Millions of people are now largely confined to their homes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and many of them have turned to Amazon for household staples, groceries, and medical supplies in large numbers.
As you may be aware, Amazon announced on Tuesday that in the USA, it would no longer accept items other than essential goods at its warehouses until April 5, to keep up with the surging demand.
The unprecedented action will immediately affect millions of third-party sellers and vendors. Now, let’s answer some burning questions regarding what e-commerce brands can do to either thrive or cope during the COVID-19 disruption.
What should you do if your business is impacted negatively?
In the wake of rising demand for pressing products, businesses selling non-staple products will have to tread carefully. Here are the steps you can take if you fall into this category:
- Realign your marketing budgets
- Focus on your bottom line instead of driving your top line
- Prioritize core products and reduce experimentation
- Delay any new product launches in the pipeline
- Maximize your average sales per order (ASP)
- Purchase intent at the moment is governed by demand
- Lucrative pricing will not result in a significant jump in sales
- Maximize your ASP by reducing discounts
- Realign on your inventory plan
- Account for the logistical bottlenecks as a result of transport routes being quarantined
- Take stock of product shortages as a result of dynamic sales velocity
- Avoid blocking significant working capital by restructuring your inventory plan and manufacturing operations (especially important for businesses that rely on contract manufacturers)
- Introduce a new shipping strategy
- Find alternate ways to fulfill orders – pair up with reliable and cost-effective third party delivery/shipping partner (since Amazon will still sell non-essential items of sellers who are willing to store and ship on their own)
- Determine contingency plans for warehouses/storage spaces (for sellers who usually fulfill orders by themselves)
What should you do if your business sees a surge in demand?
With Amazon’s 750,000+ employees focusing on essential items, and another 100,000 being hired to help, goods may still ship on time and reach those who need it most. Here’s what you can do if you sell daily essentials:
- Go aggressive on scaleup
- Track relevant data to identify opportunities for increasing your revenue
- Use all possible levers such as promotions (deals, coupons, etc.), paid ads, etc. strategically to get additional visibility for your products
- Target direct competition, substitutes, and complementary products as well as keywords
- Exercise fair play
- Pricing pressing products excruciatingly high is not ethically right in a time when everyone is resorting to online stores for their daily supplies
- Engage in fair play by charging for the true value of the products to the consumers
What should you not do as a business in times like these?
- Map your product to an inaccurate category
Amazon is taking steps to de-list products that have been recently moved to an incorrect category
- Share misleading information
Do not make false claims for the products as Amazon is tracking changes and penalizing such business (Blacklisting and even account deactivation in some cases)
- Indulge in price-gouging
Amazon is cracking down on objectionable listings with steep prices in an effort to condone severe hike in prices
Having said this, while redeveloping time-bound strategies for your Amazon business is critical right now, ensuring your employees stay home is all the more important – as they are your real assets in the long run!