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Commerce in the Time of Corona: How to Seamlessly Transition Your Business to Online Selling Platforms


For a moment, let’s consider life as a game. The year 2020 is the new edition that is permanently set to nightmare mode. The game has barely begun, and we have already had to battle forest fires, murder hornets, riots, floods, explosions you name it! And of course, the hardest, most persistent one—the pandemic. But the thing about games is, they are built with the prerequisite that they can be won. And the best way to win is to adapt to the current fight, upgrade your weapons, and evolve into a stronger, more experienced version of yourself. Move to online selling platforms.

The Covid-19 pandemic has impeded companies’ market strategies and daily dealings worldwide. Some new behaviours have been forced upon us, and these will presumably stick around as the new normal. These include remote working, and most importantly, using online selling platforms as our go-to mediums for shopping.  Corporations, employees and consumers will see benefit in limiting travel and physical contact, which in turn will drive traffic to online selling platforms. 

Advantage in Adversity

Time spent fearing a situation is time wasted. We are surely in a pickle, but that only means that we must move towards figuring things out for a positive outcome.

There is always something to take advantage of in an adverse situation. A great example of this is Shivan & Narresh, a luxury swimwear and holiday-wear brand. Currently, and for the foreseeable future, people are not going to be vacationing and neither are pools going to open-up any time soon. The niche that they thrive in seems to have come to a staggering halt. But the brand did not succumb to despair, instead they began catering to the new normal with a line of masks with their signature designs and prints, available on their online selling platform. 

Masks on online selling platforms

There are various ways to navigate the situation we are in. It is not so different from a regular situation, where the demand is assessed, and needs are fulfilled. Reimagine campaign strategies, provide virtual content, and produce useful products for consumers to build deeper connections with customers and ensure positive returns in the long run.

There is no doubt about the fact that the world is forever changed, and it is only a matter of adapting to the situations we find ourselves in.

Adapting to the New Normal – Online Selling Platforms

Global financial markets seem to indicate that the world economy is on a path to recession. And the only way out, is through. Strategizing with the future in mind, is the way forward.

The outbreak of SARS in 2002 in East Asia affected thousands of people and killed hundreds. Disinclined to venture outside for anything but the essentials, many Chinese people began shopping online. This gave an unanticipated boost to the country’s nascent e-commerce industry.

Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma sent his employees home during the outbreak and tasked them with coming up with a new idea to save their business. Back then, Alibaba was a B2B service and the team came up with an idea that eventually evolved into Taobao, the company’s big move into B2C services. Taobao is now the backbone of Alibaba’s e-commerce empire, serving over 330 million online shoppers. And with this success as a touchstone, they later came up with AliExpress an online selling platform, to cater to an international audience. We find ourselves in a very similar situation, and this example is one of success, one that we should look to for inspiration. 

Ali Express, Online selling platform

The world is evidently moving towards an internet centric culture, and businesses need to adapt to this with agility and confidence.

There is an inherent discomfort that comes along with something new. This may push entrepreneurs to strategize in ways that help them prolong their previous practices. But this will only be detrimental in the long run. Accept the circumstance and use it to your advantage, focus your resources and attention to the right places:

Concentrate finances and marketing efforts to social media platforms 

Internet usage has escalated by 70 percent, while there has been 61 percent more engagement on social media since the beginning of lockdown. According to data shared by Facebook, they have seen nearly 70 percent more time spent across their apps. And Instagram and Facebook Live views have doubled.

Social media platforms currently have more eyes on them than ever before. And having a strong social media presence is non-negotiable. Utilise resources such as influencer marketing, social media promotions and campaigns. This is beneficial because online marketing can be more reasonable than mainstream forms of advertisement, and also has the capacity to reach a gigantic audience, not limited by geographic boundaries.

Leverage UI and UX

Without a doubt, most retail businesses will be transitioning to online selling platforms. Consumers will be spoilt for choice, and in order to stand out, your online retail platform must be user friendly, easy to navigate and as glitch-free as possible. Your consumers are a single click away from hopping over to your competitor’s website. Anywhere you can preserve your consumer’s time is a chance for your ecommerce business to win. 

There are various platforms that offer predesigned templates for smooth and easy usage. Shopify is a great platform that assists you with all the e-commerce and point of sale features you need to start, run, and grow your business. Other similar platforms include Wix and  Squarespace. Not only are these platforms reasonably proceed, but you also need no prior experience in web design to make an impressive website. 

Build an internet savvy team

Having a support system that knows how to navigate this storm is only going to benefit your sales. Utilise online resources to educate your team on how to work more efficiently from home and how to drive sales through online platforms more effectively. 

Coursera allows you to build skills with courses, certificates, and degrees online, from world-class universities and companies. Skillshare offers comprehensive classes from skilled professionals and Masterclass provides thousands of courses delivered by masters in their fields. With these many resources at your disposal, there are very few reasons not to exploit them. Knowledge is the only resource that can truly promise a positive outcome. 

SEO is your best friend

SEO is no longer optional. It is the most efficient way to get organic traffic and grow on your own merit and quality. Search engine optimisation has the ability to increase your e-commerce sales and revenue. It also helps make you memorable and recognisable in a sea of content. It can basically make or break your business and paying due attention to SEO will surely reap benefits. Hire SEO specialists or simply learn about it yourself. There are ample online resources (free as well as paid) that offer comprehensive courses on understanding and exploiting SEO to increase sales and optimise marketing.

Looking ahead

While you may be tempted to focus on the current situation and the crisis at hand, it is imperative that you look at the larger picture and make moves to ease the imminent change in the market. This is the time to innovate and rethink your business model, get a head-start and secure your future success.

We are a product of our times, and the best way to avoid disappointment and loss, is to accept and adapt. Unfortunately, we cannot pause life like a game, but we can surely use some cheat-codes, effort and research to conquer this enemy.