Operating an eCommerce Business in an eCovid19 World

March 26, 2020

In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, marketers are being forced to navigate the highly unchartered landscape that’s impacting communities throughout the globe. Just a few weeks ago, the world as we know it was a far cry from the state we’re confronted with today; one that if we’re being honest, seems to mimic the plot to a post-apocalyptic ‘B movie’ released straight to DVD.

With the previous weeks saturated by uncertainty, the pervading theme is the global economy and concerns shifting from ‘if’ to ‘when’ it might recover. However, amongst the pandemonium and highly justified anxiety, it appears that eCommerce brands may be one of the few industries that have the highest likelihood of coming out unscathed.

You May Not Be Able to Get Outside, But You Can Get on Your Phone

With governments across the globe enforcing strict social distancing mandates, screen time has increased dramatically. One user even shared an alert he received from apple, notifying him of an astounding 185 % increase in time spent on his phone.

So, what does this mean?

Its evidence that the consumer is quite literally in the palm of your hand; which is why now couldn’t be a more opportune time to put your advertisement in theirs. Your customer is bored, scared and they’re starving for someone to offer them even the slightest reminder of life prior to universal captivity. Never before has a market of potential buyers been more available. The challenge isn’t how you’re going to reach them; it’s developing a strategy that’s going to reach inside of them to generate something that inspires and comforts, driving a connection as much as it drives a path to purchase.

The Lipstick Effect: How consumers’ purchases make up to make up for a failing economy…

Frivolously hopping back and forth between social networks, people are escaping through the internet to get their fix. They’re craving interaction, silently depending on brands to offer them reassurance that everything will be ok. If anything, this is a digital imitation of the Lipstick Effect, a theory that stems from the Great Depression, and one that’s consistently appeared throughout every subsequent recession since.

So, what is it?

Despite a deteriorating economy, beauty brands discovered that between the 20th century’s most detrimental years of the economic collapse, their sales actually increased. Albeit confusing at first, they came to the realization that rather than cut out spending altogether, consumers chose to instead purchase less expensive luxury items in an effort to make themselves feel better about the chaos around them.

Throughout each recession, there’s been no shortage of signs demonstrating the power that the Lipstick Effect has on consumers and their spending habits when confronted with economic instability. The only difference now is that rather buy in-store, they’re purchasing their lipstick online…

The Power of Human Connection

Ecommerce brands have a unique opportunity to leverage the impact that C19 has on the human element. Now more than ever, people are displaying an increase in empathy as they demonstrate a desire to support the businesses and people around them. They’re connecting online to connect with each other, sharing posts of noteworthy news that offers a glimpse of positivity in a world immobilized by fear.

This couldn’t be a better time for brands to shift the narrative and highlight their own values, intimately aligning them with the consumer’s sense of preservation for themselves and the people they care about. Demonstrate the power that Covid19 has had in bringing communities together, despite the strict regulations keeping us all apart…

Delivery is Essential

To avoid the risk of being infected, or infecting others, people have been encouraged to shop online. Since the initial severity that called for increased isolation and self-quarantine, customers have deserted their local stores and relied even more on online retailers to complete their shopping.

While they’ve always been essential, delivery drivers are finally being recognized for the integral role they play in the economy and their impact on everyday flow of life. Deemed ‘essential workers’, this is further proof that online shopping shows no sign of slowing down even in a world that has seemed to come to a halt.

The Freedom of Choice

Covid19 has rendered people limited from choice. With strict ‘shelter in place’ laws enforced across the nation, individuals have been stripped of the freedoms they’ve grown so accustomed to.  Even the act of going into work has been prohibited for all non-essential employees, due to irrevocable damage rendered by the invisible virus.  Restricted from seeing friends and family, this post-apocalyptic society that we now live in quite literally depends on eCommerce brands to offer the slightest reprieve from what feels like an eradication of our rights.

This is a unique time for marketers, as it offers brands an opportunity unlike ever before to turn crisis into connection. It’s inevitable that the world will one day resume operations outside of the heightened reality we’re faced with at the moment. However, this provides even more reason for brands to focus their efforts on adapting their strategies to meet the demands of the market that we know today and avoid playing catch up tomorrow.

  • Be Transparent: If you anticipate shipping delays due to issues in supply chain, simply let your customer know. Maintain an open line of communication so that the customer doesn’t feel you’re lying to them. Your loyal customers recognize you’re operating under unusual circumstances and won’t hold it against you. Incentives through different promotions or post-purchase offers will play a huge role in driving more sales especially during this uncertain time.
  • Ensure Quality Customer Service: While you should always offer premium customer support, now couldn’t be a better time to introduce it into your marketing strategy. Leverage your buyers’ desire for connection and establish a human element that they can relate to by revealing your brand from behind a screen.
  • Advertising: In response to widespread panic on the industry end, a lot of brands are dropping out of their booked digital campaigns. Use this to your advantage by getting in front of your audience without nearly as much competition as usual. Optimize your ROI by leveraging reduced media buys to get in front of more eyes among less competition. This is also a great time to build your email marketing list by engaging a new audience with informative content. Try out new strategies, test ad creatives and implement more split testing to gather insights for future.

Now more than ever, consumers are relying on brands to reacquaint them with a society they used to know, offering them that sense of familiarity that ties them to a pre-Covid19 world. Of course, all brands will be faced with new challenges, but that shouldn’t render you reluctant to continue accepting orders.

The demand from consumers exists; so, if anything it should encourage your team to get creative and forge innovative solutions that can benefit your brand once outside of the pandemic’s parameters. eCommerce operations have never had a larger advantage despite the crisis that has left such scars of uncertainty.

However, by leveraging the power of an authentic brand to buyer connection and optimizing ROI using the benefits of unique industry circumstances, you have the chance to revolutionize your presence and disrupt an industry willing to do what it takes to prevent Covid19 from disrupting it first. 

Is your eCommerce business seeing sales decline from coronavirus? Your underlying marketing strategy might be the problem. Get in touch with the marketing experts at Evestar to pick our brains, because we’re here to help —  schedule a call today!

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