Panic is on the rise. The majority of the world has packed themselves indoors, emphasising the importance of distance and isolation. Businesses are facing a unique problem; understanding how to stay sensitive and stay afloat.
eCommerce businesses fight the prevailing situation with a slight advantage. Especially within the field of software retail, office supplies, health and essential services.
Whether you are a small business or a large entity, you can partially avoid or counteract the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. The depth of mindfulness exercised within your business activities will be the determining factor.
- The Don’ts
- 1. DON’T spread fear and unverified information
- 2. DON’T ignore circumstances and conduct “Business As Usual”
- 3. DON’T stop running all business activities
- 4. DON’T disregard the impact your business can have based on “size”
- 5. DON’T be too hard on yourself
- The Do’s
- 1. DO let your customers know how the coronavirus has impacted your business activities
- 2. DO increase your presence on social media platforms
- 3. DO offer deals, sales and discounts!
- 4. DO try to assist with supplies wherever you can
- 5. DO highlight the risk minimization of shopping via eCommerce portals
1. DON’T spread fear and unverified information
The coronavirus has definitely shaken the world up as it is. Rising statistics from verified government and global organisations have created widespread panic and concern.
This information has been shared rightly so, however, there are numerous agencies and organizations circulating incorrect information.
This information is normally severe exaggerations or simply untrue. The biggest disservice we can do to the professional integrity of a company is to be an accessory to causing unnecessary chaos and panic.
It is important to let your customers know you are aware of the prevailing situation. Encourage them to exercise caution and preventative measures. However, sharing graphic and incorrect information to your audience is unnecessary and in bad taste.
Direct your clients toward official information centers. Help them understand your professional values and sincerity towards them.
2. DON’T ignore circumstances and conduct “Business As Usual”
Within a digital commerce space, most business is conducted from a location with firm connectivity and personal comfort. Your employees could be working from their homes, your suppliers will have their own safety and social distancing measure in place. And while you and your team may do an excellent job of keeping the business running like a well-oiled machine, the world has considerably changed because of this pandemic.
It is NOT business as usual!
Marketing campaigns, customer service and general buying or selling activities while scheduled with weeks of planning, must be revised before release.
Being mindful of the current social climate and adjusting customer service responses or stock availabilities proves to your clients the importance of their voice and needs.
Reserve marketing campaigns and social media information that would be in poor taste at a time when the world is concerned about health and livelihood.
Reorganise initiatives to include subtle information pertinent to preventing and containing the ongoing virus. Humanize your business entity. It will prove fruitful in terms of customer retention and development.
3. DON’T stop running all business activities
Ideally, we should ask all businesses to stop simultaneously and achieve complete quiet global quarantine and be able to recover lost incomes with help from governments and other global organizations.
“Ideally” being the operative word.
Professional environments are competitive anyway. These further, yet valid, roadblocks to breaking even or becoming profitable are enough to make you want to pack up and wait this out. Our advice; Don’t.
As an employer, ensure the safety of your employees by allowing them to practice validated and comfortable prevention measures i.e. work from home.
Encourage them to settle into a routine that works for them. Keeping your team calm is critical to ensuring your customers remain calm too.
Keeping your business open and adapting to current circumstances allows you an opportunity to distinguish yourself. Professionalism that is mindful yet effective could prove well for existing and future customer loyalty.
4. DON’T disregard the impact your business can have based on “size”
Small scale eCommerce stores may feel sailing through this perilous period is unimaginable. But the activities of a business during this time extend beyond managing sales and profit margins.
During this uncertainty, building your company as a pillar of sincerity and trust could be exactly what you need to propel forward in a time post corona. Allow yourself to experiment with how to get your messages across with precision and care.
Watch large scale businesses and how they handle the virus and interact with prospective buyers. Understand the language and intentions and apply that to your practices.
Do not let your small business drown, cement yourself as firm assistance within your community. Allow the image of strong, friendly and helpful to resonate with your company’s impression and watch sales thrive in the calm post COVID-19.
5. DON’T be too hard on yourself
As a business owner, the pressure to succeed is constant. Even at a time of widespread global concern, your business is still one of your top priorities.
This would be a great time to take a step back from the day to day operations and understand the bigger picture of your operations.
While the change in business routines is unprecedented and can definitely cause inconveniences to all stakeholders involved, prioritising is important. Understand the value of the service you are trying to retail during a time of crisis.
If you feel, personally, this is not a priority to purchase, chances are a lot of the population feels the same. If you are still willing to conduct professional activities at a time when too much income may not be generated, your spirit is admirable.
However, it may be more helpful and beneficial to your company, to allow for a re-evaluation of practices and direction during this time.
Taking the time to make your business better instead of funnelling time and money into the company could help you approach prevailing circumstances with a more effective approach and also allows you to plan for after COVID-19.
One of the biggest challenges businesses face during a communicable crisis, is retaining customer trust.
Keep your customers informed at all times. Let them know how you are restructuring internally in response to the ongoing threat. Inform your customers of all the extra precautions being taken to keep them and yourselves safe.
Give them opportunities to ask questions and verify the efficacy of your newly employed methods, with intent to improve not only your methods but the perception of your company.
Businesses having transparent conversations with their customers are more likely to do well and not let their sales figures face a drastic dip.
Social media platforms are a true blessing of the digital age. A system of communication accessible by the masses that solely requires connectivity infrastructure.
In a day and age where operating handheld or larger scale electronic devices is a default measure, take the time to truly develop and cement your brand’s social media presence.
Millions of prospective customers access information through social media sites and applications. Give them an opportunity to understand the care and thought put into developing your brand and maintaining it at a time of uncertainty.
Offer a healthy mix of information about the situation, how your company is handling it and interactable distractions in the form of content and information which is relatable or relevant to any section of your target demographic.
3. DO offer deals, sales and discounts!
At a time of quarantine, with everyone indoors, digital products are consumed in high volumes. Online articles, video games, seasons of television shows and software that streamlines the work-from-home process find high users.
As a reseller for similar products via your eCommerce platform maximise your customer satisfaction through cost-reducing offers. Introduce discounts and sales, offer gift cards, etc. to encourage customers to purchase. Further incentivising buyers through cost reductions can help distinguish you from your competition.
While you may think, you should be increasing costs due to scarce demand. Think again. Incomes are harder to maintain with current circumstances in play, and as a result, there is an excess of free time with a reduction of purchasing power.
Let buyers understand you function on a customer-centric model that understands their needs and tailors business activity to cater to the same.
4. DO try to assist with supplies wherever you can
The power of a business entity comes from developing and maintaining customer bases. At a time when customers lose their incentive to purchase, what are you offering to ensure your customers circle back to you even at a time of crisis?
LVMH has made its name by encouraging prospective clients to use wealth as the access key to exclusive and significantly expensive products and services. Allowing this information to be validated and released by the brand has slightly adjusted the world’s views on the company.
If a company as elitist as LVMH (granted their abundant access to resources) is able to make a change on such a large scale, why not try making small scale contributions to both society and the perception of your business.
A simple addition to digital purchases such as gift cards to disinfecting supplies or complementary hand sanitizers, gloves or masks with any product bought, while meagre, could be the difference between you and your competition.
Allow clients to really understand the depth of COVID-19 preventative measures and help them feel and stay safe. Small gestures at a time of uncertainty build your brand further towards being dependable and humane.
5. DO highlight the risk minimization of shopping via eCommerce portals
As mentioned in the introduction, eCommerce portals selling essential products like groceries, health and sanitation or IT and office supplies, boast an advantage over physical retailers or digital retailers of non-essential items.
The lack of human intervention gives customers a stronger sense of safety and gratification.
Encourage customers to eliminate threats of human contact by purchasing through your virtual retail platform. Help them understand sellers have honest intentions while engaging in the sale and their delivery partners too practice safe measures in the handling of their orders,
It would be safer for the consumer market as a whole to switch to digital goods that can be purchased and delivered instantly via your eCommerce retailing portal.
Print newspaper companies currently fear shutting down operations due to similar concerns further cementing safety lies in the virtual sphere.
We’re all in this together
While maintaining business operations is the key to building livelihoods both personally and professionally, it is important to note that this is a time of worldwide concern.
Your company and business activities are a source of income not only for yourself but for your employees and their dependents.
As we face a global pandemic, trying to minimise the challenges faced by our team and our clients should remain our number one priority.
If your business has handled a time of crisis well, you will be able to kick it into high gear when markets return to their natural state.
Conduct your business activities with caution, care and compassion. However, DO NOT let business activities remain the focal point of your day.
There is no point trying to steer the ship without a healthy entrepreneur at its helm.