Running a successful emerging brand is challenging enough on its own, let alone when world events throw us curve balls like flesh-eating zombies, alien invasions or a mysterious pandemic. Yes, the coronavirus (COVID-19) won’t last forever, but it’s already swinging the stock market around like a yo-yo and canceling major events and travel across the globe.
According to Dr. Drew via CBS , the panic is not warranted, but is doing real damage to businesses worldwide: “Everything that’s going on with New York cleaning the subways and everyone using Clorox wipes and getting your flu shot, which should be the other message, that’s good. That’s a good thing, so I have no problem with the behaviors. What I have a problem with is the panic and the fact that businesses are getting destroyed, that people’s lives are being upended, not by the virus, but by the panic. The panic must stop. And the press, they really somehow need to be held accountable because they are hurting people.”
In fact, According to SmallBizTrends (citing a survey from Veem), “27% of businesses expect the coronavirus to have a moderate to high impact on their revenue. Another 30% expect the virus to have a moderate to high impact on their supply chain. Even more revealing, 52% say they are taking measures to prepare for an economic slowdown. They are increasing pricing, changing suppliers, decreasing operational costs or protecting cash flow.”
If you happen to be in the hand sanitizer or toilet paper markets, chances are you’ve just secured your retirement. For the rest of small and emerging ecommerce businesses, these are uncertain times laced with the kind of fear & loathing we usually see in the movies. But fear not, this too will pass, and in the meantime, Giant Propeller has your back…
The fact of the matter is, ecommerce emerging brands have enough daily hurdles to face on a GOOD day without the kind of panicked doom and gloom currently sweeping the media. The most common of which include:
Supply Chain & Inventory Management
Very few individual or small business entrepreneurs can afford to keep the kind of inventory needed to do the volume of business you’ll want to undertake to make it worth your time. In the initial stages, setting up an e-commerce website with the products you sell and having someone else manage inventory, shipping, and returns may be the more prudent option. This is where supply chain strategy becomes important. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy in any aspect of business and certainly not in supply chain management. To come up with solutions to work for you, begin by asking yourself the following questions: Will you manufacture or resell items? Will you keep an inventory or not? How much control do you want over the packaging and shipping? How critical is price control to your business model at this stage? What volumes will you be dealing in? These questions become all the more relevant when we consider that the COVID-19 / coronavirus has disrupted the supply chains for approximately 75% of U.S. companies.
Operations & Staffing
It may sound cheesy, but it’s true: teamwork makes the dream work. Attracting the right talent is crucial in order to achieve desirable ecommerce growth. Employees want to work for companies that care about them and their future. Do you offer the kind of company culture that people would want to work at for long periods of time? Your brand might be amazing, but if your culture isn’t, you’ll be going it alone.
Returns & Refunds
A survey by comScore and UPS showed 63% of American consumers check the return policy before making a purchase and 48% would shop more with retailers offering hassle-free returns. E-consumers are clearly conscious of return and refund policies. When a product is returned, whether due to a dissatisfied customer or damaged product, the business suffers a heavy loss in shipment and reputation. While it’s not exactly the sexy part of any business, returns and refunds are also a key part of great customer service. The best thing you can do is build a strong returns policy that is transparent and uses plain English so it’s easy to understand. Then be sure to educate your staff about your return policy, so they can assist customers effectively.
Customer Service & Experience
In today’s world, customers can reach out through any number of touchpoints. They may visit your website, contact your agent, leave a message on your social media page, shop from your store or contact you through a live chat or a messaging platform. As a result, any emerging ecommerce brand that isn’t moving toward an omnichannel retailing strategy will likely be left behind by its competitors. Up-to-date, visual engagement tools enable your company to serve customers across all touchpoints, channels, and journeys. Find out which channels are most important to your customers. Customer support staff should contact customers via their preferred channels, phone, email, live chat, video call, online help centers or in-app messaging. Integrate and optimize those channels, adding personalized messages and offering one-to-one interaction with live chat or video calling.
Technology & Agencies
Some emerging ecommerce brands may face scaling challenges because their technology is limiting them or they’ve hired the wrong partners/agencies to help them manage their projects. They must choose the right shopping cart solution, inventory management software, email software, CRM systems, analytics and so much more. In addition, hiring the wrong partners or agencies to help implement projects and campaigns can be detrimental to growth. As the old adage goes, “You’re only as good as the company you keep.”
Marketing & Sales
Likewise, having an amazing brand is great, but it’s all for not if you can’t properly manage your marketing and sales strategies. In order for emerging ecommerce brands to thrive, they need to define their brand identity, and then leverage it across multiple channels and platforms in targeted ways. Content marketing requires strong, and specific, copy and video creatives to communicate your brand in the most effective ways possible. Social media marketing is a huge, and often mismanaged, aspect of any marketing campaign. Then there’s email marketing, SEM, SEO and paid ads / media buying. Marketing is far above and beyond coming up with a catchy slogan or logo. These days, it’s akin to a digital chess board wherein multiple smart moves need to be made in order to achieve the desired results.
Feeling overwhelmed yet? Don’t. The best emerging ecommerce brands are scrappy and resourceful regardless of what’s happening in the world. But given the extra attention to detail you have to give your business 24/7 because of COVID-19 / coronavirus, now might be a good time to let an agency like Giant Propeller help you out. Think of us like your marketing doctors. We exist at the nexus of Brand Strategy, Content Production, and Media Buy. When you entrust your emerging brand with us, you have an entire team of dedicated professionals –– each masters at their particular skill sets -–– focusing exclusively on your brand’s needs. Overseeing the day-to-day of your business is a Brand Strategist / Creative Director, Media Buyer and Account Executive who ensure your brand’s growth and success.
Not to mention, by hiring Giant Propeller as your integrated marketing partners, we take the time, energy and cost out of recruiting and hiring marketing and sales departments. In fact, small business owners spend around 40% of their working hours on tasks that do not generate income, such as hiring. Between interviews, background checks, onboarding, training and payroll taxes, hiring extra staff to oversee these crucial needs can be a momentum (and financial) killer. We can take that off your plate and free you up to do what’s most important: leading your brand to prosperity.
The fact is, you have enough to worry about these days without the added burden of managing all of your sales and marketing efforts. That’s where we come in. The whole point of our Agile services is to help emerging ecommerce brands like yours thrive through their unique challenges –– and what could be more of a unique challenge than navigating this unpredictable market? Let’s connect and talk about how we can help you weather this storm and come out the other end stronger for it…