How E-Commerce Brands Can Survive the Current Crisis

Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in early March, small businesses continue to suffer on a global scale. In the wake of this crisis, there has been a huge spike in store closures and massive layoffs. These conditions present an unprecedented opportunity for e-commerce brands. As retail stores remain closed and workers continue to be confined to their homes, consumers are transitioning to the safety of online shopping.

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There are three things e-commerce brands and entrepreneurs can do today to survive, given the current market conditions and consumer behavior.

Create special discounts and offer incentive to shop

It can be challenging to face the marketplace with an optimistic mindset during a crisis. Entrepreneurs must make it easier and more desirable for new and existing customers to shop their brand.

Creating aggressive discounts and exclusive offers does two things:

  1. It can motivate new customers to try out your brand by taking advantage of the discount or offer presented
  2. It gives your existing customers a chance to return and shop. Consider these special discounts as a reward for consumer loyalty.

For example, at Soxy, we have implemented a “choose what you pay program.” This allows customers to choose between purchasing products at 45 percent, 20 percent and 10 percent off. These discounts help keep our warehouse staff employed and avoid layoffs.

A special offer entices consumers to shop, which helps drive revenue.

Use email marketing as a free way to generate sales

Email marketing remains the most reliable and profitable digital marketing channel. Naturally, we use email marketing to build relationships with new prospects, segment users based on behavior, and more importantly, drive sales.

As most businesses decrease or eliminate their advertising to cut operating costs, this is the perfect time to use email marketing to drive sales and profitability. Since the hard work is actually building that list, any sales driven through email marketing are essentially produced at no cost to you.

Keep in mind, it’s important to use segmentation to deliver the right message to the right audience. This helps increase open rates, conversion rate, and even average order value.

As our inboxes continue to be flooded with promotional material, your email’s subject line tends to be one of the most important elements within your email marketing. It’s the first impression readers get and the deciding factor whether or not an email even gets opened. The goal is to give the reader a reason to click through, so keep subject lines short, personal, and maintain a sense of curiosity.

Related: 5 Tips for Surviving a Recession

Use email marketing to drive sales at a time when it can make a huge impact.

Find a way to give back

Now more than ever, consumers want to know that their dollar has the greatest possible impact. It is crucial to pay it forward and support your community in a time of need.

Years before the current crisis began, a 2015 Nielsen report polled 30,000 consumers and found that 73 percent of millennials are willing pay a premium for sustainable offerings. That means people are willing to spend more on products that help make a positive impact in the world.

For example, Toms is known to have popularized the “buy one, give one” model, which donates a pair of shoes for every pair sold. The company’s success helped inspire a new wave of e-commerce brands that had a social initiative embedded in their business model.

Determine how you can give back during these times to help entice customers to spend their dollars with you. Whether it’s donating product or funds to first responders, any and all generosity will make your brand more appealing to customers.

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Surviving COVID-19

As an entrepreneur, the current crisis will certainly take a hit on your bottom line. However, it’s important to look at the bigger picture, and the above tactics will help keep your sales engine running, while having a positive impact on your customers and the community as a whole.

If you’re losing money or breaking even in the short term, this should be seen as a win in times when the majority of small businesses and entrepreneurs are deeply suffering. Come up with strategies for survival and altruism to ensure that your business endures. Constantly evolving brands will be the ones still standing when this is all over.

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