The global economy has experienced extensive turmoil during the Covid-19 outbreak. While several industries faced an unprecedented fall in business growth, there was a positive and rising scale for several strategically well-planned eCommerce businesses. Relatively, all those digital business models that had a perfect eCommerce platform integrated with the best inventory management software have proven to be resilient to the Covid-19 situation and beyond.
Many retail businesses shifted from physical stores to online stores during the Coronavirus outbreak due to lockdown and social distancing mandates. This led to increased competition in the eCommerce sector. Besides that, the Coronavirus outbreak brought several disruptions in the supply chain, consumer behavior, and internal operations that impacted eCommerce businesses to a great extent.
To survive this situation, it became critical for eCommerce businesses to include digital transformation strategies and adapt to new technologies that can help them sustain the competition and ensure consistent growth. Whether it is about using the best inventory management software for streamlining the supply chain processes, executing marketing automation software to engage the customers effectively, or applying CRM to manage client relationships effectively, technology continues to rule during and after the pandemic era.
Let’s delve into more details about the setbacks eCommerce businesses face in this post-pandemic era, also termed “The New Normal,” and how digital transformation can help them conquer these setbacks to gain profitable outcomes.
Key Challenges and Solutions
The Influx in Consumer Demand
Due to stay-at-home and social distancing mandates during the Covid-19 outbreak, the consumers developed a sense of insecurity and developed the habit of panic buying. They started buying the essentials more than they required. Even the eCommerce stores following a systematic approach towards inventory management and supply chain processes faced inventory shortages due to unpredictable consumer demands and had to deal with dissatisfied customers. The effects of panic buying have become critical for eCommerce businesses in the post-pandemic era too.
So, how can you get rid of this challenge?
If you are thinking of overstocking your warehouses, then that would be a disastrous idea because it can turn out to be stock wastage, especially with the products having a low shelf life. An AI based eCommerce software that helps you predict consumer behavior and demand in the most accurate way can help you overcome the setbacks caused due to panic buying. It can also help you send automated alerts and emails to your customers about the new stock arrivals for the products they were looking for in your store and earn more business and customer loyalty.
Fear of Getting Infected
During the Covid-19 outbreak, many people were even scared of buying online as they perceived it to be one way of getting infected. Due to that, many online stores introduced contactless delivery. But, even after contactless delivery, customers were still suspicious about the health conditions of the employees handling their shipments. Due to that reason, many online stores experienced a decline in sales. In this post-pandemic situation, the virus still exists around us. People are still very cautious about this and need assurance that their orders are in safe hands and are delivered to them in a virus-free condition.
So, how to survive this challenge?
To eliminate this issue, you need to execute a system that informs your customers about the safety measures applied for your delivery staff and other employees. For example, if you are sanitizing your warehouses regularly, post some pictures about it on social media and inform your customers about the same. Also, you can mention the steps you are taking to keep your products virus-free. This will help you build your customers’ trust in your online store and improve sales.
There were disruptions in supply chain management during Covid-19 outbreak due to human resources shortage and lockdown mandates in different places. Because of that, many eCommerce companies failed to deliver the products on time and thus had to deal with dissatisfied customers and witness a decline in sales. Delivery delays are tolerable if the customers are informed about them well in advance because they are aware of the pandemic situation. But, if you don’t keep your customers notified about the same regularly, they may lose trust in your business and stop buying from you in the post-pandemic situation and beyond.
Solution: automating workflow
There should be an automated system that regularly notifies your customers about delayed deliveries. Also, the customers should be provided with accurate shipping information to periodically track their orders and get an idea about the delivery status. Digital transformation in the form of robust inventory management software can help you do that and maintain professionalism in your order fulfillment workflow.
Prompt Customer Support Required
How you serve your customers is the crucial aspect that can decide the success and failure of your eCommerce business. In the Covid-19 situation, the eCommerce companies had to limit the working hours of their call centers or completely shut them down. Even in the post-pandemic situation, there are limitations in terms of the number of people working under one roof. In that case, many eCommerce businesses are still unable to provide 24/7 customer support resulting in grieving customers, increased returns, and missed sales opportunities.
Solution to extend the best customer experience
The best solution to this problem would be a chatbot. Just get a chatbot integrated to your eCommerce store to provide 24/7 customer support. You don’t need a team of customer support representatives working in different shifts to provide the services your customers are expecting. The chatbot possesses enough human intelligence to interact with customers in the best possible way and resolve their issues.
Upsurge in Web Traffic
During the lockdown phase, there were no chances left for people to go out and buy even the essential items. Even the people who didn’t prefer buying online had to depend on online stores for their needs. This turned out to be the most lucrative opportunity for the eCommerce businesses but at the same time, handling the upsurge in web traffic became a challenge for them. As per Statista, retail platforms generated 22 billion global visits in June 2020, up from 16.07 billion global visits in January 2020. In the current post-pandemic situation, though people can go to brick-and-mortar stores to shop for their needs, they still prefer buying online as they have got used to it and understood the benefits of online shopping. So, the challenge that still remains for eCommerce stores is providing a smooth shopping experience to the customers despite the increased traffic.
Solution to handle the buyers and retain them
Focusing on scalable eCommerce platforms that are technologically sound with advanced features allowing you to provide extraordinary shopping experiences to your customers even if there is increased traffic in your store is the most effective solution to this problem. Also, you can consider omnichannel selling, so if your website is down due to heavy traffic, your products are still available on other marketplaces and social media platforms.
Thus, a successful digital transformation strategy can help in overcoming the challenges emerging from the pandemic situation. Whether you already have an online store and require to upgrade it to meet the consumer demands or have a physical shopping outlet that you need to convert into an online store, digital transformation can help you take your business to the next level. Even though we will be surpassing the post-pandemic situation very soon, eCommerce will keep on trending and continue to grow. This global pandemic has taught us the significance of well-managed and reliable eCommerce platforms. So, make sure you are the one to win the trust and loyalty of your valuable customers and achieve your dream sales goals.