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Adapting Your e-Commerce Store To CoronaVirus Challenges

Adaptation! The mightiest word amid CoronaVirus ambush! 

Your body is adapting, your lifestyle is adapting, & your spending behaviors are adapting. With everything manifesting into something else— is your eCommerce store adapting to the much-needed changes?

If you haven’t mulled over it yet— you need to— because global brands are already worrying about how the pandemic will affect their eCommerce businesses. 

It’s not the right time for you to surround yourself with ‘positive’ people, but we want to have a few words of positivity— not everything is terrible with Covid-19. 

Despite all the outbreak worries— not everything is bad with Covid-19 because if you happen to own eCommerce— you have a broader audience to target. Here’re the reasons:

  • The boomers are finally learning to surf and shop online.
  • The millennials are consuming more online content than ever.

At least this is what the eCommerce sales trends show. You’d be surprised to know that many eCommerce businesses from different backgrounds have reached the pinnacle of their careers following the virus’s rampant blitzkrieg.

Ecommerce Sales Trends During Coronavirus— May month

Before you take any substantial step for your store— it’s vital that we keep you in-the-know of the essential eCommerce sales trends during CoronaVirus. It will do two things for you:

  • Help you adapt to modern non-Corona-friendly eCommerce setups
  • Capitalize on the slightest of the opportunities

Let’s check year-relover-year page views and increase order count in some of the industries for May month:

  • Toys and Games eCommerce stores saw an increase of page views by 149% and order count by 122%
  • E-commerce stores based on Sporting Goods observed a definite increase in page views by 121% and order count by 169%.
  • Animal and Pet Supplies confronted a sizable lift in page views by 73% and order count by 24%.
  • Services (includes education, financial services, real estate, and travel) were the only sector to receive fewer page views increment by 62% but a massive spike in order count of 216%.
  • Health and Beauty consistently made its place in the top 10 and saw a 92% growth in order count.
  • You’d be surprised to know that Apparel and Accessories stores turned up for good. Pageviews and order count— both shot up by 14% and 54%, respectively. 
  • Food, Beverage, and Tobacco also had a decent spike in order count by 77% and page views by 55%.

 

Generational purchasing style and response to COVID-19

 

  • Gen Z and Millenials

Millennials and Zoomers (Gen Z) have gone gaga over the novel CoronaVirus. They have modified their buying patterns concerning the pandemic.

One of the surveys suggests ’54 % of millennials and 49% of gen-Z feel that the corona pandemic has changed their buying behavior.’ Furthermore, the younger generations are far being impacted in deciding where and how they shop.

They are more concerned than any other generation, and it’s noticeable through their less spending, savings, hoarding requisites, and spending less on new experiences.

  • Gen X and Boomers.

Gen X and boomers seem to have more of an existential approach to the coronavirus. They feel that the outbreak has impacted their buying decisions; however, they are less concerned than millennials and gen Z.

Only 33 percent of Baby Boomers & 42 percent of Gen X consider the threat of CoronaVirus and its impact on their shopping decisions. Moreover, only 12% of boomers are stocking more products in anticipation of the dissemination of the virus.

The good part is— they’re getting out of their comfort shells breaking their orthodoxy and learning online skills to keep pace with eCommerce purchases.

Impact of Coronavirus on Ecommerce Stores 

While Corona has forced eCommerce brands to think of new ways to manage their businesses— companies, at least, have the advantage of targeting more people who spend most of their time on computers and mobiles.

The idea falls flat on its chin with conventional businesses. With the overwhelming amount of information on Corona and its impact on businesses, we have brought some crucial details regarding the same.

 

#1 Change in Shopping Behaviors

As lockdown goes on & off in many places and social distancing becomes a new anthem among people for controlling the spread of the CoronaVirus— the brick and mortar businesses face the worst recessional wrath in decades

The fact automatically projects eCommerce to have a distinct benefit over the traditional businesses. However, the reality is something else except some industries that have taken a visible uptick. 

Is our projection a hyperbole? Probably yes! For most of the industries. Well, the sales of the majority of the eCommerce streams have gone down, and the online market has gone quite volatile. 

Having said that— people are also avoiding the higher risk of infection in-stores. The lack of on-the-counter inventory is also compelling for people to go for online retails. Here’re some behavioral stats from the same online survey:

  • 30 of 100 respondents said that they are not shopping frequently in-store. And they wouldn’t like to shop either.
  • 21 in every 100 respondents said that they are shopping more through online eCommerce.
  • 29% of respondents are preferring ‘buy online, pick-in store’ service.

#2 Ecommerce delivery and supply chain concerns

CoronaVirus has tested the biggest of the biggest brands delivery and supply chain services. As customers grow impatient with a lack of overall supply— the brands are scrambling to put their supply-chain in line.

Some stores are forced to halt their supply chains to protect all the workers. With Corona plaguing the eCommerce stores by disrupting the delivery chain— customers are facing delivery delays.

non-Delivery report (NDR) and return-to-origin (RTO) have been at their highest forms in the past few months. RTO is the non-delivery of the package to the customer that returns to the seller.

 

#3 Rise of purchasing groceries online

To keep safe from the threats of over-the-counter shopping— people have moved their basic-necessity purchase habits to online groceries and ration stores.

The lack of supplies on the shelves & long queues has also made customers pick online groceries to fulfill the needs. One of the stats from Rakuten Intelligence shows a drastic peak in full assortment grocery eCommerce compared to the rest of eCommerce.

Downloads of grocery apps like Walmart and Instacart have gone up by 160% and 218%. Despite the supply chain regulation in most other eCommerce by the authorities, online grocery stores enjoy the luxury of free-hands, which has opened the doors of opportunities for many on-demand app start-ups.

 

#4 Increase in coronavirus-related eCommerce stores

While people joke that ‘CoronaVirus will kill capitalism,’ the capitalists have come up with CoronaVirus-related eCommerce stores. It’s funny at so many levels— but these stores are serving what you exactly need to prevent the spread of the virus.

E-Commerce consumers’ sales have spiked in some of these vertices— essential medicals by 430%, cleanliness products (home and self) by 200%, and health and wellness products by 75%. 

The revenue sales of everyday stockpile items like masks, hand sanitizers, gloves, toiletries, and disinfectants have bloated massively. That’s pushing many existing eCommerce businesses to streamline these products in their stores.

Furthermore, eCommerce development builders like WooCommerce, Shopify, and BigCommerce have minimized entry barriers to sell the products online. They have changed several modules for non-tech individuals to set up their stores conveniently. 

Ecommerce + Coronavirus: Adapting Your Store

Now that you know the tidbits of customers and their interactions with eCommerce amid CoronaVirus— we will cover how you can grow business amid CoronaVirus. So, without further ado— let’s check our response to Covid-19. 

#Step 1: Make your customers trust your hygiene practice

There’s a saying ‘the only person you can trust in a pandemic is you.’ Your customers take the quote quite seriously! You have to convince them that ordering from your store is safe, and your products are Corona free.

Brands are promoting their rampant war on CoronaVirus by spreading their words through emails and online content marketing. Some are giving a little sneak peek of their store and reciting how new measures will prevent the contamination in the shipping process.

You can explain to your potential customers that in-transit goods and packages are at low risk of virus contact. Also, try to make them understand that the compulsive wiping culture of all items by the concerned delivery person will minimize the risk of transmission.

 

#Step 2: Open up new ways to interact with customers

With average order count going up and uncertain lockdowns and quarantines lingering over the neck— you need to have new ways to interact with customers and assist them with an order or return support. 

To manage service request volumes with all your call-centers and assistance offices shut can leave the customers unserved and frustrated.

This is where you need to beef up and strengthen all the content and product material on the website and give your users a personalized chat functionality. 

You can also adopt smarter ways to reduce the burden on your support staff and cut down your resources. By flooring a knowledge-base community within your users— let your retained customers resolve other queries.

#Step 3: Put usability over design (until things get normal)

The best you could give to your customers this pandemic is an easy to load platform with a promising on-time delivery service. 

No, they are not looking for eye-catchy designs. They don’t want to invest their time in understanding your creativity. They are already persuaded— you simply have to play with their low-visual expectations. 

Their lazy-peripheral-route thinking is on more than ever, and you should only focus on usability over high-resolution banner homepages and marketing adverts. So, optimize your website’s page speed and make browsing-and-buying a simple experience for them.

#Step 4: Analyse customer needs and personalize based on it

Corona has changed customers’ needs rapidly, and you should be able to see-through these altered requisites to update your store. Interestingly, your customer is the greatest resource. 

You’d like to have these resources at your disposal and analyze them to offer personalized catch-ups in pandemics. Here’s how you can collect some insight through customer’s need: 

  • Start with existing data. Review your past customer surveys and interviews.
  • Create new covid-need surveys and send them over personalized emails.
  • Gather details through on-website surveys and polls.
  • Analyzing cause-and-effect relationships and understanding how Corona is changing their behavior.

Sometimes, your customers give the best solutions to specific eCommerce problems— don’t forget to reward them for their vital input. That’s one more way of conveying your customers that you care about them despite a massive blow to the economy.

 

#Step 5: Shift your focus towards the at-home audience.

The work-from-home model is keeping up businesses, freelancers, and individuals in the competitive race. In fact, they are spending more time working at home than their physical offices. 

This shift has made people look for more severe deliveries than at any point in the history of eCommerce. They have difficult times in purchasing retail necessities such as groceries, rations, and health and hygiene products. 

Use their busy-timings and tiredness into opportunities and cater necessary products that they’d expect you to deliver by the end of the day.

 

#Step 6: Pick new sales channels. Give Omni-buying-experience.

If you were planning to scale-up your sales channel, but couldn’t pass the decision threshold— now is the time. Period. 

 Data consumption has towered up on all the devices, including mobiles, desktops, tablets, and other touchpoints. Covid-19 has also put an unimaginable strain on the world wide web and mobile networks. 

 You can seize the moment by embracing new sales channels and presenting your customers with the Omni-buying experience. Get the early R.O.Is with piercing average order count and page view stats and builds your brand credibility across the slack.

 

#Step 7: Update your product pages continually.

 With much of the coronavirus uncertainty hovering above our heads— make sure that you have realistic promises with your deliverables, and customers have all the necessary information regarding the products.

As the outbreak has disrupted the supply chain, you need better ways to be concise and clear with your stock reporting and product updates on the store. With so much going around— your product may run out of stock any time, some products will garner more attention than others, and some orders might take time for shipping.

 Whatever be the case, try being transparent so that your customers have all the required details about their orders. The good part is— customers have gone more understandable— you merely have to keep them posted.

 

#Step 8: Manage your PPC bidding strategy.

 Again, with more internet consumption, online searches have touched new milestones. These searches can be relevant to your industry.

 It makes sense to go for a new PPC bidding strategy if you haven’t gone for one yet, especially when users search for products and services you are offering.

 Kids have been searching for entertainment services; adults have been searching for skill-set polishing materials. Monitor keywords and topical relevance that revolve around your industry and try adjusting PPC campaigns to convert your targeted audience.

 Yes, you might shed your wallet quite quickly, but you can optimize PPC campaigns by reducing your bid during the low conversion time of the day or the week.

 

#Step 9: Ride on discounts. Customers never say no to exclusive offers.

 CoronaVirus has shot up layoff and unemployment rates, and your customers could be some of the victims of it. It’s the reason why they might go price-sensitive and avoid shopping from your store.

 You want to sound considerate towards them and not add to their misery. By offering personalized discounts and exclusive sales on specific items, you can draw back these shoppers and build a strong customer relationship during such hard times.

 

#Step 10: Hold on to your customers with loyalty programs.

 CoronaVirus has made us smarter— and that includes your existing customers too. They are surfing, searching, & comparing products and services more than ever. They’re more informed, and they have a higher capability of taking centrally-route processed decisions.

 Don’t be surprised if they are searching for your competitors as well! This is why— you need to hold on to your customers with robust, data-driven loyalty programs. By arranging loyalty programs in the midst of a perilous virus outbreak, they will feel valued and feel like clinging with your brand moving forward.

 Most retailers bank on 80% of the future turnover, with 20% of loyal customers (Pareto’s law). That eases up your decision to reward your customers for performing specific actions like signing up a new account or re-engaging the existing ones with order offers.

 

#Step 11: Free or discounts on shipping cost.

 Corona or no Corona— shipping cost is the most significant contributor to cart abandonment— and you have no choice when your competitors are offering free deliveries.

 Managing your shipping prices in the pandemic eruption can get really tough for you, especially when you’re trying to compensate for workforce shortage and cut-down the overhead delivery cost on the product.

 Free or discounted shipping continues to compel customers to complete their purchase journey. It might get tricky depending on the logistics services you’ve chosen; however, make sure that you don’t disappoint your customers on the last page of the sales funnel.

 

#Step 12: Corporate social responsibility and charity

 The underprivileged people have been the worst victims of the Corona breakout. Lockdown and quarantines have made it more difficult for these groups to have access to the necessities.

 You can play bandwagon marketing psychology to catch more eyeballs and earn trust among new and existing customers. Make charity and corporate social responsibility your hilt to reach out to these people and set your brand message straight across the board.

 Declare free masks and sanitizers and let people sneak into your activities on social media. It will create a strong associative-community and build a lasting impression. 

 

#Step 13: Adapting social media strategies

 With the globe being forced into self-isolation— you have plenty of opportunities to target the new virtual world of social media. Apart from endorsing your products, educate your readers about the latest CoronaVirus updates by referencing trusted sources.

 You don’t want to blast your customers with heuristic-implied long-content. Since self-quarantine has also faltered our daily health and fitness schedule— try creating fitness creatives to have engagement with them. 

 Remember, everything is about your tone, relevancy, and timing. And currently, with the air of depression and fear around, you have to sound-like a family figure to your customers.

 

The final words on updating your eCommerce

 No one really knows where we are heading with CoronaVirus lingering over our heads. And no one can claim or warrant proactive measures to update your eCommerce. 

 We need a real-time adaptation of our stores based on new information on the disease’s flaring up— and this could mean updating your store every day. 

 Now is the time to make small changes to your store and wait for the best to return. Make every move strategically. Avoid making radical changes because the market is too volatile. With well-thought planning and strategies— we all can sail through the problem.

6 Best eCommerce Platforms For Small Businesses

ecommerce platfroms logo's and animated characters

The first challenge when you decide to take your business to an eCommerce platform is to decide which ecommerce platform is best for small businesses.

Besides, choosing the best eCommerce platform has become more difficult as new eCommerce platforms are launched regularly in the market, considering the rising needs of the eCommerce market.

While choosing an eCommerce platform for your business, you need to consider many things such as,

  1. Pricing and Payments
  2. Integrations
  3. ecommerce SEO friendliness
  4. Mobile responsiveness
  5. Payment gateways
  6. Customer Service
  7. Scalability
  8. Security

In this article, we have enlisted the 6 Best eCommerce platforms based on their performance, features, ease of use, designs and themes, integration, security, and value for money. Take a look.

 

1. Shopify

Indeed, there are so many great options available when considering the best eCommerce platform; however, Shopify seems to provide the most for the small business that strives to be something more. Such as,

  • Generate the domain name. 
  • Design your company’s logo.
  • Find products to sell through their vendor relationships. 
  • Get product pictures through their free library of stock photos.

Besides, you can even buy an existing online store from Shopify!

However, when choosing a Shopify development company, make sure that they have sufficient development experience in this domain.

Shopify offers a 14-day free trial to its users. Users can begin the free trial without any credit or debit card.


2. WooCommerce

Without a doubt, WooCommerce is the best eCommerce platform for software integration.

A well planned WooCommerce development empowers you to build a robust e-commerce business at a low cost.

WooCommerce is developed on WordPress- A most popular CMS in the world. Just like WordPress, you can use the plug-ins for your eCommerce website in WooCommerce too.

At present, WooCommerce offers nearly 300 official extensions to their users that include the plug-ins for shipping, marketing, payments, and accounting purposes.

WooCommerce also offers a free theme to its users, known as a Storefront. The storefront has several variations that you can utilize for your store, depending on your needs. However, as same as WordPress, Storefront is also customizable and can be customized using code, as and when needed.

 

3. Magento

Magento is the best eCommerce platform for small retail businesses.

Magento is an open-source platform that incorporates several notable features that most other eCommerce platforms don’t offer. These extraordinary features include smooth expansion to multiple locations, sites, and currencies.

From small businesses to large enterprises, Magento helps entrepreneurs and business owners grow online through scalability, adaptability, and analytics.

Besides, Magento also has several relationship partners who help you to create the online store that works seamlessly with your physical store.

Magento offers various types of ecommerce solutions based on customers’ requirements. The two primary packages are 1) Small business level 2) Mid-market & Enterprise level.

In a nutshell, Magento would be the best ecommerce platform for you, if you are planning a long-term business plan that includes expansion to new markets, managing several websites and full integration between your existing systems and your online store.


4. Squarespace

In a nutshell, Squarespace is nothing but a website building platform that simplifies the web design process by allowing you to,

  • Create an ecommerce website without any coding.
  • Customize the website easily using CMS.
  • Develop mobile-friendly and responsive websites.

The most salient feature of Squarespace is responsiveness with every mobile device. It offers the best mobile experience to its users compared to all other eCommerce platforms.

Squarespace’s Responsive Image loader tool produced several copies of different sizes of each image that you upload. The website then loads the most appropriate images to the user by detecting the device being used.

The same level of responsiveness reflects in its layout, graphics, chart, and email as well.

Besides responsiveness, it also offers ecommerce features like,

  • Ability to sell unlimited products.
  • 24/7 support
  • Customer logins
  • SSL certificates

Squarespace does not charge the users for $26 and $40 plans.


5. PrestaShop

If you are good at coding and love to give a personal touch and feel to your website, PrestaShop would be a perfect choice. 

This open-source eCommerce platform is free and has diverse options of free modules to satisfy your eCommerce needs. With the free downloadable version, you’ll have to pay for web hosting, SSL certificate and other modules to develop a complete eCommerce store.

PrestaShop also offers 10 free themes and templates to its users. The user side dashboard looks feature-rich yet straightforward.

To efficiently meet users’ needs, PrestaShop offers a wide range of payment gateways, such as PayPal, Bambora, Amazon Pay, and First Data.

PrestaShop also provides strong support at the marketing front by offering features like Email marketing, Coupon codes, Gift wrapping, Affiliate programs, Free shipping, etc.

 

6. Wix

Wix is an eCommerce platform that lets you sell your products in a smooth possible way. Besides, you can highlight the products with attractive ribbons.

Wix’s latest feature takes care of the entire sales process without any extra charges. Wix has also taken care of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) requirements. In Wix, users can add individual titles, descriptions, and URL-names to each of the products

Wix Online Store mobile app lets you edit and manage the whole ecommerce store via mobile. Also, its ShoutOut Email campaign tool enables the store owners to promote your products directly through the product pages.

In a nutshell, the Wix is a reliable, secure, and scalable solution for small to medium ecommerce businesses.

Other than six best eCommerce Platforms, there are many more ecommerce platforms available in the market which are worth giving a shot, such as BigCommerce, OpenCart, Volusion, Weebly, OSCommerce, and Big Cartel, to name a few.

 

Conclusion:

Choosing the best ecommerce platform that satisfies all your business needs is indeed a tough task. However, you can select the one which meets most of your requirements and is also pocket-friendly.

Besides, you should keep a constant eye on the eCommerce platform trends to better understand these platforms and later to utilize it for your businesses.