This article was originally published by WARC.
As lockdowns continue, getting e-commerce right can help brands not only survive but thrive during COVID-19; OMG Transact’s Saradha Sethuraman has some tips.
Writing for WARC, Sethuraman, e-commerce business director at the Omnicom specialist practice, notes that it is highly likely that new online shopping behaviours developed during this period will carry on even after life returns to normal.
Research from Criteo, for example, suggests that 52% of shoppers will purchase more online as a consequence of the coronavirus outbreak.
“So, to survive and thrive, brands need to find new ways to continue operating through digital commerce,” she says.
“This could be through developing greater e-commerce strategies and shifting communications to promote online ordering, or by adapting the products they sell in order to fulfil consumers’ changing needs.”
The obvious place to start is on existing platforms: in the UK, for example, online platforms like Amazon marketplace, Zalando and Deliveroo allow businesses to begin selling at both speed and scale. The typical marketplace model allows brands to continue to own and manage their own stock until it’s sold, Sethuraman explains.
There are also plenty of online partners available across multiple categories and markets – supermarkets like M&S and Co-op have partnered with Deliveroo to help people get what they need.
For restaurants, online takeaway orders can be a key focus to continue business operations at a time when footfall has plummeted. In the UK, local restaurants and cafés are working with suppliers to offer customers fresh food boxes that can be delivered to people’s doorsteps.
Those businesses that do not have physical products to sell online can continue business growth through leveraging credit, deposit and voucher sales. The FT recently revealed that a London restaurant group has launched a series of vouchers with a “war bond” theme, in order to raise precious cash to keep the business running during the coronavirus shutdown.
Brands need to remember that shopping behaviours are going to evolve and strengthen, Sethuraman advises. “Therefore, brands that do launch on existing marketplaces, must think about the long haul, rather than see this as a quick and temporary fix.
“E-commerce marketplaces must be planned and handled like any other retail channel for it be a profitable undertaking.”