How eCommerce Companies Can Optimize Their Work During COVID-19
When it comes to working as digital marketers, we consider ourselves lucky. Why? Because our job doesn't require sitting in our cubicles all day, and we can without a problem do our jobs from just about anywhere. All we need is a laptop and good internet connection.
Recently, some official measures like travel and school cancellations, and other office closures shook the companies who weren't ready to adapt. One thing is clear, we're looking at a period of adaptation that may span for weeks, even months.
Looking optimistically, every crisis, no matter how disturbing, also presents an opportunity. In the end, we may discover better, more productive ways of working with each other.
Every employee can take their laptop and work from home. This may sound like an easy task, but don't forget that there are things you must do to ease the transition for your team as a whole. What happens with the people that need to physically be present to do their job?
In times of crisis, you must create an excellent working environment for your employees.
If you are an eCommerce business owner, here's some advice on how you can optimize your work during these uncertain times.
Build Trust, Don't Exploit
We have already witnessed people trying to exploit the situation. Products that have higher demand now more than ever suddenly have a higher price. From masks, to hand sanitizers, some companies are using the people's fear to make a profit. This doesn't make you an innovative entrepreneur, it makes you an immoral person with no ethics.
Scamming people to make a few more bucks isn't the right way to go. Instead, you should focus on building trust with your customers and employees.
People are scared. There's no denying that. They’re afraid about their health, jobs, and safety of loved ones. So, you should focus on maximizing people’s trust in you, as a company and as a leader. Assure them that you’re doing everything that's in your power to give them the safety and security they deserve.
So, to help your business and your customers, we recommend figuring out a new strategy. Different situations require different approaches!
Executing a variety of actions that can increase trust-levels among your customers, employees, and suppliers should be on top of your to-do list.
Start by Announcing Mandatory Work From Home
Not every one of your employees works in the supply chain. Making your employees work from home is essential.
Working remotely has been a trend long before this situation. As freelancing has been here a while, people are using the internet to share tips on how to efficiently work from home.
This is an essential step when it comes to taking care of your employees and the future of your business.
You can use so many online tools to make remote working easier. For example, you can communicate with your employees using Slack. Skype or use Google Hangouts for your meetings, etc.
Moreover, technology can be used for seamless communication. You can meet the consumers’ demands online, enable interactions through direct-to-consumer offerings and enhance the consumer experience with augmented and virtual realities. This offers the opportunity to earn consumer loyalty long after consumers’ concerns are over.
Whether it's for your employees or clients, being there to answer their questions is crucial. People should be able to contact you with their needs and you should be open to new ideas.
You can use social media platforms to stay connected with your clients. Facebook Groups, for example, have proven to be a great way to connect with people from all over the world. It's an easy way to share ideas and build trustworthy relationships for your business.
Ensure Minimal Exposure
As an eCommerce business, you will need to ensure minimal exposure of packaging to the virus. This may include disinfecting boxes before delivery or coming up with your crisis management system that will ensure safe delivery.
Once you do this, share it with your consumers. They need to know that you’re investing in keeping them safe, but also need to do their part.
There are already some examples of companies that started offering ‘contactless’ delivery.
Families across North America rely on Instacart to have fresh groceries and household essentials delivered directly to their door.
Make a Plan and Prioritize
It was quite unexpected when something like toilet paper got into such demand that many stores are either out of stock or they’re selling it at unimaginable prices.
As an eCommerce business, you will need to make rationing of the items that are high in demand.
Your team needs to monitor products with increasing demand and should step into restocking them before they all get sold out. Big retailers like eBay and Amazon haven’t been able to respond fast enough to control the price of items in demand, but you can.
Know the Consumer Behavior
The thresholds offer early signals of spending patterns, particularly for emergency pantry items and health supplies, and we are seeing these patterns being mirrored across various markets.
Quality Is Important
When restocking for products and supplies, you should keep in mind that consumers will be seeking more prominent assurance that the products they buy are free of any risk and are the highest quality when it comes to safety standards. This refers to food, cleaning products and everything in between.
An Opportunity for Improvement
As the situation evolves, the innovative responses are more than required. eCommerce and other companies that successfully leverage digital platforms to kick-start their selling and customer service have a more promising future.
The opportunities are endless and emerging, even if they are still a bit unpredictable.
Besides, a lot of companies changed their formerly non-refundable deposit policy to be fully refundable, exclusively for people buying online.
Even the elderly adapted, there are examples that almost all grocery delivery services witnessed. The senior citizens were quickly converted to mobile grocery shoppers, abandoning their lifelong habit of buying only things they could touch, taste and pick.
Every business can think about this. If people who never used credit cards for paying before and haven't been able to figure out the internet are adapting and changing their habits, what stops your company from innovation?
You can carry the lessons, experiences, and the new habits you are building with consumers' way in the future. There will come a time when digital will no longer be just a means of hiding out from a virus, but a means of tapping into a wider range of commerce modes, with a bigger range of partners all over the globe.
The Future of eCommerce Supply Chain Management
What global supply chains need is a more distributed, coordinated and trackable supply of items. Needless to say, with much less supplier-customer contact.
This would require global platforms to be built to use sophisticated technologies such as 5G, robotics, and IOT (Internet Of Things) to help link multiple buyers with multiple vendors reliably across a ‘web’ of supply chains.
The uncertain times these days, also had an impact on the adoption of self-driving cars and delivery drones as the demand for eCommerce logistics is surpassing the number of drivers needed to fulfill them. Moreover, self-driving cars mean less human contact.
Rumor has it that the first 'suspects' that will make this possible in the future are Ali Baba and Amazon.
Covid-19 is a terrifying shock to the global economy as well as the thousands of individuals and families it has affected. Companies need to ensure that the health and safety of their workers, partners, and suppliers come first.
Over the longer term, Covid-19 has changed the way businesses will compete over the next decade. eCommerce companies are more likely to thrive if business owners successfully make the necessary changes.
“We believe that better eCommerce technology can help shape and improve the world of the future.”