The effects of the COVID pandemic are being felt by everyone across Australia and internationally facing financial stress due to extended lockdowns and health restrictions.
eCommerce businesses might not have had the operational side of the business affected significantly. However, online sales are taking a dive due to the slowdown in spending.
“COVID has been tough for many sectors, including eCommerce,” explains Allen-Fu, the co-founder of CheekyGlo, an online beauty business which launched during the lockdown.
“Many people think that eCommerce has had an easy ride through COVID but online spending has been affected by COVID. People are simply spending less money on everything.”
There are a few things you can do to ensure your online business grows in a tough time.
Tip 1: Think BIG, like CRAZY BIG
Founders are often limited by their own imagination. As a CEO or founder you have an important job. You need to cast the vision of the organisation to your staff and customers.
“Think so big that you scare yourself! When you do this, you become creative with solutions and are forced to think outside of the box and inspires your team to be more creative.”
“Whatever you want to achieve this year, times it by 10. We elevated our vision from $200,000 of revenue in our first year to $2 million in our first year. Even though we probably won’t achieve it, we will easily be five times better than our original goal,” said Allen-Fu.
By expanding your goal even if you don’t reach it, you’ll always outdo your original target.
“Shoot for the stars and if you miss at least you’ll land on the moon. Continue to do what scares the crap out of you. It will force you to get creative with solutions!”
Tip 2: Marketing: Test, test and test again
Experimentation is a start-up’s best friend. Marketing is key for growth. There is no point to having an amazing product if no one knows it exists, or knows how to buy it.
“The COVID-19 global pandemic has created a fast changing social landscape with surges in online traffic. Although this is positive, it does eat into a company’s advertising returns.”
“Additionally, new privacy laws continue to hurt returns of paid ads,” explains Allen.
Large social media companies have been bombarded globally in recent years with privacy law changes which leads to reduced targeting capacities and use of data for the advertiser.
We used to rely on the smarts of these social media companies to deliver content to the right people with deadly accuracy like a sniper but now advertising looks more like throwing a net into an ocean and hoping we land the right species of fish amongst hundreds.
We need to create more data through our campaigns, social media engagement and insights. With less access to consumer data, our paid advertising is less accurate and data is everything.
Many new businesses who solely rely on paid advertising on specific platforms like Instagram and Facebook to generate traffic and revenue are struggling to stay profitable.
To expand on these Allen recommends testing additional platforms and increasing content.
“There is a variety of popular social media platforms on the internet that you can experiment with. Its advisable to start testing content on TikTok, Pinterest or Little Red Book.”
“There is no honour in assumption in marketing. That’s why virality seems so random.”
“But since virality is the goal of every business in the digital era, there is no harm in experimenting with different platforms and styles of content,” said Allen-Fu.
Additionally, continually experimenting with your operational systems and processes is a good idea. There are always ways to increase output and be more efficient.
“Trial new methods in all aspects of your operations from product manufacturing to team communication. Be creative and bold with your experiments as there is no one size fits all.”
Tip 3: Be super bullish with your content creation
It is definitely safe to say that we are consuming more online content than ever before. Traffic on social media platforms is increasing, as is people’s screen time.
“Create as much content as you and your team can. Content creation is the future of e-commerce in the sense of advertising and also to create an identity for your brand.”
Creating a brand identity will help you stand out from your competitors.
Brand identity helps people connect with your product or service on an emotional level, giving customers a reason to choose your brand, not just once, but time and time again.
“The more content released, the more of an advantage you give to your business and brand.”
“At CheekyGlo we have created our own inhouse mini studio to take pictures and film videos, and edit them immediately. We provide real-time social media content to our followers about product launches and business updates. Plus, we keep them entertained.”
Content creation will help your brand stay at the forefront of your customer’s mind.
“Even though it’s a challenging time, don’t be disheartened or give up. Continue to think big, be innovative and keep creating,” concluded Allen-Fu.