We’re in the midst of COVID-19 as I type this, and I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and remaining sane during the social distancing requirements that have changed the world recently.
Amid the doom and gloom of a collapsing economy and rising unemployment numbers, I’ve been asked for my thoughts and advice on the eCommerce industry in general, and what I would suggest for people either in eCommerce or getting started right now – if they even should.
I’m a hopeless optimist under nearly any condition, but these times are definitely challenging to even the strongest willed among us.
But despite the struggles and fear running rampant right now, both health related and economically, there is a lesson to be learned that can help you with eCommerce success at any time, now, or in the future.
Finding success in eCommerce is about understanding current situations, and identifying trends before anyone else may do so.
Warren Buffet once said to be fearful when others are greedy, and to be greedy when others are fearful.
Right now, people are fearful.
So if you stick to the guidance by the Oracle of Omaha, then right now is a great time to dig in and make your moves.
Nobody really knows how long this virus will be around, nor what life will look like when it is done.
But this is exactly what you have to visualize, and think about, in order to identify where things are going to be in 1 month, 3 months, or one year from now.
But to get to what the future looks like, you have to think about what your present looks like right now.
People are stuck at home, working from home, educating their kids online, from home.
All congregating in public places is temporarily, and indefinitely, not an option. Entertainment, dining, working, exercising… all changed.
Running a business successfully is about solving problems, and right now there are more problems to solve that we’ve seen in a very long time.
Just think about your own life, and see some of the things that people are interested in right now – compared to what they were interested in last month, and for the year or so prior.
My wife was trying to do a little grocery shopping during all of this, and while at Target, tried to buy a jigsaw puzzle so that we could have some family fun time in an engaging and mentally stimulating way for our soon to be 16 year old daughter who is “stuck with mom and dad”.
Target was completely sold out of puzzles, and if not for a nearby employee who noticed her staring at the empty shelf and remembered that he saw a new shipment just arrive, we would not have had a Doug The Pug puzzle night a few days ago.
I doubt there has ever been a time when jigsaw puzzles were out of stock at any retailer, even during the Christmas shopping season. So I took it to Google Trends to find out.
This is one crazy spike! I’m not saying go out and start making jigsaw puzzles. But if you already have them, as a specialty retailer or such, then you need to increase your marketing budget accordingly!
Let’s see what other indoor activities are getting all of the attention on Google Trends right now.
The search for board games is about the same as peak holiday chopping season, and way out of the norm for this time of year.
Same goes for card games (above) and “best books to read” (below).
Of course, nobody has been able to go to a restaurant in a while either. Solutions around food delivery is a huge opportunity as well.
One interesting example if you are in the legal field, considering all of the events being cancelled, from conferences to weddings to whatever, the words “force majeure” seem to have a spike unlike ever searched before, or at least in the last five years.
Attorneys offering services in this regard will be booked solid if they can provide a solution to those impacted by a cancelled event, trying to get a refund.
How does this all impact you and your business? I don’t know, specifically. But if you think about how your world has changed recently, and what you are doing differently right now, then it is possible that you could solve a pain point for many people.
Brainstorm ideas of what pain points you and others around you have right now, and identify how you might be able to solve them. Then be greedy and go all in.
And no, that doesn’t mean price gouging and that doesn’t mean selling knock-off masks, etc.
It means solving a problem and making someone’s life a little better.