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Top Trending Products in the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Physical stores are closing their doors across the world due to the global crisis caused by COVID-19. Restaurants, bars, and clubs are suffering due to this global pandemic as people shy away from crowded public spaces. Malls are closing or forced to put in place social distancing procedures to help reduce the number of customers in the store at any one time. The effects on the economy, jobs, and oil prices have been devastating.
A record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the final week of March 2020; the highest previous record being 695,000 in 1982. This increased to over 6.6 million one week later.

47 million workers are being laid off in the world’s largest economy. A devasting number that will have a ripple effect on other regions as US consumers decrease spending.

Online Retailers to the Rescue


online shopping google trends
Online shopping trend over the past 12 months

In all this carnage one would think that the e-Commerce industry’s hour has arrived. And in most cases that is true. There has been a large spike in sales for what is seen as essential items, as worried consumers prepare for the worst. People have been infamously stockpiling toilet paper since the early days of the outbreak. Staples such a bread, eggs, milk and toiletries have helped boost essentials retailers’ sales by as much as 120% compared to the same period in 2019. Amazon & Wallmart has seen impressive sales with the supply chain buckling at times.

increase in home fitness equipment covid 19
Increased demand for home fitness equipment due to COVID-19

Sellars of home fitness equipment such as weights, home exercise bikes, yoga mats saw record sales as gyms shut down due to safety concerns.
The effects of forced social distancing have meant that people are looking at more ways to stay fit and fight boredom at home.

Products in demand for the home

Many parents are coming to terms with the new reality of having kids at home fulltime. The challenges of working from home and looking after one’s children have driven many parents up the wall. The sales of indoor and outdoor goods have seen an impressive spike in numbers with table tennis & pool tables being some of the popular items. Xboxes and Playstations have also been flying off the shelves.

Fears of a recession, or even the possibility of depression, are sparking an increase in sales for home and garden items. Especially the sale of seedlings and seeds such as tomatoes, spinach, and carrots has been popular with consumers. Two of the world’s largest producers of seeds has stopped taking new orders as demand spiked.

There has been a marked increase in sales of electric goods as shoppers rushed to buy laptops, printers, and desks to help improve their home office.
Interest and sales of remote working tools are up 150% YoY. Meeting tools such as Zoom burst onto the scene, eclipsing well-known industry favorites such as Skype and Microsoft Teams

Zoom vs Skype Search Trend 2020
Zoom vs Skype Search Trend 2020

The Biggest e-Commerce Losers

The fashion industry has taken a big knock in sales with a 51% decline compared to the same period last year. Luxury goods have experienced a similar slump in sales and many brands are canceling events and launches.

Online search volume for flights, hotels and accommodation bookings has been hardest hit. With the lockdown affecting over half the planet, the sector saw a decrease of 37% YOY. Omnichannel retailers(with both physical and online stores), has also seen a drop in sales with many forced to close.

The current environment will impact the world of offline and online sales for years to come. Many industries have been devasted that looked invisible a few months ago. For others more suited for social distancing, lockdowns and working from, it has become a boom time.

An Opportunity in the Disruption

There will be more economic shocks to come in the months ahead yet there will also be opportunities in the chaos. From the Choas comes new birth

Just take a look at the industries born out of the last economic crisis of 2008:

  • WhatsApp,
  • Groupon
  • Instagram
  • Uber
  • Pinterest
  • Slack
  • Venmo
  • Square

It makes one wonder what new innovative services or products will become “essential” in the years to come.

The Robot industry will potentially be one of the biggest winners. There has been an increase in demand for Service Robots in particular as companies look for contactless solutions. Delivery drones, autonomous guide robots, and cars even food preparation robots that will allow the food industry to operate 24/7. Flippy the Fast Food Restaurant Robot is one good example.

The e-Commerce world will have to adapt and get stronger but it will almost certainly play a significant part for the foreseeable future

What do you think will be the next big service or product in the e-Commerce space? Who will be the companies that take the initiative in the next decade? Tell us in the comments section below.

9 Tips To Optimize Your e-Commerce During Covid-19

9 Tips To Optimize Your e-Commerce During Covid-19

We believe that in these trying times it is best to focus on what you can do, instead of becoming overwhelmed. Small actions now could mean big results down the line, but more importantly, help to improve your current situation. When it comes to e-Commerce, small improvements can mean the difference between a positive cashflow and going bust. Retaining customers is of the utmost importance and it is far more cost-effective to retain and sell to a current customer than it is to convert a new one.

Improve Communication

Communicate clearly to your customers if you are still able to ship or if there will be delays. Inform them of any safety-related information such as hygiene protocols for packing and shipping and highlight how you go the extra mile to keep them safe. Inform them of any problems you might have and be transparent and clear about the challenges faces by your team and how you are solving them.

Shipping Discounts & Decreased Spending Threshold

Offer free shipping or shipping discount codes to your customers to help them reduce costs and increase conversion. Decrease your spending threshold or offer contactless shipping.

Shipping in the age of Covid-19

Contactless deliveries/shipping is where courier companies limit the amount of contact between courier and customer. Both parties are encouraged to maintain safe social distance at all times

Pivot your Product Offering

If you are a restaurant that’s been forced to close its doors to walk-in customers, look to pivot your food offering to meals that can be delivered, freshly made frozen meals that can be stored, or immune-boosting recipes that help those worried about getting sick. 

Include the ability for customers to send meals to those in need or close family members or activate the ability to send gift cards from your store to loves ones. Make it easy for customers to give during a crisis.

Innovate & Upskill

Look at ways your company can innovate with either a new product tailored for the current environment or for what will follow after. Don’t allow you and your team to be bogged down by fear. There is opportunity in every crisis and keeping your business strong and innovating is the best possible thing you can do for your community. We will need every business, large or small, once we are through this difficult time and getting your team through it successfully must be one of the properties. Study, learn, upskill your team as much as possible. 

“If you don’t educate yourself, you’ll never get out of the starting block because you’ll spend all your money making foolish decisions.”

DAYMOND JOHN

Update Your Return Policy for the Times

Returned goods must be handled with care. Protect your staff by quarantined goods for at least 10 days after being returned to make sure the goods are safe. Disinfect each item and make sure your staff have the proper gear to handle all goods carefully. 

Automate & Optimize

Look at ways your company can cut costs and save time by automating repetitive tasks. Use smart email tools like AWeber to automate your communication with clients by sending newsletters based on their purchase history or behavior. Schedule social media & blog posts ahead of time by bulk uploading when you have time. Use Upsell/Cross-sell apps that you can set up to help improve your cart size.

Improve and Speed Up

Do an audit of your e-Commerce site and check site speed religiously. Many apps that you install/uninstall leave behind code that slows down your site without you even knowing. Run speed tests on your site pages but not just the homepage. Be sure to run speed tests on your product pages to spot any redundant code. 

Use tools such as Searchanise Advanced Search to improve how your customers find products. It includes tools such as Zero results history, Terms that brought in the most sales, AutoCorrect when a customer spells something incorrectly and other powerful tools that help your customers find what they are looking for.

Increase content marketing and SEO

It is tough to keep the marketing budget going in difficult times. One might feel tempted to pause the Adwords account and sadly it is the time that your business needs it most. Focus instead of creating valuable content for your customers that you help you rank and help your customers find what they are looking for or help them solve a problem. Do an SEO audit to see where you are currently compared to your competitors and fix what is broken.

Research key trends in your region using Google Trends, compare the popularity for different search terms and use this data to optimize your content marketing strategy. 

Google trends online store vs ecommerce
Google trends is an excellent tool for decide on keywords, content topics or domain names

Find out about Government/Business Assistance in Your Region

Governments around the world are providing support for small businesses that are hit hardest by this epidemic. Find out as much as you can about what is available in your area and how to go about applying. There is no shame in asking for help during times like these. Ask your service providers of any discounts available or delayed payment options. Google for instance announced Adwords credits to all account holders to assist their customers during this time. 

Conclusion

It is hard not to feel depressed about the current state of the world, the markets and business in general. Yet one has to remain focused on the long term picture whilst keeping everything running in the here and now. Remain focused, keep innovating and optimizing and keep your business strong. If we all do this then the recovery will be so much quicker.

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