COVID-19 Forces Retailers to Move their Stores Online

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COVID-19 Forces Retailers to Move their Stores Online

Retailers are moving their businesses online because of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, not all businesses are ready for this. Some of these companies don’t have fully functional eCommerce stores, and some of them do not have eCommerce stores. 

Retailers who don’t have an eCommerce presence or have bad eCommerce stores have closed their physical stores for the time being and informed their customers accordingly. Although most national retailers are online, they don’t have a strong presence or do not even have fully operational eCommerce stores, and they are paying the price now.

It was not just small companies that missed out on the power of eCommerce. In fact, other big fishes are also in the same boat. DollarTree, TJX brands like Home Goods, Marshalls and TJ Maxx to Ross (Dress for Less) avoided e-commerce and have now halted their businesses entirely.

Amazon has Expanded its Business

While other eCommerce companies are struggling, you will notice that Amazon has expanded its business. Amazon uses the “last mile” delivery technology that was developed by JD.com founder Richard Liu. The company can deliver to anyone in America at any time. You can buy pretty much anything you need except for a car online, and Amazon can deliver to you quickly.

People who might have relied on certain retailers when they were out and about need to shop with Amazon because that is the only option they have at this point. Who is doing well even while everyone is quarantined, and who is not going to last much longer if they do not make a change?

Target, Walmart, and Friends are Performing Well

Target, WalMart, Macy’s, Best Buy, Williams Sonoma, RH, and Gap Inc. have been performing well because they already have an amazing eCommerce structure. This makes it much easier for customers to get all they need online, and they can have these items delivered to their homes in a few days. Customers know they can pack up their home with items from these stores, and they can even do home improvement projects with Home Depot or Lowe’s.

In case you were unaware, companies like Home Depot and Lowe’s actually sell more household items online than they have in the store. You could even get your kids a water bottle that is much cheaper because you found it with a company like Home Depot.

If you love to shop with your favorite department store, you can still buy from them online. You might even want to try the eCommerce site for Big Lots/Odd Lots. You can get everything you need, and you can buy some furniture from Pottery Barn that will spruce up your home because you decided this was the best time of year to make a change.

Who is Struggling?

A lot of companies are struggling online because they were never prepared to sell exclusively online. Of course, these companies could not have known that they would be dealing with a major pandemic. However, they were not prepared for any sort of shutdown. Imagine what would happen if you could not shop with certain stores because you cannot go there.

If you look at companies like DollarTree, TJX brands like Home Goods, Marshalls and TJ Maxx to Ross (Dress for Less), and others, they hardly sell online at all. They have avoided eCommerce because they want to pack their stores with cheap items. These stores are fun to shop in, but they are useless if everyone has to stay home. Burlington Coat Factory out of New Jersey is one of the hardest-hit places in the world for COVID-19, and they actually shut down their eCommerce division just before the outbreak. The company could not have made a worse choice, and they are scrambling to figure out how they can sell when they thought that their merchandising did not translate to online selling.

Aldi and Lidl are not selling groceries online because they never had the capacity to do so. These companies do not even compete with Kroger and Walmart, and they do not have any sales when their stores are closed. Even a simple eCommerce site would have been better than nothing. Dollar Tree (which owns Family Dollar) and its competitor Dollar General simply do not have the capacity to sell online, and they will lose business because they are often the best option for people who are trying to save money on food and household items.

What Should be Done?

If a company does not have any way to sell online, they need to make a change as quickly as possible. This is a good way for a company to find more revenue streams for the present, and they can keep those revenue streams when the pandemic is over.

Tie yourself to the Marketplace

To overcome the current situation tie yourself to a popular marketplace like Amazon, Alibaba, Etsy, eBay, and many other popular online retailers are available in markets that target wholesalers and end customers. They can definitely cut into your profit margins, but they can save you from losses at the same time. Your customer can see you in this pandemic situation and you can connect with your customers with minimal profit loss.

Strengthen your Business Online

Businesses which have an eCommerce presence but are not strong or fully functional should consider it right away. Do not miss out like some of the large retailers listed above. They were not prepared, but you can be.

Prepare your business so that you can pivot right now to sell items online that were once only available in the store. You cannot afford to take phone calls for these orders, but a system can be set up for shopping, to save customers time, and to allow you to process all payments and handle shipments as quickly as possible.

Take a break for a few days and strengthen your eCommerce store and work on the core of your business at the same time.  You can hire any mobile app development company or eCommerce development company who can jump in between and help you make these changes.

Look at ECommerce Options Right Now

No one has any idea when this will end. Once the government controls the situation and businesses reopen, customers will still be nervous and might avoid the brick and mortar stores. You are not late, you can prepare your business for the future, and you can expand your target area to overcome any current losses.

According to current studies, 40% of customers don’t have enough time to buy from physical stores. They prefer online shopping. In fact, to get better deals, some customers prefer online stores. Macy’s has 30% more online customers than they did before.

Costco is offering more incentives to increase their online sales. It is easy to search for products online instead of spending time in the store.