Last updated - May 13, 2020
By now we’re all very aware of what COVID-19 is and the effects it’s having on our planet, our well-being, and our financial status. Another issue at hand is businesses all over the world are having to make decisions for the well-being of their staff, while also thinking about the long-term effects this difficult time is going to have on their business. But what about eCommerce businesses? How are they affected? eCommerce businesses work mostly over the internet, and require very minimal human contact. Let’s look at how this global pandemic could affect your eCommerce business and ways you can protect yourself.
People have less money
With many countries going into lockdown, this means that pretty much everyone is out of work. Those who can work from home are working on reduced hours, and those who aren’t as fortunate are having to live off any savings they have or government funded help. People are less likely to want to splurge their cash online when they’ve got to save it for essentials like rent, food, clean water and utilities. People spending less with you = less money coming in. This will have a huge knock-on effect on your business, but there are ways you can reduce costs to help stay afloat:
- Look for a cheaper VPN provider – this will reduce your expenditures while allowing your website to continue running.
- Ask staff members to work from home wherever possible – you can save on heating, electric and fuel costs as well as helping prevent the spreading of Coronavirus.
- Put large business investments on hold. While there’s always a chance it could boost your credibility in the market right now, people don’t have the money to spend largely. It’s wiser to wait until the pandemic is over.
Customers are going to be anxious
Even those who don’t have to worry about their money situation and are comfortable may be cautious about purchasing goods online at the moment – and understandably! What if the product they’re buying exposes them to Coronavirus? Many companies – not just ecommerce – have assured their customers by sending email updates with information such as:
- The steps they’re taking to prevent the spread of the virus
- Assuring them staff members are equipped and trained to handle their products
- Providing information about how to get in contact with the office team
Being empathetic with customers and assuring them may help bring in extra business during this global panic. You should also use social media for company updates to reassure those who aren’t on your email list that you’re doing everything possible to help combat the spread of COVID-19.
Sourcing your goods will be harder
Due to many areas being in self-isolation or quarantine, you may find it harder to source your goods before selling them on. It’s no secret that many products and goods come from China. If you source from areas that have been largely affected, like China, you’ll need to find out the status of the manufacturing company, where they’ve sourced from, and then determine whether it’s a risk to continue.
Delivery times will be longer
Hand in hand with difficult to source products comes longer delivery times. So, even if your e-commerce site is still having a decent amount of purchases, you’ll need to cater to the fact that delivery times will be longer. Perhaps offering a free delivery service, or a voucher for their next purchase will help compensate the time your customers may have to wait to receive their goods.
Personal necessities are harder to obtain
If some of your staff can’t work from home, like warehouse staff, for example, then you’ll need to provide them with essentials such as facemasks, handsoap, hand sanitiser, protective gloves and cleaning products. The problem here is that these necessities are high in demand, and you may struggle to buy them. Plan ahead and work through these difficulties so that your e-commerce business doesn’t have to be affected.
Protect yourself from the pandemic
Anyway, if you haven’t already established a plan to protect your company, now is the time. Do not wait until things get worse before you do anything about it. Unfortunately, some businesses can not make it through this tough patch, but by being proactive and having a plan, you can give yourself, your staff, and your business the best chance. You could just survive the storm by looking ahead and being smart with your planning, the way you communicate with customers, and also where you’re sourcing goods.