Coronavirus ecommerce checklist: must-haves for eBay and Amazon sellers

Coronavirus ecommerce checklist: must-haves for eBay and Amazon sellers

This article looks at the impact of the Coronavirus on e-commerce and how eBay and Amazon sellers are relatively immune to the economic effects of COVID-19.

Coronaviruses affect our health and the world of business, including e-commerce. As a result, both eBay and Amazon are starting to discuss the topic of the new Coronavirus.

How long will this situation last? Have we been told the whole story? There are many unanswered questions. But one thing is for sure: awareness and preparation can help eCommerce sellers weather the crisis.

In this article, you will learn more about.

The impact of the Coronavirus on the economy and e-commerce, especially on eBay and Amazon
The way your e-commerce business deals with (potential) coronavirus-related issues
COVID-19 eCommerce checklist for eBay and Amazon sellers with valuable links.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) marks the beginning of a new decade.
Several coronaviruses (as of April 29, 2020).
Coronavirus cases: 3,139,588
Number of deaths: 218,024
Patients recovered: 959,258
Patients currently infected: 1,962,306
Affected countries: 210 (mainly USA, Spain, Italy)
If Coronavirus has impacted your e-commerce business, there are still ways to mitigate losses by preparing and planning .

Coronavirus ecommerce checklist: must-haves for eBay and Amazon sellers
Coronavirus ecommerce checklist: must-haves for eBay and Amazon sellers

The impact of Coronavirus on e-commerce

The Coronavirus has had many impacts on (global) e-commerce. Shipping routes have been affected as various parts of China have been quarantined. Many employees in warehouses are out of work. There have been reports of factory closures, packaging or shipping restrictions, and significant delays for some manufacturing items.

The Coronavirus has affected small and medium-sized businesses around the world and e-commerce giants such as top Chinese company Alibaba. Many employees have been prevented from processing and delivering orders.

In the case of Amazon, it has instructed its employees to postpone unnecessary travel to minimize the risk of spreading the disease.

Many online retailers that rely on Chinese manufacturers already feel the Coronavirus’s impact on their supply chains, market rankings, and profits.

Some e-commerce companies are already experiencing inventory shortages. In turn, consumers are facing high prices and product shortages.

If your market rankings are taking a hit, you may want to invest more in digital advertising.

According to the WARC report, global ad spending will grow 7.1% to $660 billion. That’s thanks to a substantial 13.2 percent increase in Internet investment.

Coronavirus is Driving Internet Demand

There’s no denying it: coronavirus outbreaks have had many adverse effects, taking a toll on people and businesses. However, succumbing to inconvenient or seemingly hopeless situations is not the answer.

With many customers stuck at home (or isolated), they may have no choice but to turn to online commerce and purchase goods from the Web.

For example, in the ten days ending February 2, Jingdong’s fresh food sales grew 215 percent to nearly 15,000 tons. This is just one example of how the growth of e-commerce is benefiting sellers and consumers alike.

The chart below shows the impact of the Coronavirus on online store sales in Italy, one of the countries most affected by the Coronavirus, between February 2020 and March 2020.

Coronavirus ecommerce checklist: must-haves for eBay and Amazon sellers
Coronavirus ecommerce checklist: must-haves for eBay and Amazon sellers

Demand has shifted to the Internet as people are afraid to go out on the streets, and many stores are temporarily closed. In Biegel’s view, an accelerated shift from stores to e-commerce can be observed.

Meanwhile, some e-commerce supply chains have been overwhelmed by the spread of the Coronavirus, says CPG Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jon Moeller: “There is demand for products, but supply is limited.”

The virus outbreak has triggered greater demand for specific products. Consumers are trying to protect themselves by stocking up on respirators, protective clothing, disinfectants, air purifiers, protective gloves, and similar items.

eBay, Amazon, and the Coronavirus

eBay and Amazon are addressing the coronavirus problem to keep sellers and buyers safe, especially in challenges such as out-of-stock or fraudulent sellers.

For example, masks have sold out on Amazon due to global fears of the Coronavirus. Due to the massive demand and high-profit margins, some Amazon sellers created listings with misleading information because eligible listings were not in stock.

eBay and Coronavirus-Related Updates
eBay emphasizes its commitment to creating a safe and trustworthy marketplace and accordingly recalls its principles for listing items.

The misuse of terms such as “coronavirus,” “covid-19,” “virus,” “epidemic” in health claims is prohibited in titles and items. The misuse of titles and descriptions of articles in health statements with terms such as “coronavirus,” “covid-19,” “virus,” “epidemic,” etc.
Prohibit offers that benefit from catastrophic and tragic events (e.g., coronavirus outbreaks).
Sellers with active listings for items such as masks and hand sanitizer are encouraged to ensure that their listings comply with eBay’s listing policies.
Failure to comply with eBay policies may result in several actions.

Termination or cancellation of your associated offers
Hiding or downgrading all requests in search results
Lowering a seller’s rating
Enforcing buying and selling restrictions
Closing your account.
To ensure that your listing is compliant, eBay recommends that you review three critical principles regarding this topic.

Drug and medical services policy
Natural disasters and tragic events policy
Search result manipulation policy.
Amazon and the Coronavirus
Amazon has advised sellers on managing the impact of the Coronavirus on their business. The platform has issued a notice notifying merchants to cancel orders that have been placed and cannot be fulfilled.

Amazon advises putting their business on “holiday status” so their listings are not downgraded by the ranking algorithm in search results.

Coronavirus ecommerce checklist: must-haves for eBay and Amazon sellers
Coronavirus ecommerce checklist: must-haves for eBay and Amazon sellers

For example, a lack of inventory may hurt your ranking in Amazon’s search results. This can lead to increased ad spending, which you must pay to return to your original position.

Coronavirus on Amazon: some facts

Masks sold-out January 21, unique protective clothing sold-out February 5
Special protective clothing sales up 353%
7,000 respirators sold per day
Mask prices up 382%
Searches for “doomsday preparedness” products increased by 325%
17,000% increase in searches for respirators and respirators on Amazon
About 7,000 cases of respirators are sold on Amazon every day
Sellers are raising prices on “corona-related” products
Amazon is running low on inventory for many products, allowing third-party vendors to take over these products
Counterfeit masks and similar products are beginning to flood the market.

How can you protect your eBay/Amazon store from the Coronavirus?

The coronavirus crisis caught many sellers by surprise. Large companies have their own risk management departments and can handle supply chain disruptions relatively smoothly.

In contrast, many e-commerce sellers were unprepared for a global outbreak of infectious disease. However, it is still worthwhile to remain proactive to minimize the impact of the Coronavirus.

Individual e-commerce sellers should also take all possible steps to protect themselves from any possible damage caused by the virus, such as monitoring the situation and adjusting expectations based on current conditions.

The business impact of coronavirus transmission can be far-reaching: it can affect profits or cause store closures, especially if a company relies heavily on China’s enormous spending power.

Depending on the severity of the coronavirus outbreak on your business, you may need to reevaluate your budgets, targets, and forecasts for 2020. It doesn’t make sense to pursue goals that have become impossible. This can lead to wasted resources and reduced team engagement.

Coronavirus ecommerce checklist: must-haves for eBay and Amazon sellers
Coronavirus ecommerce checklist: must-haves for eBay and Amazon sellers

Here’s a summary of the security aspects you should consider

Keep a close eye on your supply chain.
Coronaviruses are affecting supply chains across industries. As a result, suppliers may need to prioritize orders from large customers. This means eBay and Amazon sellers may be at the bottom of the chain and face longer lead times.

Monitoring the situation through reliable news sources and directly through your suppliers is critical. Stay up to date on regulations (national and local) while tracking your shipments/orders and deliveries.

Ensure stronger relationships with your suppliers. This will help you stay informed. Faced with surprises, encourage honest discussions with your supply sources and be aware of their limitations.

It is also worthwhile to expand your supply base and look for other suppliers, especially if China is your primary source. Consider sourcing from other countries such as India, Vietnam, Turkey, the United States, Australia, or Mexico.

When looking for non-Chinese suppliers, it is essential to remember that alternative sourcing markets may not be able to produce all product categories and China. However, there are specific categories in which these countries/regions may be competitive, so you can try to source these categories for your business on a long-term basis.

For example, India focuses on housewares, gifts, eco-friendly products, cotton textiles and fabrics, apparel, leather, etc.

Protect your inventory
Shipping delays are an integral part of outbreaks such as Coronavirus. Therefore, plan your orders very carefully and ask your suppliers to place your orders as early as possible. To be on the safe side, please consider purchasing larger quantities than usual.

Adjust promotions and prices to slow sales if you expect to run out of stock. Also, consider how you can maximize profits from your current inventory while taking into account ethical aspects.

Pay more attention to quality control.
If you are working with a Chinese supplier, some workers may not be able to return to the factory due to illness. This means that your supplier may be dealing with a production backlog due to staffing shortages.

To overcome these situations, some suppliers have to sacrifice quality. Therefore, it is important to pay close attention to quality control.

Coronavirus ecommerce checklist: must-haves for eBay and Amazon sellers
Coronavirus ecommerce checklist: must-haves for eBay and Amazon sellers

Prepare your customer service team with FAQs related to Coronavirus
Your customers are currently being bombarded with many pessimistic updates. This can cause many questions and concerns. Start with shipping delays, your facility location, and security when opening packages.

Make sure your customer support is prepared to answer questions in a targeted manner, especially if your customer base is international.

Try to stay one step ahead by knowing how to respond appropriately while providing reassuring information.

Make your customers feel like you have the situation under control and that you are doing everything you can to stay ahead of the curve.

Your Coronavirus E-Commerce Inventory
Creating a coronavirus checklist will help you identify and prepare for different scenarios. It is important to recognize the risks and ask the right questions.

Coronavirus e-commerce checklist.

What is the (potential) impact of Coronavirus on your company?
What are the risks, and how can they be minimized?
What can you do now, and what can you do in the future?
Are you prepared for multiple scenarios?
What can you do when the worst-case scenario becomes a reality? What are the consequences?
How high are the costs? How will you cover this?
What/who will be affected: your suppliers, customers, employees, or other parts of the company?
Do you rely on a limited number of suppliers? Are they from China?
Does it make sense, and is it realistic to start production in another country?
Can you find alternative suppliers? How long will this take? What is the price difference? What does this mean for your overall budget (plan)?
Do you have an alternate source of inventory? Does it make sense to order more ahead of time?
What will you communicate to your customers, and how will you communicate it?
Do you expect a change in your customers’ buying behavior? Can non-Chinese products be easily exchanged?
Can you anticipate fluctuations in demand for product categories, especially in healthcare or travel?
Have you updated your sales, inventory, and cash flow forecasts?
How does the ever-changing situation with Coronavirus affect your employees? What can you do to improve their situation?
Are changes to your vacation policy recommended? Are you giving enough consideration to your employees so that they don’t lose vacation or work because they stay homesick?
Do most of your sales come from one or two products? If so, can you expand your selection?
Do most of your sales come from one or two countries? If so, can you expand your options?

Coronavirus ecommerce checklist: must-haves for eBay and Amazon sellers
Coronavirus ecommerce checklist: must-haves for eBay and Amazon sellers

Coronavirus chaos will pass: Stay calm and move on

The spread of the Coronavirus requires targeted measures to address the severity of the situation. This is not the first such disruption that has affected retailers and their customers.

The bottom line: stay calm and move on.

In other words, prepare for different scenarios, stay updated and make the most of the situation.

Remember that your competitors are going through the same thing: you can use this fact to your advantage, but you can also be prepared for unforeseen circumstances.

In such an unpredictable time, an effective solution can be to sell in multiple markets. In other words, it is best not to put all your eggs in one basket.

For example, if you lose revenue in one market at a certain time for some reason, you can investigate what is happening in other countries. This allows you to focus on the areas that offer you the best return on your investment. In times of uncertainty, this opportunity can help you save your business.

Stay healthy!

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