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There’s no doubt about it—today’s businesses are in survival mode. When COVID-19 moved in, consumers moved out of their stores. And if brick-and-mortar companies didn’t already have an eCommerce website to go along with their physical location, they were behind the curve.

Former eBay Inc. CEO Devin Wenig projected that the e-commerce share of total U.S. retail sales will have doubled from 11 percent in 2019 to 20 percent in the second quarter of 2020.

Is your business ready for this digital transformation?

A Marathon is Now a Sprint

Consumer buying behavior has changed significantly in recent months—and more than likely, forever. Online orders are booming. The electronics and IT sector has seen a 28 percent increase in order volumes during the coronavirus crisis, and grocery sales are 20 percent higher now than they were during Christmas 2019.

It’s clear that the pandemic will change eCommerce for good, as people who never shopped online before are now rarely heading to the store. will now shrink to a two-quarter-long sprint. This means companies that prioritized their physical location over digital sales are now facing a massive challenge. They can no longer afford to rebalance revenue with a measured approach over 3-5 years, as typically expected. Instead it’s an all-out sprint to eCommerce over 6-12 months.

But building an eCommerce platform will only move the needle part-way. It’s also critical to replicate the storefront shopping experience on that platform to maintain brand loyalty. So, how can you do that?

View Your Products from the Buyer’s Perspective

People may be forced to give each other space these days, but your brand cannot afford to be socially distant. You must move quickly to adopt an online-first mindset, connect with consumers, and focus on the products and categories that matter to them right this moment.

Smart brands are putting profit on the backburner and shifting their energy to meet real needs—and consumers are noticing. For example, it may be a deviation from the norm for a major fashion retailer to promote their loungewear line, but for the work-from-home world, it makes perfect sense. Other brands are offering curbside pickup for the first time. The largest corporations have re-tooled their lines to produce personal protection equipment.

While the latter isn’t realistic for most companies, there are still meaningful ways to adapt to the new sales demand:

  • For starters, if you don’t already have an eCommerce website, start building one now and make sure it mimics the same core brand experience
  • Deliver a seamless offline-to-online core brand experience
  • Monitor shifts in demand with current inventory and be flexible to swap product offerings in response
  • Make sure your digital shelves are appropriately stocked
  • Live chats, online videos – keep your personal experience but bring it online
  • Make customer service easy and effective

Work with a Proven eCommerce Website Designer

The migration to a new or scaled-up eCommerce platform can require significant time and resources. Businesses that make this a priority will not only future-proof their operations, they’ll build additional revenue streams in the process. Partnering with a trusted eCommerce website developer is your first step to success.