How To Manage Your eCommerce Business During The COVID-19 Pandemic Period
At every moment we are updated on the effect of the COVID-19 disease worldwide. The nature of the virus, the absence of a vaccine and the way it's transferred from one person to another is causing an increase in anxiety, stress, fear and panic for most people.
Another disturbing factor is the fact that behind the daily statistics of those contracting the disease and those dying are actual humans with families and loved ones.
For most people, life at this moment has been paused they take precautionary measures and make it a point to get through these challenging times. Most people are working from home for the first time. Remote work has been forced on many industries including those who doubted its potential initially.
If you run an eCommerce business, the global crisis can be either a blessing or curse for you depending on your product or service, target audience, industry or sheer luck. Regardless, you need to be able to run your business, pay yourself and your employees and sustain the growth of the business.
Here are a few steps to keep your business afloat during the COVID-19 period.
Pay attention to your health and wellness.
It is only the living who create products and build businesses. The most important step at this point is to stay alive and well during this period. Take care of yourself and encourage your team members to do the same. Create a deliberate routine to keep your mind and body sane. To keep your body healthy, make time to work out each day and eat energy-boosting foods. For your mental health, consume more wholesome content. Filter the information your receive about the pandemic. Follow only reliable channels for your news, preferably the WHO. Watch educative videos on YouTube and read books and blogs about business. You need to be intentional about everything you do during these times to keep your mind in check and put it into perspective.
Live in the moment
Don't wait for the pandemic to end before you enjoy your life. Learn to go about your business even with all the constraints available. It is easy to postpone events and plans during this period but you need to learn how to go about your life even in this crisis. Work on your business strategy, pivot if you have to, but whatever you do, don't pause to wait till the end of the crisis. Ideate on new ways to enjoy your life and run your business smoothly amidst the chaos.
Communicate with your team
Communication is key. These are not the usual work from home periods you had in the past with your team members. This time around, all their families will be home alongside them or probably not. No matter the specific situation, acknowledge that we all need each other's support now. Check up on your team members, encourage a culture of communication so they can talk about their fears and struggles. Teach them to be there for each other. This communication should also extend to the customers who buy from your eCommerce store. Let them know in advance if shipping will take longer than expected or even introduce a local pickup for people within your state.
Go deeper on marketing
You may fear that people may not be ready to buy at this time. Depending on your industry, you may be right. However, you can still market your product even if it's just to build brand awareness. Strategically plan your marketing content and share the word. Take advantage of the fact that people are working from home and more active on social media. Share good content on your social media pages, write value-driven blog posts and share testimonials of past customers. Drum the existence of your business into the ears of your target audience.
Apply for COVID-19 grants
If your business is really affected by the COVID-19 pandemic kindly seek financial help. Most countries and states have provided relief funds for small businesses. However, here are a number of grants to access during this challenging period wherever you live in the world.
Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits to help during this challenging time. This program is opened to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where Facebook operates. Their aim is to keep you afloat, cover your operational cost and help you run your business during these challenging times. Check out their website to find out when the program opens.
Zapier is committing $1 million to help their most impacted small business customers keep their most important workflows going. To qualify,
- You work in a business with 10 employees or fewer, or you're a solo entrepreneur.
- Your business is privately owned.
- Your business is impacted by "social distancing" in an outsized way. The tourism, food service, hospitality, salon and spa, fitness, and education industries are some examples.
- You're a paying Zapier customer as of 3/20/2020.
Bumble is giving small businesses suffering as a result of COVID-19 a grant of up to $5000. Apply here.
Finally, always follow the simple preventable rules shared by the World Health Organisation and protect yourself and others.
- Wash your hands with soap under running water frequently.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser in the absence of soap and running water.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Maintain social distancing of at least 6ft.
- Stay home if you feel unwell or seek medical attention.
Together, we can kick out the coronavirus together. Stay safe. Grow your business.