Consumer behavior is rapidly evolving. According to the Real-Time COVID-19 Consumer Survey, nearly 75% of consumers have significantly changed their buying habits over the last 14 days. The data indicates there has been a quick, momentous shift toward online shopping, and the trend will likely continue over the next 30 days and beyond. According to the study, “A net 53% of consumers have increased their purchases from [Amazon] over the past week, and 63% are planning to do so in the next 30 days.”
It is evident that our communities need timely, reliable, and uninterrupted access to your products online now more than ever – they need businesses to lead strategically, proactively, and collaboratively to meet their needs through these challenging times. Our ability to overcome present challenges in meeting their needs is limited only by our willingness and ability to collaborate successfully in serving them.
Regardless of your e-commerce strategy or model, here are the top three things brands who excel through these challenges will focus on over the next 120 days:
1. Stable and efficient fulfillment
Many online sellers and fulfillment solutions are struggling to keep up with the demand.
“Many customers are experiencing significant delays in shipments even on items that are in stock on the site. With the COVID-19 situation escalating daily, it is unclear if Amazon will be able to keep up with the increased demand, even with plans to hire an additional 100,000 fulfillment center employees, and halting ordering of ‘non-essential’ categories and delaying shipment of ‘non-essential’ categories to consumers (some consumers seeing delivery dates pushed out by a month).”
As the demand continues to increase, it is critical to evaluate your fulfillment solution to ensure your solution can:
- qualify as an Essential Business and remain operating.
- handle the skyrocketing volume of orders being placed to avoid delayed delivery dates.
- receive inventory of essential and non-essential products currently and into the foreseeable future.
2. Preventing out-of-stock through agile stocking of essential and non-essential products
Preventing out-of-stocks will become increasingly important, and challenging, over the next few months. To overcome this challenge, create a strategy for quickly mobilizing your inventory and prepare to pivot in the event that your business is subject to a forced shutdown. Consider collaborating directly with your fulfillment partner(s) or retailers to ensure seamless execution if the time comes.
3. Marketplace availability
As the online consumer base grows quickly, importance of a broad multi-marketplace merchandising strategy increases as well. More customers are shopping online in more places. Focus on getting your in-stock and shippable inventory, thanks to focuses 1 and 2, available to customers on the many relevant online-marketplaces they are shopping on.
A valuable word of wisdom from one of Spreetail’s ecommerce experts, Brian Williams:
“In the ecommerce world, over saturation of retailers can be extremely damaging…In ecommerce, approach marketplaces as you would your brick-and-mortar retail locations. You want your products on as many relevant marketplaces as possible. However, limit your saturation of online retailers on each marketplace to those who will help you compete against your competitors rather than compete against each other for your product’s sales. In an ideal situation, find one ecommerce partner who will help you compete on all of your top marketplaces.”
Your brand can be a force for good, pushing our communities forward during these challenging times. I hope these three focuses help you continue to find success as you do the important work of providing our communities with products they need and demand.
Contact our partnership team and start growing your business online today.