June 7, 2021
5 minutes to read
opinion expressed by entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
The global pandemic has been devastating for several businesses such as retail, restaurants, hospitality and in-person entertainment. Many businesses have closed their doors permanently, while others have risen and thrived.
As retailers have to move their inventory online to stay on the water and some restaurants have to rely solely on delivery to keep their doors open, some businesses have had to switch to an unfamiliar online ecosystem.
The e-commerce industry has grown at an exponential rate, with established brands achieving phenomenal growth and newcomers at a staggering pace. Rather than focus on the negative impact Covid-19 has had on businesses, let’s focus on the lessons brands can learn from the causes of the pandemic in the retail and e-commerce industries.
1. Consumers will always be willing to spend money
Although many doom and gloom stories have been played out during the pandemic, many retailers have reported record online sales. To paint the picture, Best Buy reported that online sales increased by more than 240% during the second quarter. There was no clear indication of when “normal” would return, so many people bought electronics to keep themselves and their families inside.
Despite too much uncertainty about employment, income and the economy, consumers were still spending money. While “save for the rain” was the smartest financial move, consumers naturally tend to spend.
Faced with boredom and redundancy during the lockdown, many consumers have opted for online shopping as a form of entertainment.
2. Commerce has moved significantly online.
Even as stocks start to open up and retail stores follow suit, the pandemic has introduced a whole new demographic to the convenience of online shopping. From buying regular household items on Amazon and having them arrive in a matter of days, to ordering groceries online and having them delivered to your doorstep within hours, many of these consumers will continue to shop online because it’s more convenient.
E-commerce brands should not be afraid to open up retail stores and recover market share. Instead, focus on driving that convenience message in all your marketing and advertising. Instead, think about how you can provide more value to your customers.
Are there subscription options that make it more convenient for customers to make recurring fulfillments while creating a consistent and stable revenue stream for your brand? Now is the best time to introduce convenience upsell.
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3. Social media can launch a brand literally overnight.
One of the most interesting things that stood out to me during the pandemic was how much one-man work came into being and flourished thanks to social media. From handmade clothing and accessories to arts and crafts, we’ve seen many creatives launch successful brands with only TikTok or Instagram platforms.
It’s real social proof that brands can get crazy momentum without spending $20,000 on a custom Shopify build or six figures on Facebook ads. If you have a truly special product, your customers will be happy to share and support your efforts.
Many will ride the wave as it is, but I’ve seen some reinvest heavily in their brands to create great websites and run paid ads for further growth. Those who focus on building long-term brands and reinvest intelligently will be highly successful.
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4. Consumers love D2C brands with a thriving community.
Why do consumers spend $30 on rubber supplements when Amazon has fakes for $8? The simple answer is that more expensive brands have built a thriving community, and consumers are willing to pay a premium to be part of that community.
Creative brands that have successfully built communities encourage their customers to share on social media using specified hashtags. This creates user-generated content (UGC) that brands share on their own social profiles.
Consumers will like ideas highlighted by the brand they belong to and will pay a premium price to feel a sense of belonging. UGC is also one of the most effective content you can utilize and is far more effective than content that looks like traditional advertising.
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5. Don’t be afraid to pivot to open up new opportunities
Many brands have rotated due to the pandemic. Some clothing manufacturers have switched to making face masks and PPE, and in doing so have grown at an alarming rate. While many businesses have closed and laid off employees, businesses that have switched to new opportunities have not been able to hire quickly enough to meet new demands.
Brands should always be looking for a pivot and being open. There is nothing wrong with changing direction when new opportunities appear. While many brands are stubborn and focused on one thing, being always open to new opportunities will lead to additional successful and lucrative ventures.