As COVID-19 continues to unfold, we’ve discussed key questions each business should ask and key considerations and resources for Shopify & Google Ads merchants. With so much uncertainty happening in the world and a lot more questions than answers right now for many, large amounts of small businesses and e-commerce merchants are being hit the hardest by the economic downturn, geographic lockdowns and change in buying habits.
Nonetheless, during strong or uncertain economic times, there is one constant that keeps many e-commerce store owners up at night. Amazon. The top reason e-commerce merchants tell us why they want us to design/develop/optimize/consult on their store is “we want to become less dependent on Amazon and drive more sales directly to our site”. Makes perfectly good sense. More control over your customer’s experience with your brand and the ability to build an ongoing relationship with them through a platform like Klaviyo is the golden path to increasing customer lifetime value, scaling and building brand equity to defend against Amazon.
This might be the moment many small e-commerce stores have been waiting for. Amazon continues to not be shipping non-essential items via Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA), we’ve heard that shipping delays/out-of-stocks could be a problem for months to come and they’ve cut a heavy majority of their ad spend on Google & other platforms. This creates the perfect storm of opportunity for non-essential businesses that still fulfil a demand/need in the current marketplace to capitalize.
Outlined below are some options small and/or scaling e-commerce stores should consider while Amazon temporarily poses less of a threat.
Offer Free Shipping
If you can weather this financially (think customer lifetime value - not just individual transactions), there’s a win-win here. With many households being devastated financially, every dollar matters and offering free shipping helps some of those families directly. For your business, it eliminates the #1 reason users abandon carts and you give them every reason to buy directly from your store and nowhere else.
Avoid 3rd Party Sales Marketplaces
If you’re looking only at top-line revenue this will create short-term wins and excitement but also could be very short-sided. Increasing your customer lifetime value (CLV) and scaling your brand with sustainable growth is truly what moves the needle and is the strategic approach to long-term gains. This is an opportunity to create a robust sales funnel and build a relationship with your audience which is extremely hard to do if you don’t have direct access to your audience and their analytics (e.g. email address, buying habits, etc.)
Increase Your Ad Spend
Avg. cost-per-click has dropped substantially across most digital marketing platforms with the absence of Amazon spending on ads. If you haven’t done any online marketing - now might be the time to start. If you’re already spending, consider increasing your budget.
Run A Promotion
Offer a store-wide discount, Buy-one-get-one (BOGO) or free gift promotion. Getting a potential customer to make their 1st purchase with you can go a long way now more than ever as you may be able to shift their buying patterns and use your store as their preferred source for specific products.
If You Have An Audience List - Talk To Them
If you already have a growing audience, let them know you’re a small business and that if they have the ability to support your business during these tough times for everyone, you’d appreciate it. It’s amazing what a little reminder once in a while can do that there are humans behind the email.
Nobody knows exactly how long these shifts in buying habits and Amazon’s shift of focus will last. Hopefully, not too long. But if you are a small e-commerce store that’s fortunate to have a viable, non-essential product that consumers want in our current environment, seize the opportunity to grow your business before the sleeping lion awakes.
Stay safe out there and chip in anywhere you can. We’re literally all in this together.