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7 Tips From Successful Multichannel Brands on How to Overcome COVID-19 eCommerce Challenges

7 Tips From Successful Multichannel Brands on How to Overcome COVID-19 eCommerce Challenges

There is no beating around the bush; the COVID-19 pandemic has affected a lot of us directly and indirectly, in terms of health, wellness, and economics – and a lot of you have reached out to us specifically about the business challenges you are currently facing.

There is no doubt that 2020 has brought with it a unique set of challenges, forcing a lot of us to make quick decisions and business pivots in terms of the products we offer, our logistic strategies, and the ways we approach customer service.

Below we address some of the biggest challenges multichannel business owners are currently facing.

Challenge 1: Drastically Reduced Revenue

One of the biggest challenges facing multichannel sellers in particular niches or those targeting specific markets this year is a drastic or complete drop-in product demand. This has been felt explicitly by B2B sellers who sell products to services that have been locked down – with some niches coming to a complete standstill.

Challenge 2: Inventory Sourcing, Management, and Delays

Unless you are exclusively manufacturing your products in-house, you’re probably having significant issues with inventories in 2020. COVID-19 has dramatically disrupted inventory flow, with a lot of brands running out of certain products more frequently, experiencing considerable delays in products from suppliers, or, in some cases, facing complete supplier shutdowns.

Challenge 3: Pivoting Marketing Strategies to Find Opportunities

Another challenge is adjusting marketing as the industry changes. This can be as simple as changing ad text so as not to seem tone-deaf to the current situation in the area you are marketing to or reviewing your whole marketing strategy from the ground up.

Challenge 4: Shifting Certain Business Activities From in-House to Online

The last big challenge many multichannel businesses are facing this year is shifting their backend business online. In some cases, this means moving admin tasks and teams online as they work from home during lockdowns. Or dealing with closed brick-and-mortar locations and having to put a bigger focus on online sales.

To help address these challenges you and other sellers and brands are facing, we put together this post of the 7 top tips on how to overcome these COVID-19 eCommerce challenges, collected from our most successful multichannel brands.

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1. Be Prepared to Wait it Out

In some cases, you may have no choice but to wait out lockdowns, service shutdowns, and niche slowdown. In some cases, such as those selling in travel gear niches, you will need to take a minute before you decide how to remarket products or include other products in your brand, that are in higher demand. For some, you will need to batten down the hatches and wait for your niche to open up. Something that TapeCase knows about all too well. Here’s their top tip on what brands in this situation should do.

“Hang in there and wait it out! Cut expenses and unnecessary overhead to the bone while you preserve cash and cash flow. Apply for PPP, whether you need it or not. Equally important, be honest with both your market and products. This means, despite your demand drops, keep your prices fair and offer top-shelf customer service. This means not quibbling over small things; in the end, a $10 allowance, even a $100 allowance not given, can snowball into a destroyed reputation.” 

While Nick from PCI suggests multichannel business owners should also be diversifying their revenue in a big way.

“We moved into investments in a big way to reduce our dependency selling; this includes looking at real estate investments.”

2. Start Exploring Other Product Niche Trends

Yes, the pandemic has brought a lot more challenges than opportunities, but that doesn’t mean opportunities don’t exist. If you’re selling to a target audience that will not be bouncing back any time soon or selling products that are just not moving, it may be time to pivot. This could mean opening up brand new categories related to your niche under your brand, which already has a good reputation. A good example of a brand that has done this is AHAVA, who developed hand sanitizers for their beauty and skincare brand.

7 Tips From Successful Multichannel Brands on How to Overcome COVID-19 eCommerce Challenges

3. Make Strategic Changes to Your Supply Strategies

A lot of businesses have either experienced or are currently dealing with shipping delays and factory shutdowns. There are two main ways you can deal with this:

  1. Find new suppliers or fulfillment services closer to home, or diversify your suppliers.
  2. Reduce shipping delays by looking at dropshipping options with your current suppliers.

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