SAI Digital - The Ecommerce Digital Agency

Build retailer business resilience during Covid-19 outbreak

As billion consumers are staying at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, online buying soars significantly. According to the Emarsys/GoodData tracker, APAC-region online orders were up 82% year over year for the 2 weeks of March 22 through April 4.

For those businesses that already had an e-commerce channel, and especially for essential items, orders are recently surging. However, the vast majority of retailers are store-based shopping and fewer retailers are actually investing in e-commerce.

How can you address this crisis if your business is not on e-commerce yet? Check out our best tips below:

1. It’s not the time to stop your marketing strategy

While marketing is often considered as non-essential budget, this is absolutely not right. A recent Forbes article cited examples of brands that invested in advertising during adverse economic times. These brands all gain a significant market advantage when the economy recovered.

There is a saying that “When times are good you should advertise. When times are bad you must advertise.”

Some industries have slightly recovered since last week. The fashion industry is progressively coming back to the game with a significant increase in website visits last week from the previous week (+31%), thanks to strong promotions and discounts. This shows optimistic signs coming up from some customer’s reactivity. Don’t hesitate to embrace your in-house marketing efforts to build up your brand identity as well as maintain your sales revenue in this challenging time.

Increase social media to stay connected with your customers

Have you been updating your website information or posting more activities on your social media to proactively promote your products? Well, now is your chance to do it!

As people hunker down at home, social media is surging drastically. It shows the fact that people are spending more time on social media to update real-time information as well as engage in interactive content such as challenges, workouts, and webinars. Weekly Time Spent in Apps Grows 20% Year Over Year according to AppAnnie’s Report. Take this as a huge opportunity for your business to grab customer attention and spread out your marketing message.

Keep people informed on how your brand proactively responds to the crisis. Don’t forget to create positive and content to get your customers’ mind off the pandemic. This will add value to customer relationships and increase interactions.

Enhance connection with your customer by messaging platform

While the entire shopping activities are shifting to digital platforms, people require more product and service information during COVID before buying. Get your messaging platforms ready and easy to connect. In this way, you will expand your reach to boost connections with customers.

Make use of PPC ads in recession time to reach more people while they are searching for products online.

People are practicing social distancing: this does not mean they stop making purchases online. Take this chance to highlight your product value proposition as well as promote your business services with the accurate needs to serve your customers. You can use an additional extension to show your free delivery services or how you are supporting them in this critical time.

The research of more than 100 of the top eCommerce experts about the most effective tactics for SME online shops. Around 82 percent said pay-per-click (PPC) ads attract consistent traffic for eCommerce.

2. Quickly empower your customer care agents to support customers during COVID-19

In the context of COVID 19, customer care centers are facing more challenges of handling the dramatically increased level of customer emotion and anxiety in service calls. According to Accenture’s recent report, customers prefer live interaction when they want answers to urgent and complex issues.

What can companies do to help their contact center navigate this difficult situation? We recommend some key actions to address these issues:

  • Adjust the prioritization: Address the most critical contacts first and handle the less urgent but important contacts in a second time.
  • Instantly update FAQs: Identify repeating queue messages to identify recurring customer needs. Create quick FAQs and synchronize them to multiple digital platforms to directly address those needs.
  • Adapt advocacy technique: Agents who are using advocacy techniques can simply convey a “we are on your side” message that helps reduce customer frustration. In Harvard Business Review’s research, advocacy language was proved to reduce customer centers’ effort by as much as 77%.
  • Utilize collaboration tools: In order to proactively react to customer questions, agents should make use of messages, video chat or photos to deliver useful guided help.

3. Be prepared for your e-commerce online business

In the face of COVID-19, it’s crucial for businesses to not only protect and maintain business but also to outline your business vision to adapt to immediate changes after the outbreak.

How do you start your e-commerce business?

For us, there are three main steps involved. You have to set up a solid strategy first, then organize your operations, and finally iterate and scale your business.

Building a strategy to start your online store

Strategy is often overlooked, but it is decisive for e-commerce success. Here are a few points to ponder:

What product do you sell? Is it going to be a niche boutique or a general store? Foundr suggests relevant criteria to choose your product: low seasonality, decent sales volume, small and lightweight.

Who are you going to sell to? Who is your target? Research your industry carefully. Knowing your customers will make it easier for you to reach them. Without a clear perception of your buyer, you won’t market effectively and will therefore waste resources. You can learn more about this step in this article.

Who are your competitors? How are your going to be different?

Operations: make your store a reality

Next step is to make your store a reality. For that you’ll need:

A brand identity so your customers can understand who you are and remember you. You need a name that appeals to your target, and a logo of course. We also advise that you determine your brand’s tone early on.

A website. Several e-commerce platforms exist to help you build your website and run your business. Some essential functionalities to look for are faceted search, integration of multiple payment and delivery options, registration, vouchers, orders and product management. BigCommerce, SAP Commerce Cloud, Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Sitecore Experience Commerce Cloud are among the most popular e-commerce platforms.

If you are looking for some quick solution that can operate within 90 days, check it out our Quick Starter Package

You will learn more about best user experience practices for your e-commerce website as well as shipping strategies later in this article.

Scaling : prepare for growth

Be careful not to grow your brand alongside your e-commerce capabilities. If you grow your brand alone, you might end up with more demand than you can handle, resulting in poor customer experience.

Keep track of your e-commerce performance by translating your business objectives into measurables indicators. These are your KPIs. They will allow you to keep a close eye on your progress, and to detect the cause of possible issues. Monitoring your business will tell you when to hire help, automate and shop for additional warehouse space.

We won’t speculate too much about when the “end” of this period will come. We’re only expecting we make this through together and we encourage you to adapt your business plan thoughtfully and proactively. If you need more assistance on how to quickly surpass online business challenges, contact us to get your consultation!