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Coronavirus and ecommerce: tips for retailers

Coronavirus and ecommerce: tips for retailers

To the German article

Stationary retail is experiencing considerable setbacks as a result of these challenging times. To offer some guidance, we've collected tips and highlight a question that many retailers are likely asking themselves: is now the right time to shift to online sales or start a completely new business in ecommerce?

There are contradictory statements on this. According to surveys, online retail cannot offset the losses of stationary retail. On the other hand, online business is booming like never before in many sectors, where products such as nonperishable food - and yes, of course toilet paper - are selling particularly well.

Due to business downtime, quarantine and other precautions, many people have unexpectedly large amounts of time to spend in their own homes – and online shopping has proven to be a popular way to pass the time.

In light of the current situation, Eugen Schmidt, Head of the OVK in Austria, sees a clear advantage for online businesses: "Now is the right time to address new target groups in online commerce, since shopping online is a personal protective measure. Long-term customer relationships can be developed during this time," he told the industry magazine Internet World Business.

More online shopping as a result of coronavirus?

Kai Hudetz, Managing Director of IFH Köln, and ecommerce expert Gerrit Heinemann even predict ongoing advantages for online retailers: "Online trade can be expected to profit from this crisis, now and in the future. Even when the topic of coronavirus is over, there will still be more online shopping than before the crisis."

If you are not subject to certain risk factors, maybe now would be the ideal time to get started with an online shop yourself.

Unsure if ecommerce is right for you? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you dependent on manufacturers? (Risk: production downtime)
  • Are you dependent on supply chains? (Risk: supply bottlenecks)
  • How do you assess the current demand for your product(s)? (Risk: consumer fears)

If you’re able to answer these questions without any reservations, you might want to seriously consider entering ecommerce. As for the next steps, we’ve compiled tips, additional sources of information and answers to basic questions that will help you to set up your own online shop.

Creating an online shop concept

At the beginning of every online shop there is always a concept. Have you already defined your product range and thought about your target group? And what about the competition? If your business idea is just getting started, we recommend using this blog post as a helpful resource.

Isn't selling on marketplaces enough?

Of course, you could focus on selling products on individual marketplaces. However, operating your own online shop offers many advantages, one of the greatest being you have complete control over your business.

In your own online shop, you can present your products exactly as you’d like and lean into your own personal branding. With your own platform, not only do you have more flexibility to fine tune your visual branding, but are able to work with various technologies that will serve your strategy.

Another reason for having your own online shop is independence. If are any issues with a marketplace, you still have a secure foothold with a strong online shop. Of course, you can also be active on marketplaces alongside your online shop and benefit from the traffic of both sales channels – while minimizing the economic risk at the same time.

Additional tips:

  • Create your own personal demo shop, where you can test Shopware without any obligation.
  • Would you like to expand your knowledge about Shopware? Take a look at our free online training courses.
  • Are you wondering which plugins could be a useful addition to your online shop? Take a look at our most popular plugins from 2019.

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