As the stock market drops and businesses of all sizes close their physical doors, it’s natural to succumb to the panic and feelings of existential dread – especially if you are a business owner yourself.
It is in times like these that we must challenge ourselves to consider the greater good, both for the health of the economy and for our own sanity. Luckily, those two things do not have to be mutually exclusive. Whether you are practicing social distancing by choice or by order, you’ll definitely continue using the internet to sell and buy the things you need. Some short-term adjustments to your selling strategy – coupled with mindful buying practices – can go a long way.
The Beauty of eCommerce
At Cybba our mission has always been to help companies achieve their eCommerce goals. Some of our clients also have brick and mortar locations, but all rely primarily on eCommerce. As long as the USPS continues to be the stalwart steward of parcel delivery, there are still ways to make the best of this period of uncertainty.
Assuming your business can safely and responsibly continue operations, we have the following recommendations:
- Mind your margins
Inevitably, there will be a drop in spending as consumers await official orders on travel and assembly. To even out those losses, focus on promoting the higher margin products on your website first. Driving buyers to purchase high margin products will give you a little more cushion to cover the fluctuating costs of order fulfillment.
If you can, consider using shipping incentives. No two words are more appealing to customers right now than “free shipping,” but we understand that covering that cost is not always possible for small businesses. Promoting a spending threshold, such as “free shipping for orders over $100,” can motivate customers to spend more to qualify and ensure your margins are protected.
- Invest in low-cost acquisition channels like email
No one can resist doing a little online shopping when they already have their web browser open. If you (rightfully) thought consumers were easily distracted before, the Coronavirus has likely split the average attention span in half. At least. (Note: this has not been scientifically proven. It is simply the opinion of the writer.)
Email is a great way to reengage recently abandoned website viewers or to remind customers that you’re still up and running and selling your products. Sympathetic to the current strain on small businesses, many people are looking for easy ways to support those businesses from afar. Email is a low cost way to stay top of mind and makes it easy for loyal customers to continue their support.
- Trigger notifications to keep customers informed of restocked items
If you sell products that are in high demand and sell out quickly, make sure that you set up campaigns to alert your customers when a popular item is back in stock. In a pinch, customers will prioritize access to a product over brand loyalty. Don’t give your customers the chance to buy the same product from someone else. Make sure that they are informed that products have been restocked as soon as they are ready for sale and capture that value.
Parting Thoughts to Consumers with Buying Power
If you have the good fortune of being able to work remotely and/or without disruption to your livelihood, please consider supporting small businesses that are experiencing unprecedented financial strain during this time.
Depending on city-specific orders, you can continue to support local restaurants by ordering take-out and using apps, such as UberEats and Postmates (currently waiving their fees), for delivery. You can also buy gift cards to these restaurants and other local shops for future use. It’ll help with their cash flow and give you something fun to look forward to!
Finally, if you do use a delivery service like Instacart, Shipt, or Postmates, please express proper gratitude to the individuals delivering your orders. This time is stressful for everyone. Be patient and kind, and, for heaven’s sake, tip well!
Let us all embrace the benefits of technology without losing our humanity.