10 ways to maintain the continuity of your e-commerce business amidst the pandemic, Retail News, ET Retail
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak across the world, business continuity has been immensely impacted across verticals. The outbreak has brought about strict measures being imposed in almost all the countries in an attempt to avoid the virus from being transmitted from one person to another. India announced a nationwide lockdown on the 22nd of March 2020, which meant that aside from essential services, most businesses had to practice remote working. Some businesses even closed temporarily.
E-commerce businesses are no exception. With social distancing being strongly advised, most e-commerce services were temporarily suspended across the country, with just the essential items being supplied. While online sales for e-commerce businesses have reduced, the industry hasn’t had an entire fallout like some other businesses such as travel or hospitality. During such uncertain and challenging times, maintaining business continuity is necessary to keep a smooth workflow. Here are 10 ways e-commerce businesses can ensure the continuity of their business.
Plan and adapt
These are uncertain times and it would do well for businesses to plan and adapt to the changing circumstances. While anticipating the future may not be possible, sufficient planning will help weather any storm with relatively more ease as compared to not planning. Insufficient planning may cost a lot for the business in the long run. Continuously reviewing and improvising your business process according to the situation will be effective.
Support your employees
Times like these are when your employees look to the upper management for support and assurance, especially with layoffs happening in several organizations. Offer your employees clarity on the situation and guide them accordingly. Employees need to be directed and informed about any changes in the business process, in order to perform efficiently.
Coordination is key
While working from home, communication with your employees is crucial. Therefore, organizations need to leverage technology to stay connected and coordinate with their employees. Online conferencing apps such as Zoom, Skype, and Slack can be used for effortless and efficient communication. You can schedule regular conferences online with teams to ensure productivity is maintained.
Plan for the recovery
Planning for the time of recovery when the pandemic has passed is as important as planning during the crisis. The business needs to bounce back to a state of normalcy and proper planning and execution will allow you to resume operations as usual and give you an advantage in the market.
Change your perspective
In the midst of a global crisis situation, changing your perspective and seeking out opportunities might be just what your business needs at this hour. For example, e-commerce businesses that supply essential items, opting for a contactless delivery system where the delivery person leaves the order on the customer’s doorstep can allow you to continue your business in an unhindered manner, whilst following the safety norms.
Identify consumer habits
As lifestyles have changed, so have consumer practices. Identifying the emerging consumer habits and their changing needs will allow you to alter your process accordingly, leading to customer acquisition and retention.
Be flexible in your strategy
Any business that is flexible in its approach and adapts quickly is the one that will hold its presence in the market for a longer period of time. Devising a strategy that is location-centric will prove fruitful. For example, if your business has a majority of customers in Delhi, you would need to analyse the estimated time period for the city to return to normalcy since some areas have more cases of COVID-19 than others.
Follow a sector-wise approach
Some sectors such as retail and transport are one of the worst-hit by the pandemic, implying that they may take longer to recover than other sectors. Your business strategy should be formulated and executed accordingly.
Innovation according to the scenario and demands
Innovation is one of the major factors for any business to flourish in the market. Innovating new items and updating your customers so that they do not hesitate to purchase the product will only help the business continuity.
Optimism is fundamental
Regardless of the situation, remaining optimistic about the future will boost the morale of the entire team. While the coronavirus cases may be on the rise, hope isn’t far away. For the time being, we can do what is best for everyone; staying safe by practicing social distancing and hygiene.
(The author of the article is CEO and Co-founder, Shiprocket)