5 Easy Ways to Boost Ecommerce Sales During COVID-19

May 27, 2020

5 – 7 minute read:

Due to the quarantine regulations in place for most countries around the world, consumers are holding back from spending at pre-recorded levels and the products they are buying are changing. This is causing many businesses to experience lower sales and more difficulty of breaking even. Store owners are trying new tactics in order to attract customers but not all of them are effective. Here are 5 methods that are sure to help you boost your sales during the pandemic. 

Pay attention to changing demands

Consumers’ purchasing habits have changed and so have the products that they buy. People are spending more on necessities and less on items that they don’t need as much as they want. Which e-commerce categories are experiencing the fastest growth?

  • Medical and protective gear
  • Food and beverage
  • Household and gardening items
  • Toys, games, and entertainment products
  • Health and wellness

Try and focus on selling these key items since they currently have high demand. If your store doesn’t focus on selling in these categories then you could either release new products or market your existing ones in a way to solve the issues consumers face. For example, if your store sells specialty coffee, you could position it in a way geared towards regular Starbucks customers who find it harder to continue with that habit. Subscriptions have also seen an increase. Consumables are a great area to offer this option since it allows customers to receive their products without much worry.

Offer incentives, especially surrounding shipping options

Since many people have been laid off from work, they are willing to spend less. Store owners must be aware of this fact and find ways to work around it. One option is to offer discounts which attract new customers and help existing ones return. The average discount offered is around 40%.

Another growing pain consumers face with e-commerce is shipping. Since brick and mortar stores are closed, shoppers are forced to make their purchases online adding shipping fees to their totals. You can offer free or discounted shipping to help alleviate some of the stress caused by extended shipping times and prices due to the increase of packages couriers face. If you have a physical store in addition to your online one, you can also offer free curbside pickup for local residents. These services have grown in popularity since they are much quicker than shipping and don’t have any associated costs.

Use a powerful data analysis tool

It is key to know the exact performance of your store during this time and be able to identify weak spots and areas to double down on. A powerful data analytics tool will help keep track of all aspects of your store such as costs, revenues, traffic from various sources, as well as measure your KPIs all in a timely manner.

Another important feature is the ability to easily make sense of the data. Numbers don’t mean as much as when they relate to previous performance or goals. This puts the store owner in a better position to evaluate performance and make high impact decisions for the future. 

One app that does all of this is UI Ave Analytics. It allows e-commerce businesses to track and analyze data, measure their KPIs, and receive grades based on AI technology showing a clear view of where improvements can be made.

Target your audience effectively

Not all customer groups have been affected or are reacting the same way to the pandemic. Millennials are reported to be cutting back on spending and limiting their purchases to only necessities while Gen X and Boomers are letting it impact their shopping habits less. It is important for e-commerce businesses to know who their target audience is and market their products in line with that group’s spending habits. 

Social media use has also skyrocketed since people are not meeting with friends and family in person and are relying on digital interactions. Businesses can increase marketing on these platforms to capture some of the traffic.

As well, more people are using computers as opposed to mobile devices since they are working on their home computers or laptops. By paying attention to these changes facing their target audiences, store owners can focus on the marketing areas that will pay off.

Prioritize your existing customers and grow their trust

Most customers are turning to companies that they know and are less likely to spend money on unfamiliar products. This creates an excellent opportunity for store owners to build trust with their customer base by offering great customer service and ensuring quality of their products and services.

Focus on your existing contact assets such as email lists, social media followings, and online groups. Marketing to these people who are already familiar with your brand and have some connection to it is more likely to bring results. It is also easier to focus on the fewer sales that you do have by upselling and cross-selling. Since these customers are already trusting your store, it is easier to grow their purchases rather than acquiring new ones.

Conclusion

Consumer behaviour and spending have changed greatly over the past several months. Using the 5 methods above enables e-commerce businesses to adapt and find new ways to stay profitable during the effects of the worldwide pandemic.

Summary:

  • Pay attention to changing demands
    • Market your products to solve new issues created by COVID-19
    • Areas showing increased consumer spending:
      • Medical and protective gear
      • Food and beverage
      • Household and gardening items
      • Toys, games, and entertainment products
      • Health and wellness
    • Offer subscription options
  • Offer incentives, especially surrounding shipping options
    • Free shipping helps alleviate delays and extra fees
    • If you have a brick and mortar, offer curbside pickup 
  • Use a powerful data analysis tool 
    • Find weak spots and areas to double-down on 
    • Track KPIs
    • Set goals and measure performance
  • Target your audience effectively
    • Target different age groups
    • Focus on the platforms where customers frequent 
      • More people on social media 
      • Less on mobile devices since people are working from home computers 
  • Prioritize your existing customers and grow their trust
    • Focus on existing contact assets
    • Good time to build trust
    • Focus on the fewer sales that you do have

External Resources:

https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/covid-19-ecommerce/#product-categories-shifting-during-covid-19
https://www.veeqo.com/blog/ecommerce-coronavirus-covid-19-sales
https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/increase-ecommerce-sales/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2020/04/28/how-covid-19-is-transforming-e-commerce/#c87b123544f2
https://www.visualcapitalist.com/shoppers-buying-online-ecommerce-covid-19/