As you know, we are currently going through unprecedented global health and crisis, which affects all aspects of our daily and professional life. The coronavirus is hitting the economy head-on, but to varying degrees depending on the sector, working methods, production or supply. What about e-commerce? How to limit the impact of the coronavirus on your business?
For the world of entrepreneurship, it’s a real tornado. It suddenly split into two: sectors that require human contact (events, tourism, local trade, catering, etc.) and others.
If e-commerce is part of the second category, the sector is not spared. We already updated the consequences of the virus on dropshipping a few days ago.
But we have not yet talked enough about what you can do during this time of confinement, which we prefer to see as a step back on business which can be very beneficial.
Do you already manage an online store? Thinking of opening a dropshipping business? In both cases, you probably have many questions that we will try to answer.
If caution is necessary in the face of the Coronavirus crisis, it is always wise to take advantage of this confinement to optimize your current or future business. Here are 7 actions to take to be in the starting blocks of the post-crisis that you can find in this video.
Coronavirus impact on e-commerce?
As you will understand in detail thanks to our YouTube video on the subject, the coronavirus causes multiple disruptions in the e-commerce sector.
In the dropshipping , many suppliers are located in China. While the country is slowly recovering from the epidemic that hit it first, many factories are still closed or operating at a slower pace.
But this problem does not only concern dropshipping since many e-businesses are supplied in China.
In addition, many countries are gradually moving into containment, which causes the total or partial closure of factories and workshops around the world.
The Coronavirus has therefore been able to cause production slowdowns or even stock-outs.
Deliveries are maintained, but slowed down and are subject to more or less strict hygiene rules. If the various measures taken to protect local and international populations do not directly relate to trade, it is certain that they contribute to slowing them down. The reduction of personnel, the multiplication of sanitary controls, new hygiene measures, but also the reduction of commercial flights which regularly transport goods … all this contributes to an overall slowdown in logistics activities and therefore influences your delivery times.
The purchasing power
Compared to local commerce, e-commerce is obviously preferred. Online stores do not experience open-ended closings and consumers are confined to their homes, with little leisure and much more free time.
But many also have less money. Partial or total unemployment strikes a good part of the population, who will have to watch their spending for some time. Fear of the future can also cause people to limit their purchases.
How to Manage a Business Successfully During the Coronavirus Crisis?
If this finding may seem very dark, do not panic, all is not lost, far from it. Did you know that the first quality of a talented entrepreneur is the sense of adaptation?
So you just have to adapt to this exceptional (and temporary) situation. This situation gives you time. What are you going to do with it? Here are our tips.
1. Prepare yourself psychologically (and stay positive)
The first tip for managing your business well during the coronavirus crisis is very simple: be prepared. It may seem obvious, but human psychology is rarely comfortable with brutal and potentially traumatic events, it is better to emphasize this. Being prepared simply means that you have to take the full measure of the situation to react to it the best.
The situation is serious, real and has its share of consequences. But note also that this situation is temporary and that there are solutions for each consequence. In other words: don’t go ostrich and anticipate problems.
2. Manage your customer service
The first thing to do in this new situation is to take care of your current customers. You must be transparent and inform them of the situation. Review recent orders and verify that all packages have arrived.
If this is not the case for some, ask about the status of the packages. Are they stuck somewhere? Have they left the warehouse? If packages are in France, you can at least warn your customers that they will be delivered late. Difficult to know to what extent, but the packages are already gone anyway, the easiest for everyone will be to wait.
If the packages have not left, it is better to offer your customers a refund or a voucher directly. Indicate the details of the situation. Customers will appreciate your transparency as well as being offered an alternative, which they will not systematically take.
For future orders, post a message on your online store to prevent potential delivery delays. You can for example place a banner just under the main menu of your site. Another possible strategy would be to post the message on the shopping cart page. In any case, do not limit yourself to the home page, as many of your visitors will probably arrive directly on your product pages.
3. Assimilate new skills
This advice especially applies to those of you who were about to open an online store. To be perfectly honest, if you have no experience in e-commerce, this period of challenges may not be the best time to start. There are too many uncertainties, too many variable parameters for someone really new.
However, this is the perfect time to learn and train. To help you, we offer free access to our Oberlo 101 training until April 17 . It is a complete eCommerce training, which will allow you to open an online store and develop a profitable business. Usually, this training costs around 50 dollars, but we want to support entrepreneurs in this complicated period by sharing our content for free. You just need to enter the code LEARN FROM HOME at the time of payment to take advantage of it.
Once you have the basics of e-commerce, don’t worry, there are still plenty of essential topics to tackle to get your business off the ground. Our blog also offers many resources to deepen certain subjects.
You can, for example, validate your business idea by doing a market study and carrying out a business plan or by being inspired by the success of other drop shippers.
Also take the time to study branding, think about your brand image, find a domain name, create a logo and think about the design and colors of your future online store.
Finally, learn about advertising and the different ways to find customers, develop traffic on your site and learn how to find the right suppliers.
4. Develop your social networks
Precisely, among the most obvious (and free) sales channels, social networks are very important. But organic, that is to say natural, growth of your community on the networks is slow and very time-consuming. Confinement is therefore the ideal period to devote yourself fully to it.
We have already written several articles on social media management for business. Start by choosing or confirming the ones that are most interesting to you. If you have had accounts on the networks for some time, this will be an opportunity to check their performance so far. How? ‘Or’ What ? Of course, the number of subscribers counts, but not only. We have to monitor the engagement rate.
Define a strategy based on your target if it is not already done and take advantage of the time you have to create more quality content and post regularly.
5. Create email campaigns
Since the coronavirus crisis prevents you from processing orders, it is a question of finding a way to compensate as much as possible for the loss of profit, while preparing for a most effective restart once the crisis has passed.
Marketing automation can really help you accomplish these goals. Marketing automation brings together a set of techniques and tools that allow you to automate a certain number of events linked to your online store. These are not events per se, but actions. For example, clicking a button or watching a video are events.
Automation tools work on the basis of the data that these tools collect on your site or your social networks. Among the automation techniques, email campaigns are quite effective. This involves sending different marketing messages to your customers or contacts, depending on their level in the purchasing journey, to encourage them to take this or that initiative.
A classic example is the reminder email to a customer who has abandoned his basket. You can take advantage of this unprecedented free time to identify the different stages of your purchasing journey and think about the most appropriate messages. We have also already assembled a list of powerful tools to carry out free emailing campaigns .
6. Create a blog and optimize your site
Many dropshippers open their online store, advertise and stop there. It’s a shame, because there are other ways to develop your business for free.
Indeed, it is not only advertising to increase traffic on your site. Content is also very important for search engines. The more relevant and interesting your site offers, the more it is likely to be well referenced on search engines. Relevant means in relation to your content.
So you can start a blog related to your industry. For example, on the different benefits of yoga if you sell yoga mattresses, or even on a healthier lifestyle in general.
Post articles regularly, linked to other pages of your site, but also to external content, for example when you cite sources. Beyond the interest of referencing, you thus bring value to your customers and share a tone, a universe, which allows them to become attached to your brand.
Finally, a good SEO also implies the respect of certain technical constraints which it is important to know. Do your research to see what you can change on your site and thus optimize your SEO. It can be your titles, your product descriptions, or the tree structure. Be aware that if you opt for a turnkey online store, like those offered by Shopify, you will benefit from a site already optimized for SEO.
7. Save money
If you are currently a dropshipper or simply an e-merchant, you have probably already asked yourself this question: should I continue to advertise on Facebook or elsewhere? Without wanting to discourage you, it is important to remember that it is currently risky. Risky in the sense that the chances of a return on investment are rather low, in any case limited.
Confirmed dropshippers who are close enough to their suppliers to request daily updates can do so. For others, it is better to take a break.
This will not stop you from making sales and you will be able to focus fully on other free marketing strategies to get new customers.
Take the opportunity to learn more about the subject if you do not know it or to think about impactful campaigns that you will set up once the crisis is over.
It may also be a time to set aside money to build an advertising budget. Rather than stressing about squandering your savings, plan a dedicated budget. To do this, you can use our ideas to make money on the Internet or work from home. We have also published a list of sites on which you will find freelance missions.
Dropshippers or e-traders, do you have other ideas for managing a business well during the Coronavirus crisis? Tell us in the comments.