Over the last few months, sellers across every online channel have been impacted by a variety of challenges and roadblocks resulting from the rise of COVID-19 in the United States and around the globe.
These unprecedented times have made it difficult for businesses to anticipate what was to come in terms of policy changes and closures. Some experienced supply chain disruption. Others saw warehouses close. And others watched as their inventory went out of stock on marketplaces and were unable to replenish the supply.
Some anticipate a second wave of COVID-19 in the coming months, and you may be wondering how you can prepare for a second set of challenges.
Below are a few strategies across the main aspects of your marketplaces business that you can begin planning and implementing today:
- If you have previously been on the fence about launching additional marketplaces or additional countries on existing marketplaces, this may be the perfect time to pull the trigger on growing your footprint within e-commerce. Increasing the number of sites and locales you are selling on eliminates your dependency on any one site, which, in turn, causes fewer concerns in the event any one marketplace makes an unforeseen decision that can impact your business.
- Consider which of your vendors may be at the highest risk of being unable to supply certain products in the event of a second wave of closures. How would your business be impacted if you could not sell those items for an extended period of time? Have a conversation with your vendors on their emergency preparedness plans and what you can both do to prepare for a similar type of event in the future. Similarly, it is advisable to consider geographically diversifying your vendor relationships, if possible. This will reduce risk to your overall supply chain in the event one area of the globe is heavily impacted at any given time.
- This is also a good time to confirm that you are subscribed to and receiving notifications from each of the marketplaces you are selling on. These notifications will ensure you are in the know in the event of any updates to policies or requirements. Subscribing to industry newsletters and blogs will also expose you to trends for your category and help you understand how you compare to others in your space.
- Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, we have seen a downward trend of general advertising spend. When considering the future, preparing a “Plan B” advertising strategy is advised. This would include campaigns for the items and brands that are most important to the business, as well as items that have previously shown the best performance. Keeping this campaign on deck will allow you to quickly implement it if needed in the future.
- Amazon FBA was impacted early on as Amazon announced a temporary restriction on products being sent into their fulfillment centers. Although these restrictions have since been lifted, considering alternate fulfillment options if you are FBA dependent is highly advised. If you have the capability to fulfill through your warehouse, ChannelAdvisor has various capabilities to assist in alternating between Fulfilled by Amazon and Fulfilled by Merchant. If you do not have the inhouse capabilities, exploring partnering with a third party logistics provider (3PL) may be beneficial to you. A list of third party logistics providers (3PLs) who partner with ChannelAdvisor can be found here.
Although these are a starting point to being prepared for the anticipated second wave of COVID-19, you may want to consider implementing them regardless as part of an overall preparedness plan.
If you’re curious about how ChannelAdvisor can help you implement these action items, reach out to your Account Manager or contact us to learn more about our services.
For additional resources related to COVID-19, check out ChannelAdvisor’s Help Center for Brands and Retailers.