The coronavirus outbreak has shifted the online competitive landscape
Many retailers and brands have begun to ramp up e-commerce promotions, frequently with big discounts, in efforts to connect with customers and drive sales during a time of unprecedented uncertainty. With customers just as unconfident about their futures as retailers, however, it’s not a sure thing that they will spend, regardless of how good the deals are.
Macy’s, Vineyard Vines, American Eagle, Nike and Sephora are a few of the brands and retailers trying to boost online sales, CNBC reports.
American Eagle, Nike and Vineyard Vines are discounting on some or all products purchased online, with deals ranging from 25 percent to 60 percent off regular prices. Macy’s is extending its free shipping on orders greater than $25 to non-loyalty members. Sephora is offering an extended return policy both for online purchases and ones made in-store before the shutdown.
Even businesses that are not primarily retailers, such as SoulCycle, are trying to move product online. The fitness studio chain is offering 75 percent discounts on some of its athletic wear on its site.
For retailers offering discounted products online, being able to get orders into the hands of customers in a timely fashion could be a key differentiator.
Amazon.com, often the go-to choice for e-commerce shoppers in all categories, has been so inundated with orders for essentials like food, household cleaning products and medical supplies that its fulfillment times for other products have begun to lag significantly.
Even Amazon Prime members can expect to wait up to a month to receive orders of non-essential items at this point as the e-tail giant prioritizes the shipment of necessities, according to a CNN report.
Those retailers poised to pick up the online sales Amazon may be losing, however, might want to be careful about taking a hard-sell approach. Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, some retailers have struggled to strike the right tone with their advertising. Over-promoting in a frightening situation can scan as opportunistic.
- Retailers are dangling deals online amid coronavirus, but shoppers may not show up – CNBC
- If you can’t wait for Amazon shipping, shop these other online retailers – CNN
- What’s the right messaging amid the coronavirus outbreak? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What can retailers do to differentiate themselves online at a time when so many are trying to make up for lost brick-and-mortar transactions? Is discounting a must for retailers operating in currently non-essential categories?