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Retail resilience amid COVID-19

By Retail Technology | Monday March 23 2020

Amid the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic, how do online retailers maximise productivity? Richard Bendelow, CEO of Aero Commerce, gives some timely advice

Unless, like certain FMCG retailers who are experiencing a surge in online sales, chances are, due to the uncertain times we find ourselves in, that your sales have suffered a dip. Couple that with the potential of a complete lockdown, times could not be more difficult for some retailers, even with the government support on offer. However now is not the time to rest on your laurels.

Being out of the office enables you to look at things with fresh eyes to turn adversity into opportunity and focus on what could make you stronger when the virus passes. Lets focus on what you could be doing:

1 - Grow Your Reviews - This may be the time, with some direct, well-worded communication, that you can grow your website and product reviews. The general public are quite sympathetic at the moment to the plight of good, honest retailers and may be more willing to help.  An honest approach in communication could drive review content, that on the whole, should be positive.  Reviews and user generated content provide quality social proofing for your website so some time spent here could pay dividends in the long term.

2 - Segment You ListsAny free time that you do have in this quiet time could be spent on looking at your mailing lists. Mailing lists can be a very strong channel for sales, however a lot of retailers just send out blanket, none personalised emails and dont get the best conversion results.  Most mailing list management software allows you to create segmented lists from the master list.  Use this time to start creating these and have a pool of more personalised emails ready to send.  The more you can segment and personalise, the more conversions you will get, more conversions means more sales.

3 - Deep Delve - Whilst you have headspace, dig deeper into your Google analytics. Learn to use it better, gain deeperinsight into your online business & understand more about the conversion paths & traffic sources. Get an understanding of attribution to see where your first click sales are coming from so you can invest more marketing money there when the time is right. There are a lot of free training courses and tutorials provided by Google and third parties you can take advantage of. Knowledge is power and not having to rely on your marketing company for insight will put you in a much stronger position for action in the future.

4 - Plan For The Future -  Now youve had more time to understand the data, use this to plan future promotions. Look for sales opportunities in the coming months and create campaigns that will engage your customers and drive sales. There are a number of freelance graphic designers out there in need of work for the coming months, so this is the time to use them.

5 - Cost Analysis - Spend time looking at the costs of your ecommerce business. How much is your hosting costing you? Are you getting a competitive rate on your payment solution? Is your ecommerce platform costing too much? Its easy to overlook costs when the going is good, but when times are hard, they bite; so now is a good time to review this and start negotiating or looking at alternatives.

The coming weeks or months will prove testing for everybody but using the time productively and proactively will put you in good shape to be able to drive sales when the online retail world starts to resemble normal again.  

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