When sellers will look back at this period of time, they’ll remember the COVID-19 outbreak, apart from the devastating impact on life and society, for: Rise in online orders, change in customer behavior, disruptions in supply chains and more. As we are not out of the woods yet, it is definitely going to have an effect on B2B businesses. This particularly applies to e-commerce.
eCommerce sales have seen a notable increase: Amazon sales are rising, North American chain stores’ online sales are up, and buy-online, pickup-in-store orders surged 208% in April. While there remain some massive challenges, there are huge opportunities for B2B businesses during this pandemic as well.
Be there for your customers
From streaming companies making movies available for free to restaurants offering free takeaways, there are many companies looking out for their customers. Don’t hesitate to offer discounts or benefits. You can also support customers facing financial troubles by extending invoice payment dates. If possible, you can highlight products that will help customers.
Another step you can take is supporting your communities that are active during the pandemic. For instance, are you able to offer free services to health support teams? If yes, taking these steps will help your brand in the long run.
Finally, prioritize your existing customer base rather than focusing on new ones who are looking for single-product purchases. Whatever steps you’ve taken, ensure that your customers are up to date with tailored messaging in your web store and social media.
The pandemic is pushing digital transformation
While many companies worldwide are stopping investments, some have been forced to close their primary sales channels due to uncertainties or lockdown restrictions.
The companies that haven’t are the ones that put eCommerce and digitalization at the heart of their strategy. Many are now starting to ramp up their investment so as to gain grounds on their competitors. The current growth rate will certainly lower once the lockdown restrictions ease, but the baseline will surely be higher.
The improvements and services that have been implemented in the last few months (eg. Flexible delivery options), it’s safe to say that eCommerce has taken a big leap. New routines will definitely be the norm. It is time to take the plunge in eCommerce.
Customer preferences and priorities have changed
As a seller, you need to be prepared for a new type of shopper.
As the pandemic hit, the availability of products seems to have altered brand allegiance and pushed consumers to become more adventurous. Food Dive found that because of the coronavirus, 69% of them are purchasing different brands if their preferred one is not available.
As a seller, if you have available products, this is a huge opportunity to win potential customers.
A McKinsey survey shows that more than 75 percent of consumers have experimented during the crisis, and this includes trying out new brands and places to shop. The consumers who switched stores or brands stated availability, convenience, and value as the main drivers. The survey shows that digital channels like online advertising and social media, as well as proactive research, were the key places people went to find out about these new places to shop.
If these changes persist, new loyalty relationships are bound to be formed.
It’s a brave new world that we’ve woken up to. The question isn’t if you should also move to eCommerce, but when. At Alep Digital,we work with platforms like Zonguru, an official partner of Alibaba and Amazon that provides sellers with amazing access to the best data sources in the industry to find niche markets and flip the odds to their favor. Get in touch with the team to find more about it. It’s totally worth it!