Coronavirus: The Impact To Date Within The Ecommerce Tech Space
Coronavirus (COVID-19) arose in the first months of 2020, quickly gaining enough momentum to impact the global economy and the health of thousands, if not millions, around the world. At this current moment we’re all waiting to see how this new virus will spread and how it will impact the global economy, but this changes daily. The concerns over the spread of the Coronavirus are affecting businesses with immediate impacts on every industry and sector, including retail and eCommerce.
The best businesses can do is batten down the hatches the best they can to weather the impending storm ahead. Some import-based businesses and manufacturing businesses are already feeling the impact of closed borders and modified trade routes. Ecommerce and multichannel businesses, by contrast, may experience a lessened or delayed blow. Again, time will (shortly) tell.
The tradeshows and conferences satellite to ecommerce and multi channel commerce have already felt the impact of Coronavirus. First came the reduction in travel, then came the governmental advisements to outright bans.
Ecommerce and Multichannel 2020 Conferences & Events – Cancelled:
- F8 Facebook Developer Conference
- Shopify Unite Developer & Partner Conference
- Magento Imagine
- ShopTalk, Las Vegas
- Collision Conference, Toronto
- Modern Commerce
- What else is cancelled?
Merchants and their partners have a bit of time to prepare for a potential downturn in the market, not to play into the alarmist attitude of the media (or so true at the time of writing this article). Just like any major event that impacts global trading markets, there’s inevitably some panic and over reaction. With Coronavirus there seems to be a real and lasting impact on how we travel, which impacts how we do business and how we shop.
In a world post-Coronavirus, we may just see a greater push for less human interaction.
How you can prep your business for Coronavirus
Aside from all the advisories for various groups to stay home to reduce the chance of Coronavirus spread (we highly recommend following your local advisement bodies’ recommendations for your area), there are preparations beyond stocking up on pasta and toilet paper you can make, including in your business.
Now is not the time to shy away from bold decisions, for instance, so long as they’re not impulsive and have strategic benefit to your business. In other words (and to use a double-negative), do not stop investing in your business. Instead, consider what you can implement now while things are stable and moderately predictable. It might be batten down the hatches, but you first need to buy sturdy hardwood and solid screws.
An approachable investment for many multichannel and ecommerce merchants is investing in technology that automates key processes. This includes applications that are better suited to the creation and/or the storage of key business processes and data; now may be the time to finally invest in that ERP, or re-invest is a more robust data integration solution to handle a potential uptick in digital channel sales.
With ecommerce businesses facing certain shifts and challenges amid coronavirus, it is important to consider automating your data transmission point(s) to maximize accuracy and speed for your business. This will help to minimize errors and pressure if there is lack of staff to handle manual processes.
The reality is that technology investments are relatively safe for a market in turmoil.
Consider the implications of Coronavirus:
- Individuals are being recommended to stay home as much as possible
- There are a number of quarantined people
- Some employees are being mandated to work from home
Following these new facts of our reality for at least the next while;
- Individuals are being recommended to stay home as much as possible → an increase in online shopping, delivery/shipping
- There are a number of quarantined people → no public travel; complete reliance on delivery or family/friends; in areas of full quarantine and a ban on non-necessary travel, this is even more extreme
- Some employees are being mandated to work from home → technology companies that service Merchant businesses have the ability to be fully remote = no impact on delivery of final project/product and/or maintenance
On perhaps a realist to dark perspective on this viral outbreak, there’s another reason to put in place good processes that support operational excellence and rely on automated processes as opposed to people: people get sick. VL OMNI is located just outside Toronto, Ontario. So far we’ve been lucky in Canada. Not only do we do business internationally, but many of the Merchants on our data integration platform do, too. A reality of sick employees is a future many businesses must now face as a potential reality. Good data keeping practices with full dissemination throughout the organization and automation to bolster the businesses now is no longer a good idea, but a great idea.
On the brighter side
Those businesses that prepare now for the potential flood of digital demand could stand to capitalize on an otherwise grim situation. It might be a bit crass to say, but someone’s going to profit from a changed economy, regardless as to whether that change is short or long-term. So it’s either prepare to reap as much as you can for at least now in order to prepare for potential hard times to come, or don’t manage a risk that quickly went from the ‘unknown’ to ‘known’ pile for risk managers everywhere.
The impact of Coronavirus is likely to be felt for some time. While business must go on, we are here to offer a robust data integration solution as you look for ways to automate key processes and handle any uptick in online sales. To learn more about how we can help your business prepare for an increase in online demand and automate your key processes, please visit our Solutions page or contact us.