be now. Passive communication will no longer work.
You have to be proactive. Integrate live chats and communicate with clients over all media channels. Incorporate messages in your fulfillment, but also share key information with your shoppers about COVID-19 and eCommerce.
Customers will want to know when they get what they have ordered. Be ready to respond. Be transparent and communicate.
No communication = business downfall. Now is the time to be extra understanding of the customer and their issues. If they want to cancel or make a return, make it easier than ever before.
Try to lower your shipping zone to save money on shipping at all costs, especially if you deal with heavy items. If you are seeing zones of 4 and 5, optimize your shipping.
Be closer to the end consumer, split the inventory. Evaluate how to make packing lighter and more aesthetic.
Evaluate different carrier shipping services, as there are many deals to make use of these days.
Read on here about how other eCommerce brands are dealing with COVID-19.
eCommerce and COVID-19
Now that you have some general outlook on what to expect and how to deal with it, you can better develop the combination of eCommerce and COVID-19.
With all of the hurdles that a brand has to overcome, the future is still bright. Don’t dwell on the losses, but focus on seeking out opportunities. You never know – you might find a way to grow your brand even in these tough times!
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