Navigating COVID-19: Action plans to accelerate retail eCommerce growth

by Kathy Tan

May 22, 2020

5 minute read

Since mid-March when the COVID-19 pandemic started to pragmatize and put the world in lockdown by the end of March 2020.

94 percent of the Fortune 1000 are already seeing COVID-19 disruptions. —

People start talking about post-COVID action plans, post-COVID revenge buying; which makes me ponder when is exactly post-COVID?

And from the yesterday Shopify (re)Unite online event, Vanessa Lee — the Ecosystem Product Director of Shopify said that at Shopify they are seeing 45% increase of people buying from stores they have never bought before!

As a performance marketer, we had experienced a 200% growth in one of our customers’ eCommerce store! Suddenly they are busier than Christmas, and the retail website has now become the main sales channel. Our team had gathered some insight into what makes a business more successful in capturing the market during the crisis:

Prioritise Making eCommerce Ready

As easy as it seems, eCommerce is more than just a beautiful storefront. It involves planning & implementing a complex operation behind the scene. The businesses who mastered the eCommerce process are able to start ahead. Here’s a simple checklist for you (before you start spending on marketing):

✅  Check stocks level (too high or low)
Make sure to have enough stock if you are selling essential products and if you foresee some slow-moving items, consider a discount and speak with your supplier.

✅  Order fulfilment team
Are there staffs assigned to pack & fulfil the order in the warehouse and online backend when everyone is working from home?

✅  Logistic delivery (3PL for local & overseas)
Find trusted third-party Logistic partners who can support you with online platform integration & a good tracking system so that your staff can check the status anywhere.

✅  Customer service team
Do expect some urgency from customers who purchased during this season or even answering simple enquiries from first-time buyers on checkout processes. Get a good communication team to support customers on live chat, social media comments, Facebook messenger, Instagram messages, WhatsApp, Emails and Calls!

It is crucial to check the list above to avoid these costly mistakes like overstocking, overselling, receiving a bad review and worst losing loyal customers.

Enhance Website Features🛠

Now is the best time to invest in your retail website for the “new normal” where people are getting comfortable buying things online. This crisis has accelerated eCommerce growth rapidly just within months!

Growth in e-commerce has accelerated to forecasted levels 5 years ahead (or more) —
eCommerce sales from Jan-May 2020 doubling compared to yearly 10–20% growth

Today, eCommerce is no longer just a storefront with product display; it has evolved with add-on features enhancing customers experience shopping online.

Build Trust & Create a Seamless Experience

Imagine you’re walking into a retail store, there are sales banners at the storefront, salesperson assisting your enquiries, checking available stocks for you, people eyeing on the same products, etc. How amazing is that if you can recreate that shopping experience onto your retail website with add-on features:

  1. Recreate In-store Experience
    Place hero images as website main banner with same design, theme and brand guidelines as retail placement.

Place a Sticky Banner at the top of the website for additional announcements — AirAsia Destination Good

  1. Security
    An encrypted secured website with business contacts and trusted payment gateway for the local and international transaction is especially crucial for eCommerce website.

  1. Engagement
    • Live chat
    • Pop-up chat/form
    • Push notification
    • Upsell/cross-sell features at checkout

  1. Social Proofing
    • Reviews
    • Affiliate codes to refer a friend for existing customers

  1. Personal Assitant
    • # number of stocks left
    • Size guide
    • Notify when available
    • Return & exchange policy

  1. Loyalty Reward
    Drive longer-lasting customer relationships and increase the lifetime value of new and existing customers. Offer more than points and reward; it also allows you to engage with your customers continually.

Growth Strategy

Remarketing tracking code

When more users are spending more time online, it is an excellent time to revisit your paid marketing strategy. As businesses are with a tighter marketing budget, you need to capture an audience as precise as possible — people who are more likely to purchase. Create sets of custom audiences and retarget them via Facebook/Instagram, Google & Marketing Automation platform.

Marketing automation

Send personalised emails & messages to a specific group of customers based on the actions triggered on the website, email or common behaviour.

Personalised email messages can improve click-through rates by as much as 14% and conversions by 10%. — Aberdeen
Customer Experience Marketing Automation —

Short-term Cash Flow Management

  1. Store pick-up options
    Offer customers the convenience to collect & pick up their purchase from the nearest stores to boost local stores sales.

  1. Pre-orders
    You might face the shortage of materials for production and slow stocks replenishments from the suppliers, and it is difficult. By offering pre-orders to your customers, allow you to collect cash in advance to sustain and manage delivery expectation.

  1. Gift Cards
    Selling store gift cards is also great for cash flow management. Promote gift cards to people or even corporates who are looking for gifts/gift tokens.

Gift cards samples from


Are you a retail and brand owner planning to grow your retail website?
Contact us at 👉


Shopify Expert | Growth Hacker & Performance Marketer at Meekco.Asia

Let's Talk