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E-commerce and COVID-19: How to be more resilient in times of crisis

There is every reason in the world to shop online today, especially with no signs of the coronavirus pandemic slowing anytime soon. As work, school, and social life have moved online and into the confines of our homes, we are forced to accept that life will never be the same as it was before–at least for a little longer than we expected.

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This picture show a person shopping online.

Even before COVID-19, e-commerce was already making its mark in the business world and has made buying and selling over the Internet easier for consumers and business owners alike. This convenient form of shopping has become increasingly popular over the years, more so in these economically tragic times where it’s safer and more convenient than going out even if you’re fully masked and gloved.

E-commerce in the new normal

Popularly known as online shopping, e-commerce is a system of electronic trade that allows consumers to purchase goods or services from a business or individual over the Internet. This revolutionary form of shopping allows for a wide array of products to be at your fingertips in the comfort of your home. Be it books, clothing, food, plants, toys, gadgets, appliances, software, insurance, and a lot more, the options and varieties that the Internet has to offer are endless.

Over the years, the e-commerce industry has modernized the business world by making everything available, fast, and convenient. Now that everyone is stuck indoors, most people are spending a lot of time online to keep themselves entertained on apps, games, and social networking sites. Chances are you come across several online stores on the daily selling both essential and non-essential goods and services.

A survey from Digital Commerce 360 shows that 58% of retail businesses believe that there will be some impact on consumer confidence as a result of COVID-19. But with the rapid shift from in-store buying to online shopping, it cannot be denied that e-commerce businesses are starting to gain traction in the new normal situation.

Taking a proactive approach

The business community may have taken a few hits due to the current crisis, but those with existing online stores or can offer an e-commerce function for their customers might actually benefit from this pandemic. However, the situation is a lot more complex than it seems, especially at this time when the industry is booming and projected to grow over the years.

In times of crisis, taking a proactive approach to map out your strategies and cater to changes in consumer behavior are crucial to succeed in the e-commerce industry. Obviously, you won’t be the only one trying to take advantage of the opportunity that e-commerce has to offer. While many believe that this type of business can be easy to set up and run, the competition is fierce, and with millions of sites, you may find it hard to stay ahead of the curve.

With this in mind, here are some tips for taking a proactive approach towards becoming a more resilient business owner in times of crisis:

Get an edge on your niche

Whether you’re still trying to find a niche or you already have one for your e-commerce business, ask yourself if it’s viable enough to generate sales during a crisis. If not, then it’s time to get creative by finding a unique selling point that will set you apart from your competitors.

Getting an edge on your niche means focusing on a specific gap in the market to benefit business growth. A good starting point is to identify target customers from the wider market to whom you intend to sell your products and services. Random e-commerce niches are fine as long as they’re profitable, but if you can sell your passion, then that’s even better.

Do not limit yourself to selling a single product that will decline in popularity after some time. To stay relevant in the e-commerce business, do some research to know what’s trending and try to find out what people are searching, what terms they’re using, and what questions they’re asking that might drive their interests.

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It’s important to remember that even in times such as these, your brand matters.  So you should define it in the best way possible to show customers why they should choose you.

Design a user-friendly store

Take time to enhance the interface of your e-commerce business and make it as customer-friendly as possible. Not everyone who shops online is tech-savvy, so it’s highly likely that you’ll get more sales if your store is attractive and easy to navigate, with clear product details and a seamless shopping experience. 

Not only will a user-friendly online store attract more visitors, but it will also add credibility to your e-commerce business. Additionally, make sure your site can support mobile view since many people now shop online on their mobile devices.

The e-commerce industry has modernized the business world. (Source)

Make your prices reasonable

When it comes to online shopping, it’s very important for consumers to get value for their money, especially in these trying times. So carefully assess the prices of your products and services to avoid customer attrition. Refer to the prices of your competitors for similar items to gain insight and strategize.

Prices of items in online shops do not always include additional charges such as shipping or handling fees and replacement costs among others. As a responsible e-commerce business owner, it’s important that you indicate any additional expenses for transparency before you sell anything to your customers.

Always put customers first

The concept of e-commerce relies solely on product descriptions, photos, videos, and reviews. Unlike in-store shopping, consumers cannot see or inspect the products they purchase online until they arrive at their address. Meetups are also highly discouraged now that we’re in a pandemic, which highlights the vital role of customer service in any e-commerce business.

Over the years, the e-commerce industry has modernized the business world by making everything available, fast, and convenient. Now that everyone is stuck indoors, most people are spending a lot of time online to keep themselves entertained on apps, games, and social networking sites. Chances are you’ve come across several online stores on the daily selling both essential and non-essential goods and services.

A survey from Digital Commerce 360 shows that 58% of retail businesses believe that there will be some impact on consumer confidence as a result of COVID-19. But with the rapid shift from in-store buying to online shopping, it cannot be denied that e-commerce businesses are starting to gain traction in the new normal.

The role of digital marketing in E-commerce

Now that we’re living in the new normal, many aspects of our lives are moving online, and e-commerce business owners are keeping up by taking their brand to the next level through digital marketing. This marketing method puts your e-commerce business in a variety of digital channels online so your target customers can see and learn more about your products and services. 

Designed to reach a large audience, digital marketing has an exceptional ability to market on a faster and larger scale without compromising efficiency and convenience. Its role has become more crucial for e-commerce businesses these days in order to be more resilient in times of crisis.

The key is to utilize digital marketing strategies to yield high-impact results and stay one step ahead of your competitors. These strategies include online advertising techniques such as on-page and off-page SEO services, customer acquisition, content marketing, paid advertising, web development, and email marketing.

  • Search Engine Optimization

Search engines are the first tools consumers use to search for products and services. Since the world of e-commerce is extremely competitive, it can be challenging to stand out from the crowd and get noticed. Working with an experienced SEO marketing agency can help direct traffic to your store from the search engines and level the playing field among your competitors. This digital marketing strategy is one of the most competitive methods that offer e-commerce solutions to bring target customers to your doorstep. 

  • Content Marketing
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Creating effective content to engage consumers is a challenging task for any e-commerce business. It’s one thing to create content for your brand, but it’s another thing to make sure it can drive revenue. Be it blogs, campaigns, or product descriptions, you’ll need the right content marketing strategies to be able to acquire customers and reinforce your brand.

  • Paid Advertising

Also called pay-per-click (PPP) campaign, paid advertising is a digital marketing strategy that uses search engine tools like Google Ads to generate clicks to your e-commerce site. Every time your ad gets clicked by a visitor who gets redirected to your website, you’ll pay the search engine a small fee which is a no-brainer because the visit will be worth more especially when you make a sale. Paid advertising is a great way to maintain brand momentum and drive business growth within budget in the e-commerce industry.

  • Web Development

A great way to accelerate your digital transformation in the world of e-commerce is through a website development service. If you have a specific vision in mind on what your online store should look like, this strategy can offer web solutions and help you realize your vision while optimizing your brand in the process.

  • Email Marketing

Email marketing is a campaign strategy that’s been around for a while, and it’s still one of the most effective approaches out there. E-commerce businesses are now moving away from generic email blasts that do not resonate with their target audience. When it comes to email marketing, crafting personalized messages is key to increase customer engagement and solidify the business-customer relationship.

Indeed, the world has transitioned into a digital environment, and there is very little we can do about it. As we’re nearing the end of 2020 with little to no signs of cure to COVID-19, it’s basically common sense for e-commerce businesses to invest in digital campaigns moving forward. While the current situation is bleak, it’s also a great opportunity for e-commerce businesses to entice people to purchase their goods and services. 

However, keep in mind that e-commerce will not bring you success overnight. So if you’re planning to get a leg up from the competition, make sure to take a proactive approach and integrate digital marketing strategies into your plans. Doing so will help you be more resilient in times of crisis and lay the foundation for success in your e-commerce business.

(Featured image by Pixabay via Pexels)

DISCLAIMER: This article was written by a third party contributor and does not reflect the opinion of Born2Invest, its management, staff or its associates. Please review our disclaimer for more information.

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Stefanie Siclot is part of the SEO team at href="https://www.growth-rocket.com/">Growth Rocket , a digital marketing agency based in Los Angeles. She is responsible for increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic which means fun for her.