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If you thought Americans had an online shopping problem, wait until you see the latest numbers.
According to a recent eMarketer survey, e-commerce is expected to grow by 18 percent in 2020. New consumers joining the online shopping frenzy and an increase in click-and-collect delivery options like the curb are responsible for the surge.
As expected, companies across the country have taken steps to capitalize on this digital boom. In recent months, popular hand sanitizer pumping distilleries have emerged, and live entertainment is becoming virtual.
With a little ingenuity, it's possible to keep the lights on and even grow your business amid the pandemic. Use these creative ideas to get the wheels running and imagine how these innovative solutions could impact your bottom line before the end of 2020.
Video by default
In the age of TikTok and live streaming, video is king. Shelter-in-place orders have all but ceased in-person activities, so companies have turned to online video options to help make their plans a reality.
Translating live events into video-based events may be less personal, but it has many marketing benefits. Digital events allow you to meet consumers where they are – at home – instead of inviting them into your room, making them more accessible. Posting the video online will extend the life of the event and expand the potential audience. Hosting a free event provides marketing goodwill, and a paid event can be profitable.
In addition to live events, think about how you can transform your personal shopping experience into an appealing digital one. A fabric store in San Antonio used its buying experience virtually via Facebook live videos. A number was assigned to each fabric and a staff member presented each option to the audience during the event. To purchase, customers could specify the fabric number and the desired mileage.
How can you digitally connect with your customers while offering a fulfilling experience? Take some tips from entrepreneurs in all industries who have used video to creatively reach their audiences.
Virtual conferences are all the rage. Musicians use Facebook and Instagram to stream live performances. Bookstores sell tickets for virtual book talks and send printouts of the books to customers before the event. Ballet companies are streaming performances on YouTube for free and may be gaining a new fan base. With a little creativity, the possibilities are endless.
Related Topics: How Your Business Can Create Professional Videos on a Budget
Offer essentials online
Not all companies need a physical point of sale to be successful. Nurx, a telemedicine company that pioneered easy-to-use, accessible healthcare, has seen a significant increase in birth control requests since early March.
After completing an online enrollment form and virtually communicating with a doctor, Nurx patients can have a variety of prescriptions delivered directly to their doorstep. The elimination of a doctor's office and pharmacy visit is attractive, especially now that the CDC guidelines recommend the use of telemedicine and postpone routine care whenever possible.
Despite the reopening of many cities, consumers may not feel safe as they head off as usual amid the rising case numbers. While your business may not be as internet-friendly as Nurx, you should consider some essential services that you can provide online and through video services. Most of all, make it your business to get your inventory and brand online.
Related: Starting a Digital Business? There are common pitfalls to avoid here
Choose a partner
When there was a significant drop in foot traffic at a Missouri farmers market that season, the market vendors decided to band together. Together they started online orders from curated market boxes that combined goods from different companies. The boxes were a hit and still sold out regularly.
Everyone wants the US economy to have an epic comeback story, and when we work together, consumers and entrepreneurs alike win. Consider adding bundles of local goods to your online store. For example, if you're selling beer, offer a basket that goes with local snacks. If you're planning on trying the video events route, see if you can bring in other local businesses or artists to sweeten the pot.
Related: How 5 Business Owners Thrive During The Pandemic
Get it to go
National brands have had great success this year with their delivery and pickup options. Walmart's e-commerce sales rose 74 percent in the first quarter thanks to its robust online options such as grocery collection and delivery of goods. However, your company doesn't have to be a mega-brand to benefit from the click-and-collect trend.
Anyone can offer roadside pick-up – bonus points for being contactless. It doesn't have to be fancy. You don't need an app or a complicated user interface. In fact, you don't necessarily need a website.
Just let customers call ahead and place an order over the phone. Gather their payment information for easy roadside collection once they arrive. Go further and designate an outdoor pickup box or shopping cart to place orders when customers are on the go.
Before COVID, consumers probably wouldn't think twice about local pickup or curb options from their favorite small businesses. Now it is a critical question that they are asking. Providing these services encourages customers to shop locally and from you. Offering flexible collection can make the difference between consumers shopping from you or your competitor.
Related: Why Curbside Pickup Is Right For You
There has never been a more lucrative time for e-commerce. You are missing out on potential profits if you are not present in digital shopping. If the film industry can completely redefine its business model and profit online, so can you.