While the COVID-19 lockdown has made it clear that we won’t be going back to business as usual anytime soon, businesses have started to find new ways of coping and adjusting to the new normal. With the reality precipitated by continuous COVID-19 lockdowns and workplace adjustments settling in, it’s important to shift away from quick and temporary fixes and focus on stronger and more sustainable approaches to business strategy.
For most businesses that depend on direct sales to generate revenue, here are four strategies to sell more effectively during COVID-19 lockdowns, and possibly even after it.
Strategies to Sell During COVID-19 Lockdown
1. Treat your online store as your biggest retail presence
If you haven’t already created an online store for your business, now is the time. With current COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, it’s important to make yourself more accessible to your customers by providing them with a convenient way to purchase your products online. With the new normal, it’s time to consider your digital extension as your biggest and primary store and not as a side activity of your offline retail presence. This requires dedicated assortment and inventory allocation for your online store, to ensure high product availability, good assortment and avoid reaching out-of-stock status.
By creating a digital storefront for your business, you get the opportunity to amplify your customer reach and sales by tapping all the users online. E-commerce platforms like Shopify and Magento are available to help you create your own online store while e-commerce plugins like WooCommerce can give your sites hosted on WordPress the power to sell and transact with online users. Additionally, building more sales channels means a wider audience who can get to know your product and business. Cast a wider net and maximize marketplace platforms such as Shopee and Lazada that have an ever-growing number of active browsing users.
Taking advantage of the multi-channel opportunity to leverage your full business potential—establishing your business through Marketplaces (General Merchandise), Category Leaders (e.g Fashion, Beauty, Kids), Omni-channel department stores, and your own brand.com, as well as social shopping channels like Instagram (integration of Shopify-Instagram), can all unlock endless opportunities for sales and audience growth. When opting for an omnichannel approach, make sure you have an order management system that supports Multichannel sales from a single stock pool. LOCAD, as a fulfillment partner, provides this for free to make a business’ major transition to online more seamless and efficient.
2. Re-evaluate your offer and products
The pandemic did not only change where consumers shop, but also what they buy. In spite of the fluctuating economic state, COVID-19 lockdowns have triggered new lifestyle shifts which in turn have created new markets and sales opportunities. It’s important to take a step back and re-evaluate what you are going to offer to your customers in consideration of new consumer buying behaviors.
Think: What new and emerging consumer needs can your business address? Determining your offer starts with learning what problems your customers are currently experiencing. Do research on what your customer base and target audience are looking for and check how your offers can adapt to that. Are they buying more healthcare products? Home and lifestyle goods? Work-from-home items? By learning about the new lifestyles and concerns your customers now have, you can start building a new strategy and developing relevant offers.
In order to gain these insights, start inciting more conversations with your customers. Listening to them will enable you to understand what customers want now or are not getting. Integrating those insights can not only help you drive more revenue but also allow you to make more informed and data-driven decisions for new offers and product combinations as well as manufacturing and purchasing operations that can better fit the long-term realities of the pandemic.
3. Amplify digital marketing efforts
With nearly everyone shopping online due to COVID-19 lockdowns, digital marketing can help generate more visibility and awareness of your brand’s new digital presence and store. In a recent survey by Facebook, 83% of respondents discover new products through Instagram while 65% of them revealed they proceeded to visit the brand’s website. It was also found that 54% of respondents purchased an item after seeing it on Instagram.
Recent data and figures illustrate the imminent rise of social shopping and the potential to reach more customers by directing marketing efforts online. While most purchases may not be immediate, digital marketing is part of a larger multi-channel brand journey which leads to deeper engagement levels and lasting customer relationships.
As more and more brands are competing for consumer attention through ads, it’s becoming increasingly harder to set yourself apart. Invest in visual-driven marketing collaterals (e.g. hi-res photos and engaging video content) coupled with powerful copywriting and targeted ad management.
4. Strengthen your fulfillment and shipping
COVID-19 lockdowns have magnified accessibility and immediacy as a consumer’s primary desires. Currently, customers have begun expecting more and more from business—forcing brands to rethink their strategies and reconstruct them to better suit the rising demand not only in terms of speed but also convenience. Customer experience is critical and crafting an excellent one requires a robust and scalable fulfillment infrastructure. Look at fulfillment as an important investment in your online growth, not just as a cost center.
Two of the most important success factors for your online business rely on fulfillment: Timely Delivery to the customer (#1 Customer Satisfaction Driver) and Order Fulfillment Rate. Canceled orders do not just translate into revenue loss and upset customers, but they also affect your catalog ranking on online platforms which could severely hamper your future sales potential.
With more and more customers extending their online shopping to countries beyond their own during COVID-19 lockdowns, businesses are pushed to keep up in terms of both domestic and cross-border shipping. As consumers grow more accustomed to online shopping, users will also eventually tire of the shortcomings of online shopping.
This includes delays in delivery, high shipping fees, and missing packages. Brands and retailers must think of long-term strategies to set themselves apart in a sea of aggressive competitors who offer free or next-day shipping. A way to do that is through automated delivery and shipping. Businesses and entrepreneurs that are new to the digital space do not have the resources or capabilities to build an entire functioning logistics infrastructure themselves so they choose to outsource a fulfillment partner to save on money and time.
Ready to grow your business despite COVID-19 lockdowns? LOCAD is here to help to sell online easier and hassle-free.
LOCAD is a logistics, warehousing, and fulfillment company that aims to empower brands and retailers of all sizes by providing an easy and affordable way to manage your products from picking, packing, and shipping your orders to planning the future of your business. We also provide safe and efficient fulfillment centers to organize your stock, manage your inventory, and ship these at affordable and preferential courier rates. And no, that’s not the best part, you are also able to easily keep track of your products all in the palm of your hand on the LOCAD Control Tower—our exclusive cloud-based software.