This autumn brought us disturbing news about COVID cases increasing across the world. If you didn’t catch the moment for preparations in advance, now is perhaps the final chance to put things right.

In this article, we covered the 5 steps that have already helped other businesses reduce the impact on their revenue and can help you. But first, let’s review the results the first wave of COVID brought to us.

Read about 12 ways to overcome the COVID-19 crisis→ 

How did COVID affect e-commerce?

The stay-home regime forced offline businesses to shift to online. According to IBM’s U.S. Retail Index, the pandemic has accelerated this process by five years. According to the report from the U.S. Census Bureau, e-commerce share in total retail sales grew by 30% from 11.8% in Q1 2020 to 16.1% in Q2.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Actually, not. At least a third of those retailers weren’t prepared for the doubled traffic and demand. And all this turned in the face of problems with product supply.

statista e-commerce traffic

Source: Statista

Looking back, we see that

  • e-commerce experiences incredible growth
  • the competition in e-commerce has increased
  • more customers choose online shopping over offline
  • traffic on websites has increased tremendously

So, what are the steps of prep for the second wave?

Luckily, at least we know what to expect now.

Step 1. Make employee safety your priority

Now some companies are back to office life. But you need to be flexible enough to jump back to remote work at any moment. Your staff is your key to success. Protecting their health and providing them with all the necessary equipment for remote work is the number one priority.

A brief checklist for staff safety:

  • hand sanitizers, facial masks, and gloves for couriers
  • rigorous cleaning schedule for office
  • chat for communication between remote workers
  • equipment for remote work
  • VPN or Withe list of IPs for secure work with Magento backend

Of course, you can extend this list with other points like advanced medical insurance if you haven’t done it yet. But these 5 points are must-haves for everyone.

Also, it is worth conducting additional training for your staff. What if one of your employees gets sick? Do you have someone to fill in the ill? Make sure that everyone in your company has enough checklists and working skills to avoid bottlenecks in accomplishing this new work.

Step 2. Replenish warehouses and stock up on essentials

Do you remember how hard it was to buy face masks and other essentials?

Global lockdown creates troubles with suppliers, but nobody canceled the holidays. Customers will still do holiday shopping regardless of whether there is a lockdown or not. Ask yourself: “Do we have enough best-sellers in Magento stock?” If not, you still have time to replenish it.

With the view to reduce your workload during the peak, consider installing some useful extensions on your Magento if you haven’t done it yet.

  • Use Out of Stock Notification to timely notify your customers of the products you currently ran out of and subscribe to notify them when these products are back in stock.
  • Install Advanced MSI to get your product quantity in Magento 2 stock under control and promptly respond to market changes.
  • Get Dropshipping for developing cost-effective supply systems and real-time communication suppliers.

Step 3. Upgrade your online store

  • Check your server settings. Is your server capacity enough for serving your business during peak time? Or maybe it’s high time to move to a more powerful one? No matter how much you optimize your Magento 2, if you have basic errors in server settings, your site will still perform poorly. If you don’t have enough technical knowledge, our specialists are always ready to help you.
  • Review JS, CSS, and HTML code; resize images and convert them into better formats; enable lazy loading. It’s a huge piece of work, isn’t it? Use our Google Page Speed Optimizer module. It’ll do all the work for you. Just install, enable the needed settings, and let the magic happen.
  • And don’t forget about the Magento page cache. Install Full Page Cache Warmer to keep all the necessary pages updated.
  • Finally, think about how you can decrease the server load. One of the solutions to the high demand problem is a virtual queuing system. To provide all visitors with an enjoyable experience while using your site, you can create a queue to establish how many users can be on your site permanently and for how long. Thus, everyone will have the opportunity to visit it. But you should be careful about this method. Usually, customers won’t expect to be greeted by a queue when visiting a website. So you should notify users in advance giving all the needed information packing it into appealing visuals with interactive content to pass the time playing a game rather than waiting in a virtual queue. Also, you can decrease the negative effects of the virtual queue by using them for specific Magento 2 categories only.

virtual queue page

Step 4. Review your finances

Analyze your financial status and create a strategy on how you will act during the second lockdown.

Ask yourself questions:

  • Do I have a safety cushion?
  • How long can I keep the business going if the revenue will drop?
  • What can I do to prolong this period?

Having enough money will give you the needed flexibility to be prepared for any changes and act according to the situation. Make calculations and, if needed, create a safety fund that will help you last about 3-6 months without revenue. For example, you can calculate how many employees you need to hire if seasonal sales lead to revenue growth. Or think about how you can get additional income by using the current knowledge of your staff. Thus, you will always have a plan B.

Step 5. Think about how you can help others

This step can be not so intuitive, but still important. When you ensured that your business is safe and ready for any situation, it’s time to think about how you can use your power to help other people. Here are some options to consider:

  • make donations to funds that help medical specialists
  • offer your products and services for specific customer groups with a discount or for free
  • collaborate with colleagues and partners to create a unique solution to a common problem

These actions are not only about being a human but also it can help you build and support a positive brand image.

And what do you think about inclusive marketing and problem-solving approach? Sahre your thoughts with us!