Coronavirus – How it’s Affecting the Digital World
Digital marketing strategy has always required a healthy mix of art and science to perfect, finding the right balance is even more important during times of unrest, like with the current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Among digital marketing experts it is widely thought that the social distancing and self-isolation this outbreak has brought with it, e-commerce will receive a significant boost. While in the short-term this may well be the case, long-term the affect coronavirus is going to have on online businesses may be entirely different.
Retailers like Amazon and the online divisions of supermarkets, as well as delivery services, will see an initial increase in demand from consumers, especially as footfall to stores decreases. However, issues with supply chains, product shortages and the eventual declining demand from consumers following a period of panic induced bulk buyer means that this boost may not last long, and in the long run may do more harm than good to some online retailers. .
Entities such as Skype and Zoom may see benefits as people substitute social interaction with their services, though this will likely only last as long as the pandemic, when the demand for these services will return to its normal levels.
With everything happening in the world, chances are there’s going to be fewer goods from China making it to shelves (digital or otherwise), because we import so many things from China this will lead to product shortages, which in turn will lead to advertising spending being reduced. This is a fantastic example of how B2C businesses will be the first to see a direct impact and once this happens the effects will trickle down to B2B businesses.
There’s no approach guaranteed to lessen the impact of a global pandemic on businesses, though we can say that it may not be the time for a ‘wait and see’ approach, businesses need to utilise and leverage all their assets to sustain consumer demand – this means at the very least maintaining, and ideally increasing, marketing efforts. For those in the travel and hospitality industries the marketing strategy should centre around finding ways to encourage consumers to think beyond the pandemic in order to stimulate falling levels of consumer demand.
One thing to take away from all of this, is that things that are usually ‘best practice’, such as ensuring your e-commerce website has a smooth user experience and ease of conversion, now become critical. With more people utilising online services initially, there is going to be a high value placed on online experience and customer service. No-one can say for sure what affect the short-term change in consumer habits is going to have in the long-run, though we can hope the lasting effects are nothing irreversible.