2020 has proven itself to be a challenging year for business owners everywhere. From falling revenues to the shutdown of entire industries, entrepreneurs have been forced to radically alter their business models.
Despite all of this, the e-commerce sector has remained robust and has even flourished in some areas. For example, online shopping giant Amazon posted record sales in 2020 in the midst of a global lockdown that left millions stuck at home.
Amazon aren’t the only ones who have enjoyed immense success as a result of the COVID crisis. Businesses operating in the essential goods and services sector have flourished with many enjoying huge successes after turning to e-commerce.
The sheer convenience offered by the internet has made it possible for consumers to purchase anything and everything they need right from the comfort for their own homes.
COVID has made for a perfect storm that has revealed the weaknesses inherent with most brick and mortar businesses – the lack of an online presence. Hence if you’re a business owner looking to stay relevant or trying to get your enterprise off the ground, here’s everything you need to know about taking the e-commerce route.
1. Understand Your Business
When the COVID pandemic hit, customer-facing businesses such as those in the service and tourism sector were hit hard. Restaurants were left empty, stores became ghost towns, and hotel reservations dried up overnight.
Entrepreneurs looking to take their business online will first need to look into the nature of their businesses. For example, while food and beverage manufacturers were allowed to continue operating in the midst of the crisis, most of their customer-base dried up overnight.
In response, many turned towards e-commerce as a means of staying afloat. Rather than wholesale business, the trend turned towards direct-to-door deliveries and smaller sized orders.
Stuck at home, customers were forced to prepare their own meals which resulted in a niche that was quickly filled by enterprising f&b manufacturers.
With the threat of COVID far from over and a new outbreak on the horizon, e-commerce is set to play an even larger role in the days to come.
Countries who previously had the virus under control are facing a new wave of outbreaks and with a vaccine far from ready, things are only going to worsen.
2. Ensure a Smooth Customer Experience
Taking your business online and embracing e-commerce can only get you so far. Nonetheless, with hundreds and even thousands of businesses making use of online shopping, the competition can be brutal.
This is where the devil lies in the details. When designing an e-commerce website or app, the customer experience needs to be at the forefront of it all.
Besides additional costs and pricey shipping, a poor customer experience i.e. forced account creation and complicated checkout processes can result in shopping cart abandonment and lost sales for your business.
When preparing your business for e-commerce ensure that customers always have a positive experience when shopping with you. Not only does this guarantee a sale, but it also helps drive repeat business.
Take into consideration the example of how BetAmerica manages their NBA betting page: since online casinos and betting houses had a growth during pandemic, the customer experience was a priority for them too.
3. Communicate With Your Customers
When marketing your business, ensure that the customer knows that direct-to-the-door deliveries are available at their location. With online shopping become the new normal, home deliveries are set to play a much larger part in the days to come.
By making sure that customers are aware of the services offered, you increase your chances of successfully closing a sale. All of which are critical if your business is to remain competitive.
E-commerce is quite likely set to be the future of business. Entrepreneurs who fail to recognize this do so at their own peril.