Before We Begin
This article covers the reasons you should start your online shop during the COVID-19 Pandemic Quarantine.
For our F&B readers out there who had to close their restaurants, cafes, and shops, you are probably having a different set of problems from what we will be discussing here.
In this case, do check out oddle.me. Oddle is a SaaS company that helps F&B owners to begin their digitization journey.
For more information about them, head over to their website and reach out to them there.
And now, back to the article.
For us Malaysians, it has been more than 14 days since the MCO has been put into action, and it has been extended until the 14th of April.
This has put a freeze on to most businesses aside from the essential ones.
For most retail business owners, this could mean the end, as the MCO has forced physical stores to close, as well as limit customer traffic.
In reality, this could actually be a beginning.
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end”
You as a retail business owner might be asking yourself, “How can this possibly be the start of something new?”.
And that’s because this pandemic is encouraging (or even forcing) a different way to do business.
Through Online Platforms
Maybe you have thought about it before, but you had something stopping you to make that decision.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Some of the most common reasons you and other retailers owners have not gone online are:
- I think running an Ecommerce store is too technical
- I don’t have enough resources to start an Ecommerce store
- I don’t have enough time due to running my brick and mortar store(s)
And those are valid concerns, but…
Do you still have those sorts of concerns during the MCO?
You definitely have the time now since you’re waiting for the MCO to finish.
With all this extra time, you can learn how to start and run an Ecommerce store.
And if we’re being honest, the cost of starting an Ecommerce store is cheap!
But why now? Why is it a good time to start your Ecommerce store now?
And that is exactly what we will be showing you in this article.
There are 4 reasons why this is possibly the best time to attempt selling online. And those reasons are:
- There is more demand online
- Your customers have not disappeared, they’re at home
- People are getting bored at home
- They need your products right now
There IS More Demand Online
An article by Bloomberg has found that there is a 25% increase in overall Ecommerce; with only a drop in sales for clothing retailers.
For the clothing industry, sorry but, fashion isn’t really a trending idea at the moment.
For other industries, this is great news to start looking into taking bites of the big pie.
You might be wondering, “How is there more demand during this crisis?”
Actually, the demand should be about the same. It’s just that now the demand has shifted to online shopping rather than offline.
This ties into the next point, which is…
Your Customers Have Not Disappeared, They’re At Home
The only difference now is that your customers are just looking for you virtually.
If you don’t have a digital store, how are they supposed to buy from you?
Everyone is stuck at home, and they will only leave try houses to buy essentials because those are the only stores open.
Help them out!
Everyone Is Bored
Do you know exactly how bored your customers are?
They are so bored, it was reflected in a recent sentiment analysis study, which you can read about here.
From this study, some insights found were that:
People use TikTok and games to kill time when they feel bored
Boredom pretty much sums up most people’s lives in 2020
People watch horror movies/series on Netflix while they are “stuck” at home
To be transparent, this data was taken only from Twitter, so this does not apply to everyone.
But I’m sure you can relate that it is in fact, very boring right now.
Younger people may be on TikTok and are watching Netflix, but what about everyone else?
The answer? They are literally whatever at home to relieve themselves of boredom.
What’s Everyone Doing at Home?
For gamers this really is a good time to be stuck at home.
In the past month, Doom Eternal & Half-Life: Alyx were released for PC. Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released for the Nintendo Switch, and mobile gaming had Team Fight Tactics.
And that’s just new releases. Many gamers are usually replaying older games or online games with their friends to kill the boredom.
To enjoy it even more, they may need more peripherals or replacement electronics.
Wouldn’t it be great if you had an online store that was selling earphones, keyboards, computer mice & computer parts?
You don’t? Then don’t worry because there are so many other hobbies out there!
But not just gaming and other hobbies. When people are bored, they would definitely want to learn or improve a new skill.
Learning New Skills
I could make a separate post on just this to be honest. But since we have other things to cover, I will briefly go over this section.
Learning a new skill is always fun, but we never really have the time to put into it.
For those who aren’t really gamers and want to do some other activity they prefer, they will be trying to learn more skills like:
Most cooks know their normal recipes by heart. During this quarantine, there’s a lot of time to be spent experimenting with new recipes!
Those that want to learn how to cook are also taking their time to learn and practice the basics, since there’s nothing better to do.
The gyms are closed. Being healthy is incredibly important right now, so people want to continue to exercise.
What are they going to do?
Exercise at home of course!
This doesn’t even just apply to exercise.
Since classes are closed as well, people will be trying to do yoga and other healthy activities at home.
You have to keep fit in someway right?
For the booksellers out there, why aren’t you selling your books online yet?
Here’s a screenshot of books being sold on Shopee:
Do you notice something?
There are hardly any books for reading listed there!
The listings are so bare that children clothes and other miscellaneous items are listed!
The last time I had to order a book, I had to use Amazon’s Book Depository.
It took more than 2 months to reach me! During a non-crisis period!
We want to read, we really do. But we can’t find your stock anywhere…
Spending Time With Family
For the busy parents out there, they are probably feeling a little relief from this outbreak. Well… Some of them…
Now that they can work remotely, and their children are with them at home, they can start bonding more than usual.
This includes talking to each other more, or doing indoor activities with each other.
It could be watching shows, playing board games, reading and/or learning a new skill together.
Really, they could be doing anything right now.
The Common Problem
Be it gamers, cooks, health enthusiasts, book worms, or just parents, everyone is sharing a similar problem.
They can’t buy what they want!
If you’re learning cooking or a new recipe, you’re limited for choice if you don’t have the right utensils. Pots, pans, woks, fryers, etc. Some recipes need different utensils, which can’t be bought normally due to MCO.
Same goes for the health enthusiasts.
In the US, due to the closure of gyms, online orders for fitness equipment alone saw a boost of 55%! Such equipment were kettlebells, dumbbells, and treadmills. Read more about it here.
I think I made my point clear for books earlier. It is an empty space right now, and a few of the alternatives will take months to reach.
And of course families. Whether they choose to play, read, learn, or just watch shows together, they will still need what YOU’RE selling to help reduce the boredom.
Your customers have always wanted to buy your products. The problem is, they can’t find you most of the time, so they will look elsewhere.
With everyone stuck at home and having the NEED to reduce their boredom, the demand for your items is there; but ONLINE.
But there’s one final reason why it’s a good idea to start your online store now.
You’re Helping Flatten The Curve
We’re doing a really good job at social distancing!
Our health minister himself stated that the curve of COVID-19 spread for Malaysia is flattening.
We are not safe yet, and need to be responsible and follow the MCO guidelines to ensure we get out of this as a healthy nation.
By helping your customers with their hobbies, they have less reasons to try to find a cure for their boredom by going outside.
You can help flatten the curve, and make some money too, by opening your online shop now!
How To Start Your Online Store
We at Red Dino Ventures are here to help you get started immediately!
To help reduce the burden of cost, we are providing you with a special offer of 50% off to help you set up your online store on any marketplace of your choice, and enable your business online.
This offer also includes:
- Product photography
- Digitization of your products
- Content enhancement
- Storefront design
If you’re a business owner that doesn’t have an online presence, sells consumer goods, and/or want to grow your business, we are here to help you get online! Click here to get started today!
It may seem like the world is ending, but it’s not going to end if we take the initiative during this crisis.
Now that everyone is stuck at home and fighting off the boredom, you can help them out by going online and selling your personal solutions to them!
With your physical stores gathering dust while you wait out the MCO, you can move on to the online ecosystem and dominate it before it becomes saturated.
What’s not to like about selling online? You can:
- Spend less on overhead
- Ignore the need of a physical store
- Sell your products anywhere, 24/7
- Reach out to even more potential customers
While your competitors are hibernating, it’s time to get ahead.
The MCO will end eventually, and so will this opportunity to grow.