The Covid-19 pandemic is sending ripples in all areas across the globe. The outbreak, which originated in China, has affected everyone, either directly or indirectly. In two months, statistics show that the pandemic has claimed the lives of nearly 4% of the affected. However, just like the 1918 influenza pandemic, coronavirus has brought cracks in the business sector too.
Travel restrictions, for instance, have led to the closure of many industries due to the shortage of labor. The closure of these industries has disrupted the supply chains, shipments, and the delivery of goods across the ground. Also, many manufacturing firms that source their raw materials from China have been forced to close temporarily as they wait for the waves to settle.
Customers, on the other hand, have turned to online businesses as they seem more secure. But has the pandemic affected the eCommerce industry too? And what can the online business do to protect their businesses? Keep reading to know more.
Covid-19 and eCommerce
Covid-19 is spreading at an alarming rate, unsettling business operations, and causing panic in the stock markets. As such, many consumers are making many lifestyle changes, with the main one being turned to online stores. Social distancing, quarantine among the other control measures that people are taking to prevent the spread of the infection, means that people are considering the online stores. According to an Ipsos study, 31% of Italian consumers and 50% of Chinese consumers are now using eCommerce more frequently. Other affected countries such as India, Russia, and Vietnam have also reported an increase in the number of people turning to eCommerce. As a result, most online businesses are benefiting from a substantial increase in sales. However, the increase in demand does not mean that online businesses have not been impacted negatively by this respiratory infection pandemic. Here is a quick overview of the main eCommerce sector’s performance since the outbreak of the pandemic.
The eGrocery sector has had a rapid expansion during the entire outbreak period. In China, for instance, Meituan Dianping, a local services firm, has reported a triple demand for raw food, seafood, and vegetables. Ele.me, a subordinate of the Alibaba group, has also doubled its grocery sales.
Many food industries have changed their delivery channels from traditional to online. Master Kong, for instance, has changed its focus from distributing its noodles and beverage products in the conventional means. As a result, it has managed to double its sales in three weeks.
Many restaurants in china offer delivery services to their clients. Their delivery service networks have, however, increased, considering that people are not allowed to get into the hotels through the doors. The nationwide lockdown has made delivery the only option of serving their clients.
Many restaurants, hotels, and cinema chains facing closure have sent their employees to Hema, a high-end grocery store owned by Alibaba. Other firms, too, have adopted this idea of borrowing labor to meet the increasing delivery demands.
Fashion and cosmetics
Cosmo Lady, one of the most prominent fashion firms in China, has started selling its products online. Other cosmetic firms such as Lin Qingxuan have closed most of the branches and turned to online marketing and selling.
The insurance industry has not been left behind! Some firms, such as Ant Financial, have included free coverage for coronavirus related issues. As a result, many clients have been encouraged to purchase the insurance product, and the firm has seen a 30% sales increase.
Many hospitals and healthcare centers have decided to utilize the online space to educate and reach patients across the globe. DD health, for instance, has started an online consultation service to help people with chronic illnesses to get their drug supplies. Also, other firms, such as Alibaba, have initiated B2B services to match drug sellers with governments and hospitals.
Strategies for E-Commerce Firms during the Coronavirus Pandemic
Many corporates have initiated both long term and short term mechanisms that they can use to protect their businesses during the coronavirus pandemic period. However, many eCommerce firms are still unprepared for this event. If you run a small or big e-commerce business, here are effective strategies that you can use to hedge your business against the risks associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Maintain a good relationship with your suppliers
The coronavirus pandemic can cause several adverse impacts, mainly if it extends for a long period. Maintaining a good relationship with your suppliers will ensure that you continue to get raw materials and the other things you need to keep your business going. You should, however, emphasize proper quality control to ensure that the materials you get retain the quality of your product. Moreover, you should keep evaluating the possibility of your suppliers surviving the period. If possible, look for a plan B supplier who you can turn to incase the main one closes.
Maintain your online presence
Your online presence should not drop irrespective of the prevailing pandemic. As seen from above, many people are turning to online stores. Find new ways to increase your online availability, and customize your website design. According to Bearfoxmarketing.com, a good website design armed with proper SEO customization can facilitate the success of digital marketing efforts. You can use other digital tactics too, to improve the visibility of your online business, thus, sustain your business during the coronavirus pandemic. Lastly, improve your FAQ section to connect with your customers well.
Ramp your inventory and keep up with the news
Add more stock to your online business if possible. It might not be easy to stock up the perishable items, but you can ramp up the non-perishable commodities. Also, remember to keep up with the current news and regulations regarding the pandemic. There might be a change in the rules or regulations affecting your e-commerce line.
Coronavirus is a human health threat that will probably continue to affect business activities soon. However, the spread of the disease does not necessarily mean that businesses will decrease their volumes. Online companies should only develop the right strategies to keep up with the changes. They should also tighten their data protection mechanisms as fraud attempts may increase.