Sales is the lifeline of any business. Whether it’s selling a service like dog walking or IT implementation or eCommerce selling, small business owners know the struggle well.
With no vaccine in sight—although human trials have begun—many eCommerce businesses are struggling to keep up with the diminishing of sales. Large retail corporations like Aritzia, for example, reported first-quarter losses of $26.5 million, having all its 96 stores closed on March 16.
Small businesses also understand this pain—and are grappling with these turbulent times by embracing eCommerce selling rather than the traditional brick and mortar store.
Businesses must adapt and be open to change
So how then, can eCommerce businesses battle the growing concern of selling during a global pandemic?
Well, they have to adapt.
This involves changing their business model if the previous one is no longer working.
But most importantly, businesses need to embrace eCommerce selling.
Here are some ways to get started:
Revisit your value proposition (and communicate it)
When you start a business, what’s the first thing you consider?
If it’s how you can deliver value to your customers, then you’re on the right track. Every business involved in eCommerce selling should have a solid value proposition.
Tip: Not sure how to create one? Here are some examples.
Not only you, but your staff and customers should all confidently know what the business value proposition is. If they don’t, then it was never communicated properly in the first place.
During turbulent times, money is tight for many customers. The last thing they can or want to do is to spend money.
Take YYOGA or Lagree for example. Prior to COVID-19, both fitness companies operate on a business model where they make money by getting customers through the door.
YYOGA’s mission is to create a space where all are welcome and supported in their commitment to whole health. To provide an environment centred on wellness, committed to quality and rooted in community.
Lagree’s mission is to maximise the guest experience inside and outside of the studio.
Now that in-person sessions are limited (or even non-existent) depending on where you live, both of these companies have very clearly revisited their value proposition. By introducing video sessions or free coached workouts, both companies are adapting and investing in the short term to keep customers satisfied and coming back.
Much like YYOGA and Lagree, your business too can revisit its value proposition to see how it can adapt to survive the new normal.
Go beyond typical advertising
It’s important that your business speaks out on its protocols and efforts to keep staff, the community, and clients safe amidst the pandemic. But if addressed in an insensitive manner, it can cause distrust and alienation with your brand in the long-run.
Avoid typical marketing messages—especially if it can rub someone the wrong way.
For example, if you run a travel agency or are responsible for marketing for a hotel franchise, avoid advertising for “summer travel plans”. Not only do messages like these not help anyone, but it’s done in poor taste.
Instead, focus your advertising efforts on ways that make sense during the pandemic. DoorDash and UberEats, for instance, are thanking frontline workers and adding an ability to tip extra to the restaurants that you order from. Although suffering from the impacts themselves, it’s a great way to connect with the community, while helping small businesses where they can.
Be sincere in your messaging
Just because your business issues a company statement does not mean that your job is done and you can go on with eCommerce selling as nothing has happened.
Regularly find ways to increase engagement with your customers. Businesses that operate through eCommerce selling, in particular, need to focus on sincere messaging. Some ways that you can do that are by being helpful. Let your customers know that you’re still shipping if you still have inventory or are able to deliver. This operational message is critical and should be displayed to every visitor on your eCommerce site.
As cross-border restrictions increase due to social distancing protocols, many retailers are also experiencing shipping delays. Don’t be shy when communicating this. Your customers will understand—as long as you can fulfill them.
Lastly, be creative with your messaging. Whether your eCommerce selling involves a service or a product, customers want to hear a sincere message that’s specific to your brand.
For example, Uber came out with a statement earlier this year on their website, stating: A company that moves people is asking you not to move.
Little efforts like these can go a long way during turbulent times. Customers who tend to rely on Uber can truly resonate with this message during these trying times.
Seize the opportunity & go beyond simply eCommerce selling
Many eCommerce businesses are grappling with this pandemic, making eCommerce selling trickier, despite the advantage of selling in a world that’s very clearly shifting to online.
Businesses large and small should seize this opportunity by revisiting their value proposition, getting creative with advertising, and focusing on communicating a sincere message when it comes to their customers.
These little efforts will truly go a long way when it comes to eCommerce selling during these indefinite, turbulent times.