Businesses today are operating in unprecedented times. The growth of the coronavirus has impacted the global economy in ways we never thought possible. With people getting sick or fearing the risk of infection and stay-at-home orders across the country, business leaders feel like they are scrambling to find solutions to stay in business, keep their workforce employed, and make it to the other side of this global pandemic.
Most companies are moving to online stores and ways to make payments without needing to hand over physical cash. And moving to, or opening up channels in e-commerce has been the saving grace for many of these companies. Ecommerce merchant accounts and credit card processors could be what makes the difference in keeping your business afloat. Read more: what is a merchant account for ecommerce
Here are some of the most significant ways COVID-19 is impacting businesses:
The overall impact of the coronavirus does not impact all industries and businesses in the same manner. Even two nearly identical companies might experience challenges based on how their organization is managed and run.
For example, a small retail store could find that stay-at-home orders drastically impact the number of customers that come through the doors. In some cases, those doors may be closed due to state orders. Another company that sells the same products may have already opened an eCommerce merchant account. This business simply encourages customers to visit the online store instead of stopping by their physical location.
Some companies are also more inclined to work in an online or socially distant environment. They are able to make a transition easier than businesses that don’t translate well to a socially distant world.
The good news is that companies are being creative in how they reach customers, engage their bases, and make sales. These out-of-the-box efforts are paying off, but only if they have the appropriate eCommerce merchant services in place. Taking payments online or via an app not only keeps customers safe, but opens new doors to convenient shopping.
Businesses utilize a variety of marketing and advertising methods. Some of these methods aren’t as effective in a world where fewer people are able to leave their homes. Visual ads like billboards, signs, flyers, and bus stop or park bench advertisements aren’t going to have as many impressions as they once had.
There is also a drop in some forms of audio advertisements. While many people may have listened to the radio, podcasts, or SiriusXM on their commutes to and from work or for other errands, since these people aren’t leaving their homes as often, they simply aren’t listening to their favorite radio stations as often.
More and more companies are finding that online advertisements, social media marketing, and good old word-of-mouth efforts are making huge impacts. There is also room for creative thinking. Marketing, at its core, is about targeting your specific audience in a place that makes sense for them. Billboards or radio ads still might make sense if your customers are still out and about, but it definitely makes more sense to move towards television ads, app marketing, or another avenue previously unexplored.
While there is still a need to let your customers know that you’re in business and how they can reach you, if you’re not set up with an eCommerce credit card processor, you may have trouble actually taking orders.
With more people at home, not working as much, and having extra spare time, the internet is seeing an increase in people searching the web. While there are plenty of people using the internet mostly for entertainment value, people are mostly looking for information. This creates an opportunity for businesses to get noticed.
For many companies, search engine optimization (SEO) work is one of the first items to get cut when times are rough. Companies that haven’t figured out how to operate in a COVID-19 world may not see SEO efforts worth their time and money. Even companies that have reliable eCommerce merchant accounts or some other way to continue doing business might find that SEO needs should take a back seat. This line of thinking is a huge mistake.
With more people searching the web, companies can stand out more than ever before. A comprehensive content campaign can make sure people find them. For example, an aggressive blogging schedule gives customers and potential customers more chances to run across your website.
If you’re not sure how to optimize your site and content to make you stand out in web searches, there are numerous articles, videos, and even full-service companies that can point you in the right direction.
One potential downside of more companies moving to eCommerce merchant accounts is that more items are being shipped than before. Companies that rely on a quick turnaround for their goods to arrive at a customer’s home are frustrated by delays. Web traffic is up, and customers are looking to make a purchase without the hassle, but get discouraged when they see a longer shipping time than expected.
In some situations, companies are prioritizing essential goods. If your business falls under this classification, that could actually mean faster shipping times than you’ve had in the past. For the companies deemed non-essential, the wait can be painful, especially if there is a physical store nearby that has the items in stock.
There is no easy solution to delayed shipping times. Your company may want to investigate other forms of shipping or offer incentives that help clients accept the wait.
The most significant shift in business we’ve seen since the coronavirus hit has been companies moving to a business model that includes online options. More customers are browsing the web and shopping online than ever before and while online shopping was already trending before, there is still an entire population of potential new customers who have not experienced the ease of making their purchases from the comfort of home.
To ensure that your business is able to compete and grow in a stay-at-home world, you absolutely need to have an eCommerce credit card processor and merchant account. These accounts are what make it both possible and safe for your customers to make secure purchases on your website, via your app, etc.
Don’t let a pandemic cause your business to fall behind. Modern problems require modern solutions. Make the move to online and see your top line grow.