As customer expectations and customer behavior continues to change, businesses must learn to closely observe and monitor these changes to be better able to adapt. For an eCommerce startup business to stay competitive, it is imperative to identify what has worked and to continue to partner with those ideas consistently.
A news report by Open PR says that the global eCommerce market is expected to grow from $2,080.13 billion in 2020 to $2,435.66 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate of 17.1%. This change is mainly due to companies stabilizing their output after catering to the exponential growth of demand during the pandemic in 2020. It is expected that the market will reach $4,072.09 billion in 2025.
These figures show a growth trend, but also a stabilizing influence as people learn to live and transact in a changed landscape.
What businesses must focus on now
Given their financial limitations, small businesses and startups are particularly vulnerable from threats to survival. Startups and small businesses involved in eCommerce can benefit greatly from partnerships with technical experts to address their financial limitations without affecting existing systems.
However, challenges may not always be financial limitations. They can also be internal issues such as poor operational management, ineffective eCommerce strategies, or even a disrupted supply chain, resulting in losing customers and business.
Customers want to feel safe and secure when conducting transactions, in keeping with social distancing norms. This includes navigating the website, researching for the products/services they need, and finally, exploring the payment options. While these are customer-facing business elements and are valid for all eCommerce businesses at all times (and not just during a crisis, such as the pandemic), there are other elements which may be on the back-end, but are just as critical to eCommerce business survival.
1. Ensuring supply chain is maintained
Given social distancing and the enforcing of restrictions on movement, eCommerce businesses are uniquely positioned to meet customer needs remotely. To be successful, the eCommerce business must be well-placed to ensure supplies are not disrupted.
For a startup or a small business, it is important to accept that supplies will be impacted negatively and to prepare for the situation. Start looking for multiple suppliers, including manufacturers if needed, for the products and services you offer. You can also communicate with your suppliers to understand the situation and to understand how best to continue supporting your customers without disrupting your current arrangements. Your suppliers will face challenges similar to your own, given the global nature of the pandemic.
You may not be able to control the situation or ensure supplies as before, but understanding and being prepared for obstacles and disruptions can help you better plan your strategy. You may want to address the shortage by communicating with your customers or you may need to innovate and look for other ways to ensure your business is not negatively impacted due to these disruptions.
2. Being prepared to diversify
When the pandemic hit, traditional brick-and-mortar businesses turned to technology to continue doing business, even if at a reduced scale. Innovation can boost business sustainability in the time of crisis. As supply chains get disrupted and timelines begin to be affected, businesses that can innovate and continue to provide relevance stand a better chance to survive and grow.
Being ready to adapt and embrace change, if needed, can help your business significantly. If you feel your current business is slowing or demand is reduced, review your offerings and client deliverables to check if your customer needs have changed. Focusing on customer demands can help you create products and services that are tailored for them. This helps reduce the burden on the business. Your business continues to deliver relevance while adhering to customer needs of safety, security in transactions, and social distancing.
Being prepared to diversify or extend your range of deliverables can help your business meet modified customer needs and save it from failing in a time of crisis.
Taking outsourcing assistance
Instead of setting up systems in-house for the purpose of innovating or meeting modified demand, reach out to an outsourcing provider or enter in an eCommerce startup partnership. This can help your business gain immediate access to infrastructure and other resources to meet demands.
Outsourcing services come with multiple benefits:
- Proven eCommerce expertise and experience. Reduced error and time-tested industry-specific insights.
- More reasonable costs when compared with in-house set-up of systems.
- Elimination of hassles associated with maintenance of software and hardware systems.
Globally, as people continue with their changed routines, it remains unclear as to how long the situation will last. Businesses need to accept and embrace change, and pivot to position for survival.
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