eCommerce Marketing Strategy During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Ecommerce, Paid Media Advertising

PPC Campaigns During Coronavirus: Dialing Up & Pulling Back

Ecommerce websites are facing unique challenges and opportunities amid the coronavirus pandemic. With retail stores closed under shelter-in-place ordinances, brick-and-mortar revenue has come to a grinding halt. Understandably, retailers are wary and wondering how they’re going to recoup their losses as an eCommerce only business for the foreseeable future. 

It’s your choice, here’s how things could play out

To save costs, many businesses are dropping their ad budgets completely. While this may save some money in the short term, it has a few after-effects.

  1. You’re likely to see eCommerce sales drop – with your storefront closed you need to be making up that loss in revenue in online sales. If your paid ads have a profitable ROI, turning ad spend down is NOT the way to go right now. 
  2. With so many competitors dropping their ad budgets completely, and online shopping surging (Amazon is sold out of things for weeks out), as an eCommerce company, you’re uniquely poised to fill currently unmet consumer needs. 
  3. When you’re ready to turn your ads back on for business as usual, you’ll face higher keyword bids and lower quality scores delaying your ability to bounce back. And making it more expensive.

Get some help with your advertising and operating costs 

If you’re a bit low on cash for ad spend Google and Facebook are offering a variety of ad credits and grant money to help businesses advertise on their platforms. 

In addition to that, the US Chamber of Commerce has a small business grant you can apply for. 

Many states and local organizations are also putting together their own grants and relief packages. Like the Prosper Portland Small Business Relief fund for Oregon.  And the Washington State Small Business Emergency Grant

Info for newbies about pay per click and paid social ads

If you’ve been lucky enough to have a thriving business that didn’t require online ads before, you might be feeling a little lost. Luckily for you, we have lots of resources! Feel free to take a look at the following for an intro on how this works.

And now, back to addressing the issue at hand, eCommerce marketing strategy during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Wait, aren’t more people advertising now? Won’t it cost more? 

Actually, no. The odds are moving in your favor. 

Amazon has dropped all of its advertising spend on Google, reducing click and conversions costs for everyone else. On many auctions, and industries, Amazon can account for nearly 60% of ad spend and impression share, so the opportunity is significant. Some key industries have cited surges in online sales: 

  • Medical equipment
  • Beauty and personal care
  • Home office equipment
  • Commodities
  • Business management (packing, shipping, etc)
  • Financial services
  • On-demand media
  • Greetings, gifts, flowers and novelties

Similarly, some businesses have cited decreased or mixed results:

  • Real estate
  • Home improvement
  • Home furniture
  • Auto
  • Travel
  • Legal Services

Want to nerd out on data to see how ad spending by industry has changed over the past few weeks? Check out this awesome dashboard from Tinuiti. When ad spend goes up in an industry, that means your competitors are taking advantage of their opportunities. And if you’re not adjusting your strategy, you might get pushed down in the auction. 

Let us help. We have deep experience in Magento, Shopify, Paid Search, Paid Social, YouTube, Landing pages, Checkout UX, and more. 

Can PPC help if you sell products but don’t have an eCommerce store set up?

If you’ve made adjustments to your business processes to account for things like social distancing, then yes! 

For many businesses that may be struggling, opportunity certainly exists, but it takes some creative strategy. Making the most out of online revenue opportunities will take a combination of relevant and empathetic messaging, a seamless user experience, and near surgical precision paid media strategies.

Just because you don’t have an eCommerce store doesn’t mean you can’t use PPC during the coronavirus outbreak to help you bring in sales. Promote your phone ordering services, promote the hell out of your curbside pick up options, and consider implementing delivery for orders over a certain amount.

For example, industries like Home and Garden who were looking forward to their busy season (hello spring) have increased ad spend, but there is more opportunity for small-mid sized businesses to take away market share from the big box offerings like Amazon and Home Depot. 

Real Talk: You don’t have time to do this yourself right now

I know what you’re thinking: but I was forced to close, I have so much time at home to spend on this! 

Even if you have more time because your storefront is closed, you need your eCommerce strategy during the coronavirus pandemic to be on point. From the get-go. There isn’t time for you to learn the ad platforms, write, and test copy for different personas, and figure out how to optimize your campaigns to make the most of your ad budget. 

You need experts to do this work for you correctly right away, time is of the essence.

Ready to get to work? Let’s get started! 

About the Author

Alysha Schultz

Being the VP of Marketing and Culture at Intuitive is really about making sure we walk our talk. Whether that's fostering a balanced and supportive work culture, progressing JEDI initiatives, or ensuring we provide the highest level of service for all of our partners. Alysha is passionate about understanding and cultivating brand identities, and helping businesses share their story with the public through marketing.

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