Covid-19 Is a Chance for Some Regional Merchants

The coronavirus pandemic is bad news. It’s closed down a significant portion of the world’s marketplace and killed far too many women and men. If, however, you’re prepared to hunt for a silver lining, the shutdowns and social distancing could be a chance for some brick-and-mortar businesses finally to find online.

Why No Ecommerce?

Most people in the retail industry understand the value of ecommerce. So, you might be asking, how do a thriving retail business do not have any ecommerce element? But they exist.

Oftentimes, these companies are midsize or small, powerful, and occupied enough that they just hadn’t yet developed an ecommerce presence.

“Going on the internet was something they had expected to perform, but it wasn’t something that they needed to do,” explained Mike Potter, the co-founder and CEO of Rewind, a cloud backup service with approximately 10,000 clients on Shopify and BigCommerce. Potter’s company has been on-boarding some new-to-ecommerce retail customers driven online by the pandemic.

“Their neighborhood business was effective,” Potter said. “They were doing great. It was not something they had to do out of necessity — to get online. It would have been a nice-to-have.”

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This scenario is not too tricky to comprehend. Imagine you have a retail shop or possibly a small chain of shops.

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Since the owner of a brick-and-mortar organization, you probably don’t have a lot of ecommerce experience. You may have some trepidation about hiring new people, spending money on new applications, taking hundreds or perhaps thousands of product photos, and implementing on an unknown number of distinct tasks.

In”normal” times, you have very little motivation to move your store’s products on the internet. You’re busy taking care of the customers right before you.

In”normal” times… You’re busy taking care of the customers right before you.

Another category of shop owners and managers are familiar with their businesses and lifestyle.

“In some cases, those merchants are not necessarily trying to cultivate their business in that way and add that complexity. So they’re happy just running the local store they have got. They are happy selling into the regional customers they’ve got. They know their customers, and they are happy with that.” Potter said.

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The coronavirus pandemic and its affiliated shop closures offer both a strong motivation to begin selling online.

The first of these”opportunities” — if we can call anything concerning the pandemic an opportunity — is a powerful and immediate reason to begin an online shop.

Around the world, brick-and-mortar shops are closing to reduce the virus’s spread.

Exactly the same small business owners and owners who did not have enough time or energy for ecommerce or who were simply not interested in growth are perhaps thinking,”‘Alright, my firm doesn’t work how it was working before. The customers that I had are no longer able to arrive in the store,'” Potter said.

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“Even if the store is open I think there is a general apprehension across American at least, probably Europe also, that people just don’t have to be interacting with other people currently. . .they’d love to be shopping online.”

“So I think it is more of a necessity now than it was formerly where it was possibly,’Yeah, that would be a terrific thing. We’d like to do this’ Now it has turned into a survival type of thing from the business standpoint,” Potter continued.

What is more, some retail firms might also have the time and people to find online today.

By means of example, all retail workers might be put to work (instead of furloughing them) adding products to a newly launched ecommerce site.

Photographing, for example, a couple hundred products and adding them to an ecommerce store is moderate work for an army of retail clerks with eight hours daily and a small focus.

Even if the first series of product pictures appear more like Snapchat posts than professional photography, the company will have made significant strides.

“We have a saying here in Rewind,” Potter said,”We don’t need to let perfect get in the way of better.”

Click and Collect

Merchants’ newly minted ecommerce stores may not originally ship goods. Rather, retailers can put their efforts into click-and-collect sales (what some call buy-online, pick-up in-store). The merchants would still be serving their regional customers but in a fresh way.

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