It’s no secret that the COVID-19 Pandemic has dramatically changed life as we know it. It’s changed the way we socialize, the way we do business, and even our purchasing habits. By mid-March everyone was quarantined to their homes, causing most businesses to lose revenue. While nearly every other industry has had to make some major adjustments, e-commerce has continued business as usual. In fact, during quarantine, e-commerce sales have been stronger than ever!
Let’s take a look at this shift, including changes your business could implement right now that will help you get through the rest of COVID-19 and succeed in the long-run.
How Businesses Can Become More Focused on E-Commerce During COVID-19
COVID-19 has confirmed what’s already been happening the last few years: people love online shopping for the convenience. But now e-commerce isn’t just favorable for convenience. It’s popular for safety too! Those who were hesitant to switch to online shopping because they’d rather interact with a real person are now avoiding brick-and-mortar locations to avoid those same interactions.
Shopping online means consumers don’t have to worry about being coughed on or touching a doorknob that could be carrying coronavirus. It also means customers can continue living in their pajamas and not worry about finding their face mask.
Businesses that are exclusively online are thriving. Not much has changed for them. Businesses that have both an online storefront and traditional brick-and-mortar location may be hurting some, but if their online presence is solid, they are still staying strong during COVID-19.
Taking your business completely online may not be possible in your industry. But chances are you can push at least some of your business operations online. If you haven’t done that already, there’s a lot you can learn from the e-commerce businesses that are booming.
Focus on Fast Customer Service
Selling your products online shouldn’t mean your patrons experience any less customer service. Virtual customer service is essential when you’re running an e-commerce business. The e-commerce businesses that are succeeding right now have effective measures in place to answer customer questions. Instant messaging is the most common way to do this. Many companies even allow customers to send messages 24/7.
This is important because in the online marketplace consumers will have more than just basic questions about product details. They may have a hard time placing an online order, especially if it’s their first time really dabbling with online shopping. At the moment, many senior citizens are making e-commerce purchases for the very first time and need guidance on how to use the technology.
Don’t think offering 24/7 support sounds practical? You’ll be happy to know you don’t need to connect customers with real people. Chatbots are able to field the most common customer questions. You don’t have to expel any extra time or money on answering questions, and your customers will still be satisfied with the level of service you provide.
Integrate No-Touch Forms of Payment
Another benefit of shopping online during a pandemic is customers and employees don’t have to worry about spreading the virus through cash or credit cards. Some brick-and-mortar businesses have stopped accepting cash as payment to avoid this. Online shopping gives consumers and businesses peace of mind. No one has to worry about passing any germs along while making a payment.
E-commerce businesses have taken convenient payment options to the next level. Companies that accept no-touch forms of payment like PayPal or ApplePay make online shopping even more convenient for consumers. Some businesses even accept bitcoin. When you start accepting these forms of payment, you’ll have greater customer satisfaction during the pandemic and in the long-run.
Implement Better Work-from-Home Strategies for Employees
While a lot of these things have to do with the customer experience, it’s also important that you’ve created a strong work-from-home strategy for your employees during quarantine. Although we all hope this is the last time the world will see a pandemic like coronavirus, it’s also a good time to evaluate your overall work-from-home strategy. That way, if your employees ever have to work from home for a long period of time in the future, your business can still thrive. If employees know working from home is an option, they will also have greater satisfaction working for your company.
Make sure you have reliable technology and tools in place to help everyone in your company work from home. This should include:
- Searchable employee databases
- Secure messaging channels
- Internal social networking
Make sure these platforms are cloud-based and accessible with mobile devices. It’s important that you’re proactive about choosing platforms that work best for your company even if you don’t think you’ll need them. You don’t want to end up with employees trying to communicate with each other across several different platforms.
Create New Solutions for Providing Professional Services
It’s not just retail businesses that are changing during the COVID-19 Pandemic. It’s service providers too. Service providers like real estate agents, personal trainers, and others have struggled to find their footing in a pandemic-shaped world. But that hasn’t stopped many of these providers from succeeding. The key is creating creative solutions for new streams of revenue. But that hasn’t stopped many of these providers from succeeding. The key is creating creative solutions for new streams of revenue.
Some companies have shifted to providing quotes via video chat. Personal trainers have begun leading virtual workout classes on platforms like Zoom. Real estate agents have been providing video tours for their clients. This may not be ideal, but in many cases, it’s the only option to keep providing services safely during a pandemic.
The Long-Term Impact of COVID-19 Buying Habits
It may seem the e-commerce boom is temporary. But chances are consumers who have been driven to e-commerce will continue to prefer it long after this is over. This is also true of late-adapters who may not have been going online to make purchases in the past. It’s essential that your business is prepared to meet the evolving demands of consumers. Start working now.
If you have a business that’s looking to up its online game, you’re going to need compelling sales copy. Strong Estate Marketing would be happy to write content for your site. We’ll set your business u for success for the rest of the pandemic and long after it.