For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been asking for information as to how how your businesses survived during covid and what actions you plan on taking going forward. The idea was to document trends that might be helpful for anyone who reads this blog. Based on research from other sites, the results were not what I expected. First, it seems like most people were unwilling to share their experiences. I don’t know if they were embarrassed because their sales went down, or because their sales actually went up during this time.
One thing I noticed for sure was that the results were very definitely industry-specific. Therefore, I can’t just provide results across the board. Here is what I can deduce: If you were in a travel-related industry, your sales tanked, which is to be expected since travel basically came to a complete halt. I have therefore elected to not include those numbers in this report. All other services, including restaurants, as well as all product-based businesses are included.
Here then are the results:In the past 18 months (DURING Covid), Did your ONLINE sales increase or decrease? 100% of respondents indicated that online sales increased during this time. the average increase was 46%. During the same time period, approximately half of the respondents indicated that overall sales decreased during this time (by as much as 30%), while the other half showed an increase in overall sales by as much as 50%.
Two-thirds of the respondents indicated that price has never been a primary consideration. while convenience is a major purchasing decision. This is consistent with what we expected: people shop online because it is convenient and price is only a factor if you are offering a commodity that they can purchase anywhere. Covid has amplified this effect as people became more aware of how convenient it is to shop online.
Respondents to the survey indicated the following changes were made during Covid:
- 3rd Party Marketplaces
- Increased Digital Advertising
- Increased Social Media Posts
- Increased Email Campaigns
- Updated Ecommerce Website
All respondents indicated they were going to continue increasing their digital advertising, such as Facebook, Google, and retargeting ads. Interestingly, while most people attended live trade shows prior to the pandemic, they did not participate in virtual shows during the pandemic (although I know of several customers who did exhibit as virtual shows but who did not participate in this survey). However, everyone responding to the survey indicated they were interested in participating in virtual shows after the pandemic is over. This is an indication that businesses are still planning on cutting travel expenses moving forward.
It is also likely that this is the same sentiment reflected in the questions about working remotely, with an average of 25% of businesses planning on continuing to work remotely going forward.
Other important findings that participants shared: wholesale orders went down, but retail orders increased. Using marketplaces like Ebay, Etsy, and Amazon are important for gaining new customers. Once you have a new customer, you must work diligently (through emails and social media posts) to retain those customers and get them to place additional orders.
Overall, I think this information provides some valuable insights for those of us who make a living by selling goods and services online. The pandemic may have caused us to shift our focus to doing more online, but attention to customer service has never been more important.