While we're certain to see a new type of normalcy post-pandemic, the question we're wrestling with here at Flair right now is what type of lasting impact COVID-19 will leave on the world of e-commerce.
In April 2020, e-commerce retailers reported a whopping 68% increase in year-over-year sales, and the categories that surged are a close reflection of the general consumer mindset:
So our questions are this: will these consumer trends continue or will new buying patterns emerge? What should e-commerce companies be doing, right now, to make sure they can make it through these turbulent times and survive one we're on the other side?
Of this, we're certain: both in the current market conditions, and going forward into an uncertain future, the brands that survive will be the ones that are willing to change tactics, update strategies and even alter the fundamentals of their business. In short, they're the ones who will be agile and able to adapt.
Let's look at five ways that e-commerce can adapt to changing conditions to not just survive, but thrive.
#1 Prioritize Communication
With all the uncertainties swirling around, honest communication lets your customers know that you appreciate their needs, understand their concerns and value their questions. Be a loud voice on your channels - email marketing, social platforms, blogging...never before have these digital tactics been more important or effective than they are right. now.
#2 Use Your Web Site
Adding a banner to your homepage informs customers of updated safety practices or current production and delivery schedules.
Revisit your FAQ page and update it with the latest relevant information (or create an FAQ page if you don't already have one). Flexible customer service hours can help you field more live phone calls or chat sessions from customers that may be keeping different hours thanks to pandemic-related life changes.
#3 Don't Cut Your Marketing Budget
Even though your first impulse during a crisis may be to slash spending on marketing, these stats from a recent survey are very telling:
- Brands that maintained their marketing budgets have seen their overall sales increase by about 8 percent since February
- Brands that have aggressively increased their marketing have seen incredible 70 percent YOY growth
- Brands that reduced and pulled back on marketing spends have seen online sales struggle by as much as 40 percent
#4 Do Good (and Be Proud)
Promote charity work that your brand is involved with, and consider initiating rewards programs or discounts to promote others to do good, too. You can draw in new customers and retain existing ones.
#5 Plan for the Future
Even though it may seem the pandemic will last forever (we feel you), we trust that eventually we are all going come out on the other side. And the brands that have strategically prepared, that have been agile and willing to pivot, are the ones who will have the most success.
Does your e-commerce platform offer the options and integrations that make for stellar customer experience? Is your SEO strategy up-to-date? A downturn is a great time to revisit your tech stack and implement new strategies with a minimum of disruption to your customers.
And remember that creating new content to reflect the changing times, and updating existing content to address concerns and changes in business functionality, will all help ensure your brand stays relevant.
Looking for assistance with your digital marketing during these uncertain times? Flair is here to help! Reach out today to learn more.