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The Impact of COVID-19 on eCommerce Businesses

The Impact of COVID-19 on eCommerce Businesses

What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

 

COVID-19 is a pandemic that changed the way the world works! Just like every other industry, eCommerce websites are also hard hit by this pandemic. More and more companies are finding it difficult to fulfill their orders. 

In fact, it is very difficult for budding eCommerce ventures to complete orders, and ship on time. Indeed, the pandemic has had a severe impact. The direct impact on economies is around a billion USD. And, the impact of Coronavirus on eCommerce business has seen an overall drop in the consumer by 40 to 50 percent.

 

Impact on eCommerce Industry

Notable changes caused by the pandemic would be as follows:

  1. The total eCommerce sales by industry percentage have dropped significantly. More and more consumers are keen on buying only essentials and medical supplies. This means eCommerce industries that focus on non-essentials are going to see a sharp drop in sales demand.
  2. The revenue pattern will change for businesses. It is likely to increase in some domains like medicines. And, the rest will see a drop. And the increase was seen as high as 87.38%.
  3. As mentioned previously, a drop of 40 to 50 percent is seen in how consumers spend. This means, less money will be invested in eCommerce platforms. Yet, the revenue seen from essentials can be as high as 46.85%.
  4. ROAS changes are inevitable. Businesses need to find a way of promoting their products, at a reduced number of clicks per ad. With smart changes, ROAS can increase by at least 27.1%.
  5. CPC is also going to change with COVID-19. The most recent percentage of CPC is as high as 17.95%.

Best eCommerce marketing ideas during COVID-19

 

1. Use Pay per click or Paid Ads

 

 

1.1. Google Shopping ads

The talk about eCommerce businesses will be incomplete without Google Shopping Ads. This is one of the most effective ways of getting more traffic towards your website. With the help of shopping ads, you will be able to showcase your products and services to customers who truly matter. This means you can take advantage of organic search results that are free.

When you wish to host a product launch during tough times like COVID-19, you need to make use of Google Shopping Ads. The tool will bring the traffic you demand into your site. The use of Google Shopping Ads is absolutely free. And, all that you need would be the right mix of AdWords, a Google Merchant Center account, and an active campaign.

1.2. Retargeting Ads

Many times, businesses tend to forget about their existing customers. They strongly believe that existing customers would keep returning to their business. However, this is not how the world works. You need to give them a reason to return to your business. 

And, this is where retargeting ads become useful. These advertisements can attract customers with coupons, deals, and much more. In fact, you need to treat retargeting advertisements as a mode of promotion. It needs to be filled with useful content. When you build these ads, bear in mind that 80 percent of your revenue will be generated from existing customers.

2. Use Content marketing

2.1. Video content

Why? More than 80 percent of businesses rely on video. More than 80 percent have seen positive results.

Using text alone on your website is the wrong decision. It will not increase the fame and reach of your site. It is crucial to integrate video content into your eCommerce website. These videos should be of some meaning. 

It should give details that are missed by traditional images and text content. Video content helps in showing what your products are really capable of. The nearest you can get to customers is through videos that focus on the look and feel of products.

2.2. Blog posts

The talk about eCommerce promotion will be incomplete without blogs. Blogs play an integral role in search engine optimization. Much of the online searches are based on the content you introduce in your blogs. This means you have to be very careful with what you write. 

Ensure that you focus on the quality of your blogs. Also, don’t try to overload your customers with information. Stick to a predefined word count. In case you choose to write 5000 words, make every line in your content interesting.

2.3. Interactive content

Why? Interactive content can boost the number of times viewers spend on your site by 47%.

Content in your eCommerce website should be extremely interactive. You should allow your customers to pick, hold, turn, and even try products. These may not be achievable in an eCommerce site. But, you can always offer them the next best option. 

Interactive content is all about allowing customers to choose the brand, content, and product. The content you focus on doesn’t have to be extremely complicated. Instead, you need to get into the heart of the reason why consumers admire your brand.

 

3. Create unique unboxing experience

3.1. Coupon codes inside the box

Why? More than 80 percent of your profits will come from 20 percent of your existing customers.

When you ship a product to one of your existing customers, you need to be very cautious about what you send. The entire boxing community has to speak about your brand. It should not be plain, and boring. This will increase the chances of your customers walking away, and never return. 

The use of branding in your shipped products is often underestimated. In fact, many businesses are unaware of this. So, take a look at Amazon, and try to understand why they have their logo printed all over the printed package.

3.2. Unboxing experience

Why? More than 60 percent of viewers who want to buy from your focus on a divine unboxing experience.

Have you ever gone through YouTube? If yes, you will find a dozen videos that focus on how to unbox a product. These videos show the importance of creating a wave of excitement amongst consumers about your product. Many brands choose to invest on influencers who can teach customers about unboxing your products. 

Unboxing is not a goal. Instead, it is a bond customers choose to create with your products. A very good example would be Birchbox. This is a marketing firm that spread the news about how great unboxing can be.

 

4. Use email marketing

4.1. New customer email flows

The moment a customer chooses to buy from your brand, don’t neglect them! Instead, greet them with a stunning email that is customized with their name and preference. When compared to multi-email flows, single emails are extremely useful and engaging. 

This is one of the finest ways to engage new customers. Many times, companies greet new signups with goodies and coupons. With the help of signup emails, you can encourage customers to take a tour of your website.

4.2. Browsing follow-up flows

Did someone just enter into your site and engage in window-shopping? Well, now would be the best time to use their email address. Many times, customers forget about websites due to “unseen” reasons. They could have shifted their device. Or, they may have got busy. 

It is important to remind these customers about your brand. And, the best way to do this is by sending follow-up emails. Online users need to be reminded. They are busy birds with a completely different agenda.

Example site: Forever 21 is a good example to understand how to follow up emails should be.

4.3. Abandoned cart emails

Why? Abandoned carts around the world sum up to 75 trillion USD every year!

The biggest and most evident hole in eCommerce websites would be the abandoned carts. Many businesses fail to understand how and why customers choose to abandon carts. The process becomes much more miserable when a product at checkout gets abandoned. This means you need to retarget these consumers. 

And, the best way to achieve this is by sending emails. When the abandoned cart emails are used properly, you can regain as much as 60 percent of your lost revenue. The primary reason behind this is because 45 percent of these emails are opened, 20 percent results in site visits, and 10 percent becomes a successful buy.

4.4. Targeted offers

The next biggest thing in eCommerce stores would be targeted offers. Try to imagine this: You sent coupons for colorful hats, to a man who is not interested in hats, but shoes! Your targeted offer goes in vain. 

This is why you need to be aware of what your targeted customers are truly interested in. Advanced and well-established websites have a way of targeting as precisely as possible. These brands understand that without targeting, you will not be able to drive ROI.

Example: A great tool for sending targeted offers would be Moosend.

 

5. Improve your On-site marketing

5.1. Sign-up forms

If you focus on eCommerce websites, you will find hundreds of forms that are designed to appear well on desktop devices. In fact, these forms work with customs enforcements and IRS to destroy your overall online experience. How much are you aware of your customers? Typing into forms can be extremely tiring. 

You need to remember that filling forms in mobile devices can be more difficult than the desktop version. This is because the phone screens are small. Thus, the forms you build should have features like autofill. To be more precise, the need to fill such fields should be removed in the first place.

5.2. Products pages

5.2.1. Content Copy

The content on your product page should address the main interests and needs of your target audiences. You should fill content that speaks their actual language. Try to avoid terms that are relevant to Generation Y. 

Always ensure that the content is crisp and clear. When you build content for a store, don’t try to be too clever. Instead, help your customers understand what you have for them.

5.2.2. Product images

Just like content, the images on your website have to be plain and straightforward. You don’t have to make them exciting. This is because potential buyers are aiming to learn something more about your brand from the image.

Example: You should scan through the UK tool center ltd to understand more about images, and how they should be presented. With every image, you will find a perfect button, description, detailed savings section, and thumbnails.

5.2.3. Product Videos

Product videos are quite important for any marketing strategy. A good video can describe many fascinating things about your product. To begin with, you need to give a brief introduction to your site, and the products you sell. Ensure that the video doesn’t consist of an autoplay option. 

The autoplay functionality doesn’t blend well with the rules of user experience. At any cost, your videos have to be easy to find on the website, and extremely short. Never force a user to watch the video.

Example: The DeWalt site has all the information you need for product videos!

 

6. Selling Through Social Media

6.1. Instagram

In order to sell products on Instagram, you need to cultivate the habit of posting accurate facts and up to date pictures of your business. To enjoy an edge in the industry, try to give a brief insight on how the product was created in the first place. 

And, help customers understand more about the product. The online market deprives customers of the freedom to look, feel, and touch products. Try to cover these aspects by showing products, and their variants.

6.2. Facebook

In order to sell products using Facebook, you need to make use of the Facebook Store. Or you need to design an eCommerce website and link the landing page to your Facebook Store page. 

The Facebook Store serves as an inventory that carries details about your products. And, when a customer chooses to buy from this store, they will be redirected to a payments page. Doesn’t this sound like basic selling?

6.3. YouTube

Why? More than five billion videos are enjoyed on a daily basis from YouTube.

The effort required for using YouTube for selling products is quite similar to Video Marketing. And, eCommerce marketing during COVID-19 needs to leverage this platform. Here, you need to introduce advertisements for your products and services. 

These videos need to be presented in the shoppable form. That means the user should be redirected to an appropriate page when they click on the products.

 

7. Market Your Business Beyond Geographic Boundaries

Why? More than 70 percent of online customers are willing to share details about their location, with the hope that coupons and loyalty rewards will be given.

When you wish to build targeted and customized marketing campaigns, geography plays a very crucial role. With the help of Geo-targeting, it becomes easier for businesses to deliver relevant content to their consumers. Whether it is the internet or a mobile device – the geographic information is required to prevent wrong content being shared with consumers. 

Geography is never limited to the state or city you live in. In fact, this kind of marketing goes beyond normal means. It is much deeper and loaded with traits like a customer’s true interest and needs. eCommerce marketing during COVID-19 needs to make use of geo-targeting. Mainly because it can increase your chances of doing some business in certain regions, over the rest.

8. Highlight Product Reviews

Why? More than 80 percent of customers believe in online reviews.

Just like a personal recommendation, customers strongly believe in online ratings and reviews. You will be astonished to hear that more than 60 percent of consumers read at least six reviews before buying a product. And, 80 percent of consumers tend to look for products with four or more star ratings. 

A positive review can change the impression a customer has on your brand. This is why you need to focus on accumulating as many reviews as possible.

Example: Take a good look at websites like Amazon. Some products have thousands of reviews. These products will certainly have an edge in the market.

9. Optimize for voice search

Do you remember the time Siri was launched? When this voice functionality was launched for the first, many heads turned, and eyes popped. Indeed, this was the epitome of technology in the year 2011. Today, voice search has grown by leaps and bounds. It is one of the most advanced ways of hunting for information on the internet. 

With so many voice-activated solutions in the market, you need to ensure that your website is optimized for voice search. To make use of voice search, you need to engage in a thorough keyword study. Customers will speak and type in a different way. 

This means you cannot stick to the rules of typing during a voice search. Always brainstorm to understand how and what your customers will “say” for finding “specific” products.

10. UGC and influencer marketing

Why? More than 60 percent of the internet’s sincere buyers consider UGC as an authentic form of marketing.

 

User-generated content is a priceless marketing method. It is loaded with benefits. One, user-generated content (UGC) serves as social proof for your brand. Many times, consumers will be tempted to invest in products that are used by celebrities. This is the way our mind works. 

They regard what people have for celebrities can be leveraged. This is why you need to consider promoting your eCommerce store, and its products with a reputed influencer. When you engage in this practice, you will be able to attract more target audiences.  On the other hand, this is one of the most reliable and efficient ways of saving the money and time you invest in creating quality content.

Conclusion

Undeniably, COVID-19 has caused much change to the way eCommerce stores function. The future is going to be even more different. But, by following and testing the methods described in this post, you will be able to flaunt your products and enjoy better sales. eCommerce marketing during COVID-19 should be much more streamlined. So, keep trying these strategies to overcome the impact of Coronavirus on eCommerce businesses and enjoy a better ROI.

Gaurav Agarwal

<p>Gaurav is the most powerful Digital Marketing Consultant in the world serving SMEs and Fortune 500 companies across the globe, he has been the founder of 4 companies and has experience in E-commerce, Finance & Real Estate. Some of the companies he has worked with are WALMART, KIPCO, DHL, TATEOSSIAN, ROLLS ROYCE, OGILVY</p>