We’re currently living in a period of uncertainty. Thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic across the globe, businesses have had to change the way they work in order to stay afloat. Unfortunately, not all businesses have the opportunity to stay open and serve their customers.
That’s different for businesses that operate online. Your eCommerce business doesn’t have to shut down during this time, especially if you’re providing a need that’s important or essential to people who might be feeling a little stir-crazy at home.
But, you’ll undoubtedly have to make some adjustments in order to prepare for uncertainty, including preserving enough cash and making sure you have consistent cash flow coming in.
Let’s take a look at exactly how you can do that by both monitoring your expenses and generating consistent income.
Be Positive About Your Business
Thanks to orders of social distancing and more people avoiding going out to grocery stores, retail spaces, etc., you can take some comfort in knowing you can still provide goods online. That includes the essentials and things people need in order to make them feel comfortable in times of need.
With that being said, it’s important to optimize your website to make sure people can navigate it quickly and easily. If someone is looking for a particular product, they should be able to find it in a matter of minutes without any confusion. It’s also a good idea to explain products in more detail.
Understanding What Sells
There are a few different ways to approach what you want to feature on your eCommerce site during times of crisis. Understanding your audience will help you to decide how to feature certain things consumers are looking for, including:
- Home improvement products: You can make things like cleaning products and other general home items more appealing by adding detailed descriptions and realistic photos that showcase how they look/work within the home.
- The Lipstick Effect: The lipstick effect suggests that people are more likely to buy less costly luxury goods when facing a crisis. So, instead of buying something like an expensive watch, they might be more willing to buy expensive lipstick. This can be a fine balance when it comes to knowing which products draw the line, but you can actually have a little bit of fun promoting your less expensive luxury items and seeing how quickly they sell.
- Gifts: Since people aren’t able to connect in person right now, families and friends might be looking for ways to say “I love you” to others. Items that can be given as thoughtful gifts should be promoted as such.
By making a few changes in the way you push certain products and making sure everything is clean and easy to navigate, you can actually provide some of the basic needs people are looking for right now.
Monitoring Your Expenses
Your eCommerce business can continue to make money during a crisis, but it’s also important to manage your existing expenses and protect yourself, financially.
First, take a look at your expenses by reviewing a monthly bank statement. Are you subscribed to anything you don’t need? Where can you cut back? Discontinuing things you don’t need is a good practice all the time, but especially when your income might be more up in the air than usual.
Additionally, be smart with your inventory. Even if it seems as though people are still buying, holding on to too much inventory can hurt your cash flow. Talk to your vendors about extended payment terms under these special circumstances. Remember, we’re all in this together and as long as we can keep our businesses running (including your vendors), everyone has to be able to be a bit flexible.
Unfortunately, you may need to cut back on production, which includes downsizing your cost-center department and reducing payroll, while outsourcing the work to a 3rd-party service provider. That’s never an easy thing to do, especially if you feel like you’re letting your employees down. But, this is only a temporary solution to keep your business up and running.
You may be eligible for the Small Business Association’s injury disaster loan program, or other business relief grants that are being passed through Congress during this pandemic.
All businesses are having to adapt and make changes in order to stay alive, and unfortunately, some of them won’t make it. An eCommerce business has the advantage of being able to remain operative while brick and mortar stores have to close. Take advantage of this opportunity by giving consumers what they really need/want, and making smart choices to keep the consistent cash flow coming in.