Running ecommerce business smoothly amid the COVID-19 pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has gained massive scale with more than three million cases across the world. The global economy has witnessed a major downfall with business continuity being impacted immensely. Several countries have imposed stringent measures to contain the transmission of the virus among the masses.
India imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 24, which was subsequently extended till May 17. As the country enters the extended lockdown period with only essential goods being available, businesses have requested employees to work from home, and some have been shut down temporarily.
Some industries have been hit harder than the rest, owing to the pandemic. For example, companies in the travel, retail, hospitality, transport, and logistics sectors have seen a downfall. With social distancing becoming the norm, several ecommerce businesses for non-essential items were temporarily suspended.
While the Indian government has considered resuming certain services, maintaining business continuity during such unreliable times is the key to sustaining the business in the long run.
Here are 10 ways in which you can continue to carry out business seamlessly amid the lockdown.
Communicate with your employees
When facing challenging times, employees will look to the management for assurance and support. While it may be difficult to keep the whole organisation updated about every detail, communicating with your employees regularly is important to establish the trust and assure them that they are not alone in facing the crisis. Clear communication and updates regarding employees’ work and where the business stands currently is essential.
Plan for resuming business
Although determining the exact time frame when the pandemic will pass and the crisis will end is difficult, planning for the future is crucial. Formulating strategies to bounce back to normalcy will help businesses regain stability once the crisis has passed.
Seek out opportunities
Understandably, these are unprecedented and arduous times. Despite ecommerce businesses taking a hit due to the pandemic and the lockdown, if your business supplies essential items such as food and groceries, then there would be an increased demand for your services.
Contactless delivery could also ensure that your customer base is maintained.
Seeking out opportunities and making the best of the situation will allow your business processes to continue smoothly.
Reallocate your employees
Ecommerce businesses are bound to have employees who cannot perform certain tasks from home. For example, the support team will need to step outside to complete their tasks. When there is a spike in demand, it would be best to reallocate employees and divide the tasks among them.
Innovation is key
It is often said that innovation keeps businesses running, and with good reason. Aside from maintaining continuity of your business, you can also focus on innovating new things. Innovative services will help keep your business afloat and give your customers something to look forward to.
Leverage technology to stay connected
Collaborating with your partners and employees is necessary. Technology has digitised almost all aspects of life, and today, staying connected regardless of the situation is fairly simple. Utilise apps such as Zoom, Skype, and Google Duo to stay digitally connected.
Identify new consumer habits
The lockdown implies that people will remain within their homes. This is bound to change their consumption habits. For example, OTT platforms such as Netflix and Hotstar witnessed a major rise in consumers since the lockdown was imposed. Identifying emerging consumer behaviour will help you understand their needs and cater to them in a better way.
Devise location-based strategies
A flexible approach to your business process will keep the workflow going in an unhindered way. It is important to devise strategies based on the location. For example, states such as Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have reported the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country, and hence, may take longer to stabilise. Meanwhile, prioritising other cities will also allow you to maintain business continuity.
Adopt a sector-wise approach
Some sectors are hit harder than the rest. For example, the transport and retail sector may take longer to return to normalcy. So, basing your approach on the sector will allow you to plan accordingly and continue your business.
Optimism is everything
Last but not least, stay optimistic. Despite the gruelling times, hope is something you should never give up. Remaining optimistic will greatly raise the morale of your entire organisation. At present, it is important to practice safety by following social distancing rules and personal hygiene.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)