Running an Ecommerce Business in COVID-19 is Not Impossible

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has hit businesses all over world hard. In Singapore, retail and F&B industries were one of the hardest hit as foot traffic all but disappeared once Circuit Breaker measures were implemented.

But as businesses and consumers both adapted to what is now known as the new normal, ecommerce seems to be paving the way forward in these unprecedented times. The figures don’t lie either.

Food delivery services saw a sharp increase in rider and F&B operator sign-ups, with a 15 – 20 percent increase in delivery volume within the first few weeks of Circuit Breaker alone.

Meanwhile, ecommerce adoption has almost doubled, making up about 18% of retail sales in SEA, doubling the previous figure of 7% in 2019. Even traditional brick and mortar verticals like groceries, home furnishings and consumer electronics are seeing a major increase in online searches.

What does this mean for you? Well, it means that if you’re looking to start or even pivot your retail business into ecommerce, there’s no better time than now. Work with a great ecommerce web developer to put yourself at an advantage over your competitors. For instance, the best web design company in Singapore FirstCom Solutions has a wide portfolio in ecommerce web development, and you should check them out.

There are also many support programmes and subsidies out there to ensure you succeed, even if you might not have prior ecommerce experience. Let’s explore some of them today.

Government Grants by Enterprise Singapore

Whether you’re a new startup or an established business, you’ll need capital and monetary support to run a ecommerce business. Instead of taking out a bank loan, why not choose from a government grant with pre-approved support that will help guide you on the path to ecommerce success?

Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)

The PSG helps companies take simple steps to automate existing processes and improve productivity. For adopting pre-approved IT solutions like building an ecommerce website, businesses can get up to 80% of the development costs subsidised by the government.

You’ll be matched up with one of PSG’s pre-approved vendor, who will take the lead and guide you through the solutions while Enterprise Singapore subsidises the cost of their services.

SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC)

There’s going to be times where you won’t be able to manage your ecommerce operations and need one of your employees to do so. The SFEC program encourages employers to invest in enterprise transformation and upskill the capabilities of their employees. You’ll receive a one-off $10,000 credit to cover up to 90% of out-of-pocket expenses on costs for supportable initiatives. A good way to encourage your employees to upgrade!

Not only that, the SFEC can be used as additional support on top of other schemes like PSG. So you can build your ecommerce infrastructure and train employees to handle it at the same time!

Social Media Marketing

Growing your ecommerce business is easier than ever with social media marketing. Not only are social media ads more affordable than traditional media, you get much greater control over who sees your ads and the ability to test campaigns at any budget.

Social media marketing allows you to experiment with multiple ad styles to see what works best. Your current campaign not performing as well as you hoped after one week? Scrap it and run another. In contrast to traditional marketing which locks you into a contract unable to change what you put out, social media marketing is much more flexible. Plus, the ability to see the action your customers are taking after seeing your ads with real-time analytics allow you to make informed decisions at a much faster pace.

And with COVID-19 making everyone spend more time online than ever before, it’d be a shame not to put your business front and centre where people spend most of their time. You don’t have learn all the ropes yourself either, you can always engage a social media agency which can help you plan, develop and execute social media campaigns that thrill and engage your customers — for a fraction of the cost of a full-time team.

Search Engine Optimisation and Search Engine Marketing

You’ve no doubt heard of the terms Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). You might have even heard that an ecommerce website cannot be successful without them. And to the uninitiated, this can be a challenging wall of technicality and jargon that might seem impossible to scale.

Put simply, SEO is the process of improving your website to increase its visibility and ranking on search engines. SEM on the other hand, is the process of bidding on keywords that your customers might search for in order to appear in prominent ad spots on search engine results pages (SERPs).

SEO and SEM allow small ecommerce businesses to compete with large multinational companies online. This can be done by competing on lesser-known keywords that still capture your desired audience. After all, 85% of consumers use Google to find products before making a purchase and are highly likely to click the first result they see. So not only are SEO and SEM effective tools to market your ecommerce business — but they allow you to be highly competitive and market effectively on a budget as well.

Conclusion

Ecommerce and online shopping are set to be the new normal. In the meantime, many businesses are working on transitioning and scrambling to meet new consumer demands. Don’t let your business fall behind — make use of the support programmes featured in this article to forge ahead with your ecommerce business and don’t let this opportunity pass you by.

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