Ecommerce may be the solution, but how do we do it responsibly during a crisis? Not only has ecommerce and D2C changed the face of retail, but the advent of the novel coronavirus pandemic is altering consumer behavior and possibly the way we do business entirely. Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is without a doubt uprooting everyday life, and potentially, will do for some months to come. Workers facing restrictions have been asked to work from home, schools have been shut down, and whole cities have been placed under lockdown. Isolation and social distancing measures mean consumers avoid stores altogether. Individuals and organizations are having to turn to online solutions for their essentials, whilst retailers of ‘non-essentials’ are concerned about staying afloat in the coming weeks. Now, more than ever, people need to feel safe knowing that their needs will be met. Whilst this may be an opportunity to stretch your ecommerce muscles, it is important to act responsibly and with your customers best interests at heart. During this challenging time, consumers are alert to how companies are engaging and the ways in which they are responding to both the personal and economic upheavals that the pandemic is bringing. Nevertheless, the coronavirus pandemic stands as an agent of change: Now is the time to bring online sales and direct retail into focus.
Let’s Look at Recent Developments
- A recent study shows spikes in altered consumer attitudes: 50% of Chinese and 31% of Italian consumers say they’re shopping online to purchase products they’d usually buy in-store.
- The e-commerce giant; Amazon, is prioritizing household staples and other high-demand items during the coronavirus pandemic. Prime delivery delays can now be as long as a month. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed that this accurately reflects Amazon’s current reality and it is unclear how long it will last. During this time of global health crisis selling over a platform may not be right for your product.
- To avoid going to stores where inventory may be limited, digital shoppers are willing to wait on products that they need with longer delivery windows and even convert to brands solely based on accessibility.
- Reduced spending in the travel industry, could represent a loss of 30% to 45% percent of social media’s overall advertising revenue.
Begin the Shift
“You need to build direct-to-consumer strategy on top of a solid and stable foundation so you can respond faster and more efficiently. It’s capital intensive because you’re revising almost all of your business enterprises, then comes the technology, then comes the brand experience.” Jeremy Bergstein, President of The Science ProjectTo be sure, direct retail offers great margins, but it also requires continuous investment in reaching your audience, honing the relationship with the customer, capturing their feedback; both quantitative and qualitative to make better business decisions. Successful direct sales requires vertical integration, support from a strong operational and organisational structure. Don’t forget analytics, testing is the most effective way to learn how to create the right experience for your user. As you embark on this change, be mindful of the times:
- Adapt your message.
- Connect with your community.
- Create social experiences.