COVID-19: How To Strengthen Your eCommerce Business
EDITOR’S NOTE: This blog was first published on March 25th, 2020. Our team will continue to update as we come out with new data and improvements.
As we come together to abide by the safety measures indicated by government authorities around the world, businesses adapt to the market changes brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic.
As consumers increase their time online and order in, eCommerce businesses are in a unique position. Below is a quick overview of today’s market, the expectations in online activity, and how your business can respond to the current conditions.
New Market Behavior Arrives with COVID-19
GlobalWebIndex, a market research company, surveyed internet users between the ages of 16-64 in the United States (1,628) and the UK (1,509). The agency collected data from March 13th to the 16th to explore the impact of the Coronavirus and draw insights on consumer behavior. Here are some of the insights available on US consumers:
- 38% have reduced or stopped taking public transportation
- 24% have reduced or stopped driving
*Of the 24% who are driving less often 54% are working from home and have stopped attending events altogether
- 22% are buying more items online
- 39% are reading the news online
- 29% are spending time on social media
- 13% are focused on learning
- 12% are ordering take-outs
Unprecedented demand in companies such as Amazon, Walmart, CVS Health, and many others have generated 382,000 job openings so far to meet demand. Learn more about which companies are hiring.
Observations on the Ecommerce Industry
According to a survey by Coresight on March 2nd, 2020, those over the age of 60 were already avoiding malls, and 58% of respondents under 60 were planning to do so if the outbreak worsened.
As COVID-19 continues to spread, time at home is expected to create a significant shift in consumers’ behavior and increase time online. As a response, eCommerce businesses should create informative content/FAQs that address potential concerns. These may include:
- What is the official procedure to avoid contact with deliveries?
- What are your company’s preventive measures?
- How is your company enforcing preventive measures?
- How do you plan to deal with the understock of high-demand products?
- What protocols is your warehouse taking?
Responding to the Online Market
Before you approach your audience, define how you will support them during the coronavirus crisis. Forget your hard sell; focus on helping.
- Update opening hours and changes in shipping options
- Add a chatbox to your website for smoother interactions
- Ensure smooth, frictionless, and fast experiences on your eCommerce website (Remember to revise your mobile version!)
- Provide product and business reviews
- Verify all product details are available for consumers
- If you sell COVID-19 high demand products, limit the number of items each customer can purchase
Revising Your PPC Strategy
- If you are using COVID-19 or Coronavirus related terms, expect 0 volume. Google is suppressing these ads regardless of if they are “approved” in the interface. This applies to keywords, ad copy, and creative
- Use ad extensions. Examples of extensions that you can leverage include: price, promo (free or discounted shipping may be a big boost!), and call extensions
- Focus on your ad copy to inform customers that you are offering free, expedited, or 24/7 shipping as well as any other service that your customers will find valuable
- Create brand awareness campaigns through display ads
- Reallocate your budget based on search volume trends and product sales performance
- Leverage Google Trends to update your negative keyword lists at both account and campaign level
- Use Google My Business and SEO to increase organic results, page presence, and authority with your audience
- Evaluate your location with Bing’s Interactive Map on Coronavirus Cases to advertise on the less affected areas.
Solutions For Your Business
- Google My Business: If your business is not 100% online, this free and easy-to-use tool will help you manage your online presence across the Google platform, including Search and Maps. Update your business information to help buyers find you, share your story with them, and address FAQs through this platform.
- Yext: The Yext Search Experience Cloud allows businesses to control facts available online wherever consumers are searching for them–across search engines, maps, apps, voice assistants, and chatbots.
- Audience Targeting: This feature helps you narrow down probable methods to reach your target audience. As consumers engage online, connect with them by narrowing down interests, behaviors, demographics, and locations through your ads campaigns.
- YouTube Campaigns: As consumers engage on YouTube, video marketing can help you create brand awareness, prompt consideration of your services, and drive traffic to your website.
- Microsoft Advertising: Showcase your business to exclusive audiences and expand your brand with Microsoft Advertising. We are offering a $250 coupon for new accounts who add Microsoft to their marketing mix.
Given the circumstances your customers are facing, aim to communicate the benefits of your products and services. As mentioned above, forget your hard sell; focus on how you can help by providing relevant and up-to-date information. Being present can result in a positive connection with your audience and can come in handy when the markets settle.
Please note that we are constantly updating our blog with industry news as it comes up. Subscribe to our blog to stay up-to-date!