Should you scale back your online business during the pandemic?
Should you wait to start your online business until the economy is good?
As I write this, I'm on complete lockdown in Puerto Rico as the world goes through the Coronavirus pandemic. I'm sure you are going through something very similar.
This, combined with other events, such as the earthquake in Utah and the stock market, has my mind spinning.
Last week, the weight was too much, and I broke down in one of those ugly cries that you hope nobody sees. I was actually outside in my driveway, but luckily for me, everyone is quarantined in their house, so no one saw it. Then I came inside and cried some more.
I needed that time, though. It gave me some much-needed relief.
When I was done, I had clarity. I reminded myself that God is my business partner, what my vision is, and my true “Why” for running my businesses. These are the things in my control – the other stuff is not.
Running Your Online Business During the Pandemic
During times of crisis, you have to focus on what's in your control. Right now, what's getting most of the chatter in our group is the fact that many big-box retailers and Amazon aren't selling/shipping “non-essentials.” On the surface, you might think this is horrible for your online shop. But is it really?
One of the gals in the group shared that March (when I'm writing this) is actually going to be her biggest month. She sells jewelry!
Are you wondering how and why she's going to have her biggest month when all this turmoil is happening? Well, one of the reasons is that all the other places where people buy these non-essentials aren't open. Think about it – when someone wants jewelry, they are either going into a store to try on different options, or they are browsing Amazon to look at all the options. But now, neither of those IS an option. That means that people are going to be looking for these things in other places – clicking on Facebook ads, Google search, deal sites, etc.
That means the products that you have on your own site, that ship from your own house or warehouse, have a much higher chance to compete. The consumers are looking for YOU!
It's an opportunity.
Change The Conversation in Your Online Business During the Pandemic
You need to approach things differently with your online shop. How you speak to your potential customers now versus when everything is a-ok, is not the same.
If you put a banner on your site “$12.99 for the next 24 hours”, that might work great any other time, but is that what will drive sales now? Maybe maybe not. But something that will undoubtedly drive sales is if you change the conversation you are having with your customers.
Which of these do you think would drive more sales and build your customer list more?
- We have a sale on all jewelry! All earrings are $12.99 for the next 24 hours!
- We are all going through tough times. For each purchase of earrings, we'll ship a free pair to your friend to make you feel a little bit closer.
You have to change the way you are speaking to your customers and meet them where they are.
This means that you're going to have to innovate on the ways you speak to, and serve your customers.
Giving Your Products Away
Boy o' boy – there is a lot of hate going on right now in social media land. People are being shamed for selling their products. Yea, you read that right. They are being shamed for running their business. Not for price gouging or anything like that – just for selling as usual.
Remember, you are an entrepreneur. You are running your business to create money so that you can do great things with that money. Right now, that may mean that your spouse is out of work, and you are the one making the money that feeds your family.
This money flowing from our customers to us, then to other local stores, is the lifeblood of our economy. Without it, everything stops. Selling your products is helping the economy in a big way, so please don't feel bad about charging.
Chasing Your Customers
As a business owner, you have to keep your composure in front of your customers. Yes, you can share how things are impacting you, but you can't act desperate. People are turned off by desperate people.
Think about this. You've probably owned a dog before or at least know someone who has one. Have you ever had the little guy get out when you open the front door? He takes off, and you take off after him. He keeps running for as long as you're willing to chase him. Then, something interesting happens. When you stop chasing him and go the other way, he follows you.
Desperation does no good in your marketing.
So, instead of thinking about what you need… more money, more sales, etc.
Reframe the thought to – where am I needed?
There are examples of this shift in thinking all over the place. Local gyms are serving their customers online. Small grocery stores are delivering groceries to their customers. Online shop owners are presenting alternate reasons to buy.
If you innovate in your business and think about where you are needed, you will find ways to serve your customers – because they are still out there.
Should You Lower Your Prices in Your Online Business During the Pandemic?
This is a hot question and one that I've seen a lot in the $0-100k Facebook Group. It's an important question to get clear on because the first natural reaction is to lower your prices.
But is that the right move?! (we talk more about lowering your prices here)
You'll need to tune in to this episode of the How to Sell Online podcast to get that answer and more on how to manage growing an online business during the pandemic.