The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world in front of our eyes like the plague or “Spanish flu”. Note that this is the first pandemic in the truly technological world. And now we see how Coronavirus accelerates the transition of humankind to new technologies.
Retailers have closed their stores, shifting to online and focusing more on delivery. Online sellers boast of a spike in sales, especially those who sell health, grocery, household, and hobby products. In most of the companies, the coronavirus has made us think about how to protect employees and customers, secure logistics, or provide online sales.
Sure thing, it’s not all that pretty and perfect. Amazon freezes non-essential-product-shipments and some businesses are dealing with lost revenue and disrupted supply chains due to China’s factory shutdowns (and not only in China).
How is Customer Behaviour Changing?
Buying behavior has changed in two directions. First, buyers have sharply increased the share of online shopping and stopped visiting offline stores. Online sales increased by 52% compared to last year. And the number of online shoppers has grown 8.8% since the pandemic began, according to a study by Quantum Metric.
The second area where buyer behavior is changing — the purchase list. According to the RetailX Tracker study, 80% of UK consumers believe that the pandemic will last up to 12 months. It means:
- The sharp increase in demand for health-safety and pharma products will continue for some time.
- Another growth category is grocery, pantry, shelf-stable products.
- Demand is actively used for home appliances because people limit the time spent outside.
- There is a growing need for electronic devices to work remotely.
At the same time, Nielsen Agency has investigated and outlined six key milestones in buying behavior during the pandemic. According to it, online shopping will become a new normal when the pandemic is over. Therefore, the sooner retailers and online sellers get used to the new circumstances, the higher the chances they will faster overcome the effects of the crisis.
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Unfortunately, the pandemic of COVID-19 entailed severe consequences in all business spheres. To inspire you not to give up, we make Sellbery absolutely free from now and till July 1. Register and boost your sales with Sellbery pro bono.
What Should Retailers and Sellers Do?
But if you don’t sell products from the list above? How to behave during the pandemic and what to expect after it? We explored the best practices that online sellers are impending now and communicated with eCommerce experts to gather a list of effective tips.
Provide customers with flexible and free delivery
Offer your customers flexible delivery, for example, a personal delivery pickup or door delivery. The later is even better for keeping couriers and customers safe. The courier just leaves the parcel at the door, and the customer then picks it up at a convenient time.
Also, you can offer free shipment, as did beauty brands: The Detox Market, Urban Outfitters, Free People, and many others. For instance, Sephora closed its stores earlier and now offers a null shipping fee for all orders. Buyers just need to enter promo code at their site to obtain free delivery. Make sure you write about it everywhere! In newsletters, popups and media posts…
If you sell creativity and entertaining products that are quite trending now, provide customers with delivery discounts to keep up with competitors. By the way, extending your return and exchange policy can make buyers feel more willing to purchase from your shop.
«This is the time for brands to get hyper-local when it comes to logistics. Urban distribution centers and local teams are key, as they allow brands to optimize the delivery process and get to customers faster. Brands that can implement technology that enables customers to schedule same-day delivery, see ETA updates in real-time, and communicate directly with couriers, will have a real advantage.» –Dan Eblagon, CMO at Bond – The Post Purchase Company.
Sell on multiple platforms
Retailers are switching to online, massively and quickly. Some of them are just getting used to it, trying to understand the eCommerce rules and best practices. One of the business-saving options for retailers and online sellers is not only creating or managing their web stores but using a multichannel strategy. It’s when you sell on more than one sales channel: marketplaces, social media, eCommerce platforms.
By increasing sales channels, retailers can squeeze the most out of their online presence, covering more potential clients than their websites or advertisement can do. The way to quickly upload your products to new platforms is by using Sellbery, a multichannel listing tool. It will help you increase coverage and profit by trading on Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and promoting your products with Facebook (there are even more sales channels to try).
Trading on multiple platforms also helps you cut ad spendings as utilizing paid advertisement in unsure times is risky. When you enter marketplaces, you reach new audiences without additional ad expenses. Moreover, people there are ready to buy, compared to those from advertisements whom you need to convert from visitors to customers.
To start multichannel selling, you simply need to push your products to new platforms with the help of Sellbery. It has a free Starter plan with 99 SKUs and with no limits in sales channels. In that way, you test a multichannel strategy and then upgrade to a paid version (subscription plans start at 29€ with no additional charges). Well, it’s definitely cheaper than advertising.
«There’s no doubt that retailers should adopt an omnichannel strategy in order to achieve a seamless shopping experience for customers since competition will be tough, especially during these times. So, whether shoppers use their mobile device, computer, or even call the store, it should not miss out on these marketing opportunities. By providing more ways to increase their presence across multiple channels, more customers can find and buy from them.» – Mark Wood, Owner at National Pool Fences.
Keep your customers updated
One way to keep customers is to say that the business is taking all security measures. That’s what the Target network does. Retailer #16 at the top of America switched to omnichannel services, such as “buy online — pick up at the store” and curbside shopping. At the same time, employees every half hour disinfect check lanes and touchscreens in stores and warehouses. So, shoppers will get the confidence they need and will be able to restore their purchases.
If you have an online store, here are some options too to keep customers updated about your measures and actions:
«The best way to maintain sales and operations is to communicate with customers and let them know that you are working on ways to keep things going. Show them how they can keep buying from you such as online ordering, digital meetings, virtual presentations, and pitches, etc. Build trust by being proactively transparent. As trust can fade the panic and spread faster than any virus, it is critical to nurture confidence, reliability, and consistency through any crisis.» – William Taylor, CareerDevelopment Manager at VelvetJobs.
«On your eCommerce website, display a bar to inform customers that certain products are out of stock and expect delayed delivery times.» – David Alexander, Designer, Developer & Digital Marketer at Mazepress.
Integrate a waitlist or pre-sales
Waitlist is a so-called secret sales weapon. It’s a tool that attracts customers as a magnate. On the one hand, it is a psychological trick, that bumps up excitement and desire for the selected product despite all the obstacles.
On the other hand, the waitlist adds the necessary transparency to the business. Buyers stand in line, confident that they will receive the goods, and the seller remembers and will take care of them. It satisfies the information needs, as we love to be informed about everything!
Why you should do it:
- A customer can pre-pay and wait for the actual delivery because the sellers are overwhelmed with orders.
- A seller can get a database of email addresses to fulfill orders in time.
For example, hand sanitizer brand Touchland made a 10 000+ waitlist. Canadian Vernon Superstore waitlist expands quickly. Walmart offers to register an email to get a notification when Walmart Grocery Pickup and Delivery arrives. Also, the retailer has a bar at their site: “We’re working to fulfill as many orders as possible. Check time slot availability before starting your order”.
«One approach a few companies are taking to mitigate the loss of cash-flow is to use a waitlist / pre-selling feature and offer a 10% discount for the inconvenience. By encouraging customers to order products that are not back in stock yet, they are able to ease the current financial burden and ensure they can keep any staff working.» – David Alexander, Designer, Developer & Digital Marketer at Mazepress.
Reduce the number of deliveries
Online shops and delivery services are overwhelmed by the number of orders. Sellers cannot get rid of delays, but at least encourage your customers to buy all they need in one go:
- «Use bundle offers, combining different products or multi-buys with the notion that increasing orders reduce the amount of transmission points (fewer deliveries) and ensures that people have the products they need.
- Promote e-gift vouchers, so it is easy for people to give without transmission points (e-gift vouchers = reduced deliveries).
- Promote gift delivery so that people can order and have the products delivered to friends and family.» – Ruth Douglas, CEO of Imp Ideas
The bad streak is bound to end, and dusk will be followed by a new dawn. As it was during the dot.com crisis, as it happened more than once. Businesses were recovering and moving into new areas. It’s always possible to succeed in the darkest of times when we all ready for out of box thinking. Now our task is to preserve the trust of customers, to be honest, to protect the health of our employees and our families. Using online sales technologies and following practical tips, all we can invent a new type of business improvement.
Here, at Sellbery, we help merchants spend less money during the crisis and get the most out of them. With multichannel selling, you expand brand visibility and cover targeted audiences in a snap. To start doing that, you simply need to:
- Sign up for Sellbery which takes a minute
- Take a quick tour, at the end of which you will have your first channels connected
- Upload your products to Sellbery
- Set up your first export point (your new sales channel) and start selling on it
- Repeat channel setups for other marketplaces and social media platforms
- Hooray! You are on multiple platforms. Congratulations on increasing your profit and keeping your business going! At the lowest cost.
Try Sellbery out by yourself!
Stay at home and sell with Sellbery for FREE!
COVID-19 crisis significantly affects many retailers and online sellers. That’s why Sellbery decided to help businesses and offer our services free of charge through July 1. Get any plan for free and start selling multichannel.