I’m not here to tell you what you already know. It’s not rocket science that being stuck at home means more online shopping. The demand for essentials such as health and cleaning products / groceries have surged but what we will also see is a rise in non-essential online shopping. And this may happen sooner than we think.
The best way to predict what will happen in WA is to observe other countries that are ahead of us in the COVID-19 timeline.
A recent US poll on online retailers shows that:
- consumers are starting to shift their dollars back to non-essentials categories
- for the fifth day in a row, more than 40% of respondents say their sales are going up
- of the brands that are experiencing shipping issues, less are saying it’s negatively affecting their website conversion rate.
Source: Klaviyo, 8th April 2020
For businesses that need to make a fast transition to the online world, it is literally now or never so I encourage you to plan your next moves intelligently and swiftly. Here are 3 tips to help you crush the next phase of the E-commerce home economy.
Ditch Perfection (80/20 Rule)
Most failures I have seen in web or E-commerce have to do with aiming for perfection. What is supposed to be a pragmatic project becomes a 12 month bonanza because Barry can’t decide on the exact colours he wants for the add to cart button or Sally doesn’t want to launch until all her 957 products are uploaded.
Subjective opinions on things that don’t really matter can destroy opportunities and businesses. Further, it is better to dynamically make changes according to market feedback rather than from our own opinions. Design and build a site that is consumer focussed and user friendly, not perfect, and then continue to test and refine things after the site or product is launched.
If you need to make a fast transition then I also suggest not worrying about fancy integrations with your existing systems such as POS / inventory or finance systems. Though ideal, those functions are not essential and can be completed in a later phase. The focus now should be on getting to market and selling your products.
Further, expect bugs to pop up after a site or product launch. It’s more important that you have a system for catching and fixing bugs than to aim for a completely bug free but unrealistic site launch.
Don’t Wait Until Launch to Start Marketing
I get this question all the time. Should I wait until the website is live until I promote it on all my channels? My answer is almost always the same. “No. Don’t wait. Start promoting now.”
If you are still building your site or product during this COVID period, you should be building up the hype and growing your pre-launch mailing list. A lot of times, consumers love the hype more than the actual product (the idea is more sexy) so take advantage of this quirk in the human psyche. Building a list allows you to launch the site or new product with faster success. By the time you launch, you have an army full of existing clients and/or prospects ready to buy and share your site.
Practical ways to do this include:
- Email your existing client / prospects a series of well timed and engaging emails leading up to the new site/product launch.
- Run targeted Facebook Lead Gen ads that prepare clients/prospects for the new site/product and ask them to be part of your exclusive site launch mailing list (you could reward them with an exclusive pre-launch member offer).
- Use clever language that makes your client/prospect feel special. Instead of “sign up to our email list” (*yawn*), try “Join our exclusive VIP club”.
Be empathetic to COVID-19 times.
Most of us are tired of the opportunistic COVID-19 sales pitches (Buy our remote work solutions now! / Face Masks for sale! etc). When marketing your product, think hard about your motives and your language. Firstly, do you actually care about your clients and are you sensitive to the current pandemic? If the answer is no, then you have bigger problems. But if the answer is yes, does your language reflect this?
Instead of just pitching your products, offer something of value whether it is education (Top X ways of [insert value add info here] during a pandemic etc) or extra support (online training, Q&A with your customers/prospects etc).
Some companies are going a step further and actually tying their marketing campaigns to action in the community. If done genuinely, this can really work in your favour.
Bodyment is a client of ours that did this extremely well. They supply compressor garments to healthcare workers and just launched a campaign to legitimately donate free N95/KN95 Face Masks to Australian healthcare workers. There is no catch. This is a campaign launched out of actual care for the community but at the same time, Bodyment will benefit in the long run as they are building trusted relationships with healthcare workers (their prospects) in a time of need.
Think about what campaigns you could run that shows your genuine care for the community during this Pandemic. It could also benefit your bottom line in the long run.
This pandemic is unprecedented and horrific, but it will not last. Life will never be the same for any of us but there will be a new normal post COVID-19.
And the ones that come out on top in the new normal, will be the ones that acted smarter and faster than their competitors during the peak of the crisis.
How can we help?
Zion is a 40 under 40 winner and the co-founder of Alyka, a 3-time AFR Fast 100 Data Driven Marketing Agency, Telstra Award Finalist and BNIQ Rising Star. Zion and his team won the global Kentico Site of the Year Award for building the Miss Maud E-commerce Website.