U.S. e-commerce sales grew more than 30% between the first and second quarter of 2020, according to quarterly figures released by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Despite the largely negative effects that COVID-19 has had on businesses, American’s spent roughly the same amount of money this year as they did last year. Meaning that despite some of the extreme effects the virus has had on people personally, the effect on businesses across the country, and overall economic impact, consumers have spent about the same amount on goods & services regardless. There has been however one major shift in HOW that money is being spent.
Consumers spent 30% more online in 2020 – compared to 2019.
The data provides the latest picture of how the coronavirus pandemic has turbocharged a shift to e-commerce for many Americans. The shift to online spending happened almost immediate as consumers were huddled in-doors for shelter-in-place and stay at home orders we’re enacted around the country. As people became leary of being umongst large crowds and shelves at grocery stores thinned out, they started going to the internet to get what they needed.
This caused a major, sudden shift for businesses around the United States. As if over night, big businesses and local businesses alike had to scramble to ensure that they could take care of customers that they no longer could see in person. Companies who were already dominating online gained even more of an advantage. Amazon, for example, has seen a more than 77% rise in their stock price in 2020 alone. While local business, who aren’t well equipped to service customers in an online-only setting had to scramble in order to service their customers.
Can your business grow online & compete – in this digital age?
Never before have local businesses had to work so hard to be able to compete online for business. COVID-19 has forced almost all local businesses – if they weren’t online or we’re just dabbling in it before the pandemic – to be suddenly very fluent and able to compete in the online space. For the businesses that can’t adjust, it will be a long road ahead to maintain their current level of business in this environment.
For the business that DO take advantage of this new digital age, they could see themselves gaining a huge lead on the competitors they have that don’t do anything. So, the question for your business is simple: How can my business grow online & compete in today’s environment? We have the answers.
COVID-19: What My Business Should Be Doing…
We actually have an entire article dedicated to this called, “COVID-19: What Should My Business Be Doing?” which you can read by clicking here. But here are the cliffnotes for the TL;DR crowd…
- Update Hours on Your Website, Social Media & Google My Business: It’s never been more important to let your customers know what’s happening with your business at this moment. Are you open? Are you closed? Have your hours changed? Make sure customers know what to expect right now.
- Your Website is Open 24/7 Online: This is by far one of the most important things that customers should know from you. That they can look at your products & services on your website, maybe (depending on your website) they can buy said products & services on your website, and that they can reach you digitally by sending you a message on your website & social media accounts.
- Sell Your Products & Services Digitally: Promote your online store on your site as much as you can. This is the best way your business can still make money right now (especially if your doors are closed).
- Payment & Donation Forms: If your website has any type of payment forms or donation forms (especially for non-profit organizations & churches) you really need to be promoting the fact that people can utilize your website to do this.
- Gift Cards: If you’re a business that does gift cards – especially all of the restaurants & bars right now – it’s an amazing time to promote gift certificates. It gets people excited about the next time they will be able to leave the house. It also can push some sales for your business while you otherwise would not be making this revenue.
- Curbside Pickup or Delivery: If you’re a business that has a type of product that you can offer curbside pickup, let customers place their order on your website. This way your business gets a notification for each order, you can prepare the order, and know who’s picking it up & when. Honestly, this process is starting to become almost second nature to customers right now.
- Social Media:
- Share Updates About What’s Going On: The best thing you can do right now is share updates with your social media following about what’s going on. Whether that be updates about what you’re doing while closed, if you’re remodeling the business or doing something special while closed, or if you’re just bored and want to say hi & thanks for your business to customers from the past. Any update is good to remind your customers you’re still here.
- Answer Questions: A lot of people have been messaging businesses they frequently use with questions about hours or if they are still providing “this service” or “that service”. Make sure you’re communicating with every single customer that asks questions, whether as a comment on a post, a post to the page, or a direct message to your business.
- Post Creative Content: This seems like the hardest one. It’s easy to just say, “be creative” and a whole lot harder to actually be creative. What I mean by this is actually more simple than it sounds. Every business is going to post “Happy Easter” or “Happy National Beer Day”. That’s not creative & it has nothing to do with your business directly. Getting creative means doing a fun type of video or image, that can highlight your products and services. This can help you stand out.
- Go Live! Okay. This one might sound intimidating. But going live is a pretty great way for your business to gain attention. When you go live, typically a large number of your followers get a notification that you’re going live. Which means you can gain a lot of attention by doing this. Just make sure you have a good update or marketing idea for when you do go live. I’d recommend going live to highlight some of the products you have for sale on your website! This way it promotes those products and hopefully drives people right to your website!
- Virtual Communication: If you provide services to your clients, you can still meet with them. As alluded to earlier, Zoom is a great platform for free conference calling. If you have Google, we recommend & use as a company Google Meet. Of course, there is always FaceTime and old-fashioned phone calls as well. Overall the point is that you can still meet with your clients & potential clients digitally.
- Facebook & Instagram Advertising: You should be spending more than you typically do right now on your advertising on these platforms. Why? Facebook has reported that they’ve seen over a 50% increase in activity. For a site that already was one of the most visited sites in the world, that’s a massive increase. Meaning that never has there been a better time for your business to get maximum exposure than advertising on Facebook & Instagram. We’re here to help you advertise on the platforms if you want to make a big splash!
- Google Advertising: You should be spending more than you typically do right now on this advertising platform as well. People are searching now more than ever. As stated above, there has been a 30% increase in all traffic on the web. Meaning more and more people are online right now. Take advantage of this moment by promoting your products & your online store.
- Service-Based Business: The big debate with advertising on Google right now is while people are still searching for your services, how would they book an appointment with me? For example, if I’m a Heating & Cooling company people aren’t exactly eager to let me in their homes, let alone book an appointment online. My recommendation is to still advertise your business, promote your offers, and take in leads to your website. If you won’t be able to set up an appointment with them for 30+ days, let them know on the website. That way before they fill out a lead form/appointment request on your website, they know what to expect. The best part about this is that it gives you leads to act on when we “return to normal”.
- 5-Star Reviews: A great way to give your business a leg-up right now is for you to reach out to your best customers and ask them to leave you a 5-Star review on all the platforms that matter most to your business. Google, Facebook, HomeAdvisor, TripAdvisor, Yelp – any platform that you need great reviews on. Now is the time to ask your customers for it. Getting more reviews right now will help your business in the long run
…and Web Centre can help you do it all!
For most businesses there is NO WAY you could do all of this by yourself. That’s where we come in! We have been helping businesses grow online for over 11 years now and can help you with:
- Web Design & E-Commerce
- Google Advertising
- Facebook Advertising
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Live Chat
- & Graphic Design
And of course ALL of our services come with a completely free quote so you know what the cost of each are. Click here to get the process started and talk to one of our amazing team members!