The COVID19 outbreak is causing havoc for eCommerce retailers at the moment. Some were struggling to source inventory, some desperate for an FBA alternative after Amazon’s delivery embargo, and some just seeing sales fall off a cliff altogether. But it doesn’t mean that your business has to suffer. Here are 9 Ideas to Drive E-commerce Sales During the Pandemic.
People are still buying goods online. So we thought we’d run through nine ethical ideas to drive sales during these uncertain times.
No fake testing kits, no selling toilet paper at inflated prices – just right, honest ways you can react to the situation to keep the orders flowing.
9 Ethical Ideas to Drive Ecommerce Sales
1) Lean on your assets
Any online marketer worth their salt knows the value of contact assets – email lists, social followings, online groups.
Now more than ever is the time to ramp up communications with these people, especially if you’re struggling for sales. Send out broadcast emails, social posts, discount codes, helpful content, and anything to keep your brand top of mind.
Times are tough for some people, but others still have disposable income.
Some may even have more disposable income at the moment now that they aren’t able to spend it at restaurants, sports events, outdoor hobbies, etc.
Make sure they know your store is still open and ready for business.
2) Change up your angle
What’s the difference between Death Wish Coffee and Counter Culture Coffee?
Answer: the marketing angle.
Death Wish angle their marketing to people who want the strongest coffee on the planet:
While Counter Culture angle towards people who are more focused on sustainability and environmentalism:
Both sell coffee, claim to be sustainable, and have strong versions. But they market their products through two very different angles.
The point being:
Can you create a new coronavirus related angle for your products?
For example, Blue Light Kids sell glasses for kids that dilute blue light during their screen time. So they started running ads like this after schools closed for the virus:
Get creative and start running ads on how people can use your products during these times.
3) Launch new products
Can’t find an angle with your current products? Maybe you need to source something new to compete in the short term.
Fashion is generally taking a hit right now.
But if it aligns with your brand, try creating your own humorous coronavirus related t-shirts:
Think about what would fit well with your brand and store, find a supply, and start selling.
4) Offer subscriptions
Some eCommerce stores have seen sales go through the roof since the stay-at-home advice. Learn more about the 9 Ideas to Drive E-commerce Sales During the Pandemic.
We’ve noticed a marked increase in orders processed through Veeqo in the last couple of weeks. And it’s been a particularly good time (sales-wise) for stores in areas like:
- Home & Garden
- Health & Beauty
- Home Gym/Fitness Equipment
If you do find yourself with an influx of new customers, you need to take action to make sure it isn’t just a one-time thing. And subscriptions could be a great way to do this.
You’ve probably seen them used on a lot of Amazon products:
But doing it in your store is simple enough too. Shopify users, for example, can use apps like Bold Subscriptions or ReCharge to add subscribe options to product pages and take recurring payments:
Source: ReCharge Payments
Some product lines work better than others for subscriptions. Anything consumable (like coffee, food, etc.) should work perfectly – if you follow up with great delivery and after-sales experience for the customer.
But try adding this option and creating a follow-up email sequence pushing one-time buyers towards a subscription to ‘lock-in’ customers even after the coronavirus outbreak has calmed down.
5) Help others and share your stories
The entire coronavirus story is just plain heartbreaking. People are dying, businesses are closing, and jobs are being lost.
But it also seems to have sparked an outpour of generosity and appreciation around the world:
It must be said that the first point-of-call here should be to consider how your business might genuinely be able to help others as opposed to how you can exploit the situation to make a few extra sales.
But if you do find a way to help, nothing is stopping you gaining some exposure through:
- Sending out press releases.
- Alerting relevant influencers.
- Posting on your social media channels.
- Sharing Facebook and Instagram Stories of your good deeds.
- Uploading videos to YouTube.
Avoid a flat out sales plug in any of these. But do everything under the guise of your brand, and the exposure will inevitably result in click-throughs to your website and product pages.
6) Add extra sales channels
If you’re experiencing a downturn in sales thanks to the current pandemic, now might be as good a time as any to explore adding additional sales channels to your operation.
Are you selling on your own website? Try adding eBay to the mix.
Already on eBay? Try Amazon.
Already on Amazon? Try some different Amazon locations.
Have you already done that? Try Etsy.
There’s a huge variety of marketplaces and channels to choose from around the world. All of which can be a potential new source of customers for your business that you were previously missing out on.
You’ll want to use a multichannel tool to ship orders quickly and keep inventory synced, though.
You can easily add sales channels in Veeqo by hovering over the Settings cog, selecting Stores and then the blue New Store button:
From here, simply fill in the data and sign into the store when prompted to authorize Veeqo access:
You’ll then be able to:
- Keep inventory synced in real-time.
- Ship orders for this and every other channel from one place:
7) Associate your products with high-performing verticals
Fashion sales seem to be down at the moment. While things like home fitness equipment seem to be very much up.
But this doesn’t mean you just need to lie down and accept the status quo.
If you’re a fashion brand, can you start associating your products with the home gym market? Or with another vertical, that seems to be performing well at the moment?
- Creating social posts using your products in the setting of the high-performing vertical.
- Tweaking your product descriptions to convey this angle.
- Partnering with specific businesses to drive mutual sales.
- Offering affiliate links to influencers and other stores within high-performing verticals.
This may not be possible for all types of products. High fashion probably won’t play well in the home fitness space, for example.
But if you can make a logical connection, then it could be a way into a market that’s performing well in the current circumstances.
8) Double down on the sales you do make
Any purchase made during times like these is crucial.
These are people who have already committed to making a purchase. So they’re in a prime position to get them buying again.
But don’t just wait and hope. You need to take action to make those sales happen.
An instant after-sales upsell or can be huge. Tools like Zipify and Sweet Upsell do this by promoting other products in your catalog directly on your order confirmation page.
Then make sure to follow up with emails and messages pushing more sales soon after purchase as well.
There’s a bunch of pre-built email flow templates designed to get more post-purchase sales:
But there’s also plenty of apps to do similar things through push notifications, Messenger updates, SMS, WhatsApp, and more.
The bottom line is just not to get too focused on going out to find new customers at times like these. Pay attention to customer loyalty and lifetime value as much, if not more.
9) Grow your store’s blog
If you really can’t move the needle with sales right now at all, then maybe spend the time on something that can pay off long term.
Content marketing in eCommerce is something that isn’t too heavily focused on by brands at the moment. Mainly due to the length of time it takes to build consistent blog traffic and its lack of direct response elements compared to things like PPC ads.
But it could be a worthy investment if the current situation is giving you extra time to play with.
Take Zoma as an excellent example of eCommerce content marketing in action.
They sell high-quality mattresses and pillows. And have a blog packed full of useful info on choosing bedding and sleep equipment.
But they’ll always subtly mention and link to their products in the posts.
Like this one on choosing the best mattress:
Should they rank in Google for it, the keyword “choosing the best mattress” will bring Zoma a decent amount of highly relevant, free traffic. All people are looking for a mattress, with some likely to convert into sales.
It takes time to achieve this, might be something to start pouring your efforts into now to play out big time in the long run.
The whole world may be reeling right now after the coronavirus takeover. But this doesn’t mean you need to sit back and let your eCommerce business collapse.
Some brands are still making consistent sales. So be sure to try the ideas in this post and do everything possible to make your business one that succeeds. 9 Ideas to Drive E-commerce Sales During the Pandemic