How To Run an E-Commerce Business During The Covid-19 Pandemic


The Covid-19 pandemic has caused plenty of stress and frustration; these emotions provide positive opportunities for online businesses. If you are taking your first steps in e-commerce, this isn’t the wrong time. And you will be in a much better position to capitalize on future changes.

As unfortunate as the current situation is, similar events have happened in the past. Such global situations almost always lead to major shifts in both society and economy. The few that were able to predict current developments have continued to manage successful businesses.

You can keep ahead by following the tips below and implementing additional resources like .

1.  Make Deliveries Simple

Deliveries have become mandatory thanks to forced lockdowns and across-border quarantines all over the world. If your area is still experiencing this, or if your current local or national situation might change, you need to make sure you can get your products quickly, cheaply, and safely to people’s doorsteps.

Companies like Amazon are dominating the retail sector. The only way you can compete is through reaching a large audience and beating these large-scale businesses on price and customer service. If you can’t do that, focus on the artisanal market. Think furniture, cosmetics, food, clothes, and things to brighten the home or entertain its residents during lockdown.

There is a huge market for handmade, healthy, beautiful, or delicious items. If these items are in the customer’s immediate area or can be delivered quickly, it’s easier to purchase them. You can be their chosen supplier.

For some products you might need to register as an essential service provider. Do your research and be sure to comply with local and national regulations. Make sure you add any certifications or safety information to your website.

If your business can’t provide a delivery service, research reliable companies that are prepared to deliver your products to customers for a reasonable fee. The more customers you can supply, the lower the fee; if a delivery service doesn’t offer reduced rates, negotiate. After all, you’re offering them a service, too.

Bear in mind that some delivery operations will specialize in certain weights, products, and/or sizes. Some focus on food while others deliver furniture. A delivery service might include installations or assembly as part of the package. If you need to, use more than one service to ensure streamlined deliveries that make your customers come back for more.

2.  Are You Essential?

If your business is recognized as an essential service – even if this doesn’t seem necessary right now – you can increase business security, expand your business, and create jobs by providing door to door deliveries.

Look at your business and figure out if you have a product that you can supply as an essential item to tide you over should another lockdown situation begin. Very few of us were prepared for covid. Being ready for another worst case scenario could spell the difference between positive and negative turnover.

What counts as essential can be subjective. However, they encompass the following categories:

  • Food
  • Medicine
  • Protective equipment
  • Daily essentials
  • Assistive products

Decide on a range of products that come under these headings that match the scope of your brand. If your (struggling) business designs interiors for large wedding parties, add small-scale wedding, birthday, and other anniversary menus to your repertoire. This is not the time to specialize in a single product. Unless that product is a covid vaccine.

For most of us, selling pharmaceuticals is not an option. However, products such as herbal teas, supplements, and weight loss products can be categorized as foods or daily essentials. As being overweight has been proven to increase susceptibility to the worst symptoms of covid, proven weight-loss products are essential.

Daily essentials are most commonly thought to be things like shampoo, washing powder, and – everybody’s favorite – toilet paper. This is where you can compete with Amazon, especially when you sell homemade daily essentials. And as the ‘buy local’ mentality continues to grow, partnering with local small-scale manufacturers is definitely something to add to your website, your blog, and your social media profile. Think homemade soap and shampoo, conditioners, moisturizers, lotion, scented candles, massage oils, and reed diffusers.

Assistive products are much more niche; you would be providing products that increase the range of daily activities of the elderly, the sick, the less mobile, and those that have undergone surgery. Assistive products range from wheelchairs to crutches, muscle tape to support stockings, and non-slip bowls to hearing aids. Do any assistive products suit your business?

Offering protective equipment is a good move. Even recent startups selling humorous or decorated face masks have seen incredible profits. And protective equipment can fit into any catalogue. Furniture companies can supply disinfectant wipes that don’t damage wood; you could design a range of shopping bags with wipeable handles. Anything and everything can be made more virus-proof.

Essential item(s) added to your catalogue will at minimum tide you over, more likely bring in even more clients…until things become normal again.

Will they ever be normal? While we will eventually find a way through the current crisis, the new habits we have picked up will stay with us. Just a few months ago, a person walking along the street in a mask would have caused heads to turn. Even if covid does disappear or if we find a vaccine, humanity as a whole has learned a new set of habits. You will have plenty of time to get rid of any excess essential stock long after this pandemic has ended.

3.  Diversify Sources and Platforms

Many people assume that when you enter the e-commerce market you need your own website to sell on. That’s e-commerce 101. However, this is just one channel on which you can trade. If you haven’t started looking at other options, it’s time you did. And don’t just sign up for the obvious choices. A lot of businesses aren’t aware of other popular platforms.

For example, did you know that you can make direct sales via your social media profile? Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, and even Skype?! And these are just a few of the e-commerce-friendly social networks out there.

You can also sell on sites like Etsy, where the focus is more on the hand-crafted market. Etsy advertising isn’t the simplest process – getting your product to the top of the Etsy search engine page needs as much marketing expertise as Google.

If you’re not a marketing guru, try the pioneers of Etsy algorithm success – They can guarantee your name (and products) in Etsy lights, helping you to make the most out of this huge, continuously on-trend marketplace.

Wherever you choose to sell, keep your options, and your eyes open. What didn’t work for you before covid might be the ideal platform after you integrate your former business with a top delivery service and/or a great range of essential products.

The reason you see top brands everywhere is because they advertise everywhere. Never stop looking for alternative channels, partners, and products; if the ones you already have work, keep adding to them – without compromising on quality.

So when it comes to e-commerce in the age of covid, the buzz word is expansion. Expansion, diversification, and broadening your outreach. Bringing products to doorsteps and giving businesses on your doorstep the opportunity to partner with you.

Covid has increased our creativity. Staying at home has given us the time to come up with new ideas. The pandemic certainly hasn’t stopped new businesses from getting off the ground. In fact, you’re trading against rising competition.

And when new local businesses open, make sure you know about them. This is the perfect year to work together with multiple small enterprises. Give them a helping hand and take advantage of the move toward supporting local entrepreneurs. Share marketing and advertising costs, link to each other’s websites, and search for opportunities together. Your assistance will be appreciated not just by your new partners but by your community.

Covid will (and has) changed us. But it hasn’t defeated us. And it doesn’t need to affect your business – unless you sit back and let it.

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