(This Strategy Works For Other Industries as well)
Day 3 of our nationwide lockdown and it's becoming difficult to stay positive and focused. Your business goals might be way down on your list of priorities. All you feel like doing is spending time with your family and catching up on your Netflix watchlist.
Both those things are important. Yet, there is one thing I know for sure - we will get through this crisis.
After this economic recession, like always there will be an economic boom. E-commerce will be one of the first industries to recover from the lockdown. Will you be ready with a strategy to come back better and bigger than you were before?
Here are the Top 4 Things You Need To Do If You Are An E-Commerce Business to survive this pandemic.
1. Remove Your Mental Barriers
The first step is to look within. Remove those mental barriers you've built up so high. You know what I'm talking about - it's easy to fall into a vortex of panic.
You might convince yourself that the best thing to do right now is, to shut shop completely and pray for a better tomorrow.
The experienced amongst us know now is the time to take action and prepare for a post coronavirus world. Where e-commerce businesses will have to re-establish their positions in the market. Now is the time where you can stay one step ahead of the competition and the mindset of panic.
Now is the time where fast fish can eat the big fish.
People have always bought and they will continue to buy, even during and post this lockdown. Don't try to convince yourself otherwise.
2. Disrupt The Disruption
Courier companies fail to operate during this time.
The Indian Government has said that it will allow the delivery of "Essential Goods". Yet, the ground reality shows that last mile deliveries are completely disrupted.
Most of us sell non-essential items so even if last-mile delivery is successful it's likely that most sellers will not be able to full-fill orders.
While most of your competition will shut their ads and wait this out. You should know, that shutting your ads has larger implications than not getting sales. Such as higher CPMs when you restart.
That will be the last thing you need as margins are most likely to reduce when markets re-open. The cooling down of your pixel is another possibility.
This would completely throw off your middle of the funnel and retargeting campaigns.
Solution Lowering your ad budgets is a good idea if you are a bootstrapped brand. If you have a little bit of capital you can risk, I would suggest keeping daily budgets stable.
Once you've adjusted your budget (or not). Change your "Buy Now" button to say "Book Now" or "Pre-Order Now" and allow customers to complete checkout.
Ensure that your product page and confirmation Email/SMS mentions.
"The order will be delivered once courier services resume"
You should estimate a 30% cancellation on Cash on Delivery Pre-Orders. So you can budget for the same when you are making your ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) calculations.
Pre-Paid order will have a 100% delivery rate as long as you communicate delivery times. Go a step further by creating an email sequence that assures your customers that their order is confirmed. It's best to use great copy here and empathise with your customers.
3. Plan B : Staying Warm & Building Your Brand
I have already talked about the major issue in shutting down your ads - your warm pixel becoming cold. If you must shut them down you should remember to keep your pixel warm.
What do I mean by that?
Your Facebook Pixel is at the heart of your ad performance and if it stops recording events (like page views, add to carts, and purchases) and it has no traffic you will be unable to effectively maintain your Middle of the funnel customers (the customers that know you and might be about to purchase) because you will no longer be able to retarget them once you restart your ads.
You could solve this issue by extending the retarget audience timeline but this would mean editing all your campaigns and if they are CBOs they will all re-enter the learning phase and that is no fun.
It's very possible that in this time you will lose your reputation as a high spending account with hence, causing the algorithm to favour your competition.
Solution: If you don't want to continue running your 'conversion' ads which are your high spending ads shut them down, but create campaigns with the 'traffic' objective and drive traffic to your store. This campaign could land users on a freebie, blog or any other engaging content. Once the users reach your site entice them to submit their email. Make sure that the content you choose is relevant to your Niche and your Target Audience.
This ensures that you stay in touch with your customers and that you drive healthy traffic to your pixel to make sure the unforgiving Facebook algorithm continues to favour you. The content you post during this time should resonate with your customers in current times and should have more of a care-giving tone than a selling tone.
4. Use Low CPMs To Prepare For High CPMs
As you are probably aware that most brands have lowered their ad spends and only brands with a plan continue to spend. There are not many of these brands, that being said, I'm hoping that you are now one of them.
This means that during the COVID-19 lockdown Facebook is overstocked with ad space if you know basic economics you probably would've guessed that this means lower CPMs ( Cost Per Thousand Impressions) for now. However, when the lockdown is over all brands will start advertising aggressively trying to make up for lost time skyrocketing CPMs across the board.
Solution Run your ads like mentioned above either conversion or traffic campaigns, and ensure that you have a robust retargeting and email database to capitalise heavily on when the lockdown is over. This means using cheap CPM times to warm up your audience with product and brand centric content bringing them in your retargeting funnel and aggressively hard-sell to them during high CPM times. This will lower you Ad costs drastically when the lockdown is over in comparison to your competition, allowing you to give better offers which ensures even higher conversion rates.
AND THAT'S HOW YOU CRUSH IT! with your e-comm business during the lockdown. We cannot control the situations around us but we can control how we react to them so chose to react swiftly.
Ensure that you stay in touch with the courier service providers and get updates on when you can ship, if your staff does enter the warehouse ensure proper sanitisation, protective and social-distancing measures.
Ship as soon as you can and keep your customers updated.
Stay Home. Stay Safe. Stay Hungry