There is no doubt that the coronavirus has plunged us into unprecedented and very difficult times. Online retailers are included in those that have been affected by the pandemic. Thankfully, being in the business of online sales means you still have amazing access to consumers. This is a time of big change and many new opportunities, which means you need to be adaptable and understand the newest developments in the industry.
If you want to learn more about becoming an online retailer, eCommerce conferences and retail conferences are a great way to keep abreast of emerging trends. But in the meantime, you can keep reading to find out a couple of ways the coronavirus has affected online retailing:
Shipping Suspensions and Delays
This has been undeniably one of the worst effects of the Coronavirus on online retailing. Delays all along the supply chain are happening, including Amazon where, for a short time, only essential items were being shipped. This can cause real problems for a seller who relies on tracking sales volumes and a quick turnover of popular or in-demand items. And of course, it is a big problem for anyone selling perishable goods that need to be sold by a certain date.
Of course, it is most important that people receive their essentials like pantry staples, face masks, and disinfectant for their homes. But that doesn’t mean you have to put your online retail business on hold.
Instead, choose to tailor your products. That means selling items that can still be purchased for a profit after the pandemic. If you aren’t confident in your ability to track consumer trends, retail conferences are a great way to get to grips with the ins and outs of online retailing. You will also learn the best strategies for coping with difficult times like these and how to bounce back from dips in profit or sales.
Remember that while essential items are being shipped quickly and are in high demand, price gouging is not allowed on many retail platforms, including Amazon. There’s no need to exploit the pandemic when you can still make a great profit selling other products.
It’s only natural that consumers are a lot more cautious about what they are buying and who they are buying it from. No one wants to introduce a health risk into their home considering the current state of the world. So what can online retailers do about it?
The answer: take precautions and keep your customers informed. Don’t make promises about health and safety measures if you can’t ensure everything 100%.
Instead, take as many precautions as you can when choosing suppliers (and the types of products you are selling). You should also try to keep your customers up to date concerning developments in Amazon warehouse conditions and what steps they can take after receiving a delivery to ensure it is clean and hygienic.
Increased Customer Base
Now on to the surprisingly positive effects the Coronavirus has had on online sellers.
For starters, a lot of people are turning to Amazon and other retail platforms because shopping at many brick and mortar stores is no longer desirable or even an option in some cities.
As an online retailer, this is something you should take advantage of. Tracking data will go a long way to helping you out here. For instance, keep an eye on where revenue growth is moving. At the moment, you will likely find that health, wellness, and food is much higher now than things like entertainment and clothing. If you want to keep your products moving, then you have to know where the most consumers are. You will also want to consider increasing your usual stock to accommodate the increased number of customers.
Of course, you will also be facing some new competition because more people will be wanting to become online sellers if they are facing unemployment or being furloughed. The competition will keep prices pretty stable, but always remember that in order to drive your profits higher, you only need to buy low and sell high: your suppliers will also be in the position of selling at lower prices due to their competition. And on that note…
New Suppliers Opportunities
You might not realize it, but the pandemic has created some very unexpected business opportunities. While some supply chains have been negatively impacted, others have learned how to quickly adapt with the times. You should seek out these wholesalers who are proving themselves able to keep up with new packaging and shipping procedures and are offering good deals to reflect the current situation.
To do this, get in contact with a lot more suppliers than you were previously. Look at wholesalers that provide products that may go out of date or season and scoop these up.
Remember that what might not be in demand in brick and mortar stores, can still be in demand online. For instance: don’t hesitate to sell winter products in the spring or summer.
Adapt with the Market and Stay Committed
This is essential if you are going to stay a successful online retailer during the coronavirus. As mentioned above, you will want to keep track of industry trends and revenue charts. Just as important is keeping positive in the midst of this really challenging time.
While selling on Amazon is often labeled as passive income, it still takes a lot of work and commitment. Don’t be discouraged if it takes some time to get to grips with the changing marketplace. Be patient with yourself and don’t give up when it comes to selling online.
You can also look at your own work patterns and find a routine and workspace that promotes productivity and innovation.
If you need more guidance and support to reach the next level in your online retailing journey, you should attend retailer trade shows where you’ll learn everything from industry tips and tricks to the best ways to create relationships with suppliers.