What Coronavirus Means for E-Commerce & What You Can Do

10 March 2020 • 4 min read

It’s no secret that the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has had a big impact on the world economy. Businesses need to adapt in order to survive and thrive.

While the outbreak is a threat to many in the retail sector, there is an opportunity to use the health crisis to your advantage. Read on to learn how:

Shopping online will take preference

With self-quarantines and concerns with crowded public places like grocery stores, more and more people will be turning to online. In-store footfall will be down, but that means online traffic will grow.

In 2020 online sales should be 12% of all retail sales, but the outbreak could signal a much different Q1 and Q2. That means online sales could see a bump in the first half of 2020; so it’s important your site can handle it.

With more people ready to try online shopping, the first impression you give will encourage them to shop online now and in the future. The face you show in times of a crisis can give your brand a good name.

Simple things like making your delivery info clear on your webstore will be very useful during this time. An easy-to-use website can be very effective at winning customers that are not used to shopping online daily.

Utilize low-cost and digital marketing

Continue being active on your digital marketing channels throughout the crisis. If you’re not active with email, social media, or paid search, then it might be the best time to start.

More people will be turning to online for purchases over the next few months, so getting your message to the right people is key. Using channels that don’t come with a high cost of acquisition can be your route to success. Email marketing remains one of the best ways to get new customers and it’s a low-cost tactic, so it’s worth doing. You can read our handy guide to email marketing for some tips.

WebSell webstores link directly to Mailchimp and Constant Contact meaning you can track orders and measure the ROI from your actions. 

WebSell also offers a digital marketing service where we can create a plan for your main channels: Email, Social Media, Paid Search, and Blog. 

Feel free to get in touch today to discuss your options.

Focus on communicating what’s in stock

People will have concerns about supply during the outbreak so you should reassure them about what you have in stock. Most won’t know where your supply comes from, so letting them know that it’s “business as usual” can be helpful.

If you do have an impacted supply chain, then promoting stock with a higher margin can work. This could be a special offer on those specific items to drive traffic to those pages.

Customers might also have concerns over how packages are handled. Cutting down on physical exposure may become a real part of daily life. 

Reassure them about how your deliveries are handled or see if your shipping partner offers a non-contact delivery option.


There are opportunities for e-commerce brands to grow during the coronavirus outbreak. With less physical interactions, it means your online store is more important than ever.

More people are going to be at home and on their phones over the coming months. In the long term, we may also see a big shift in behavior where online shopping is preferred over physical trips. 

Make sure you let your customers know your online store is as easy as going to the store.

If you’d like to make a design change to your webstore or you just want to do more online marketing, talk to us today to discuss what you’d like to do. As with any crisis, there’s always an opportunity to use it to grow.