Social Media Challenges for Ecommerce Business in Coronavirus Crisis

Ecommerce brands like Amazon have rushed to deal with the massive impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. From demand peaks to supply chain challenges, social media can play a part in diminishing those pressures

Social Media Challenges for Ecommerce Business in Coronavirus Crisis

In times of uncertainty, there are vast social media challenges in every industry. Countless businesses have shut down around the world as more countries lock down. But for the ecommerce industry — the lights have to stay on. 

Due to the coronavirus, health and social distancing come first. People depend on ecommerce to obtain essential goods at their homes without going to local stores and possibly infecting others. Receiving online products was once a luxury, but now in some cases it’s a life-saving necessity. 

Marketers from ecommerce businesses can use social media to manage the sporadic traffic and demand without jeopardizing stock levels that can cripple their supply chains. For example, NPR stated that Amazon plans to hire 100,000 new workers in the US for warehouses and delivery service just to meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Ecommerce brands can manage their social media channels to gain more insights about their traffic and audiences. But first, what are some of the social media challenges ecommerce businesses have faced?

Steady Decline in CTR and Ad Spend in Ecommerce Industry

Over the past few chaotic weeks, all industries around the globe have been experiencing a decline in CTR as more and more countries undergo quarantine. However, the CTR decline in the ecommerce industry as a whole is not as bad as it seems.

The main problem for ecommerce businesses is that there are waves of spikes in demand for essential products that conflict with supply chain capacities.

Click-through Rate in Ecommerce Industry

For instance, eMarketer found that there have been surges in Amazon searches for products like hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap. Online shoppers are willing to convert on products with longer delivery times to avoid going into stores. 

Even though there are upsurges in clicks, supply chain issues can start to pile up, and third-party sellers will look for ways to lessen the impact. And based on eMarketer’s findings, most marketers have reduced ad spend in order to control the impact.

Ad spend in USD in Ecommerce Industry

The relationship between ads and merchandising has been a battle for ecommerce brands. Demand is unpredictable during a time of stress, especially when people are panic buying.

During this time, marketers should not create “set and forget” campaigns for a week because so much can change within a day, if not, hours. Either stock can run out fast, or prices are not competitive enough for customers to convert. 

So why risk this? To overcome these social media challenges, let’s focus on sentiment and organic content.

Gain a Clear View of Your Organic Performance

Understanding Audience Sentiment

Creating social campaigns can take all-channel measurement and in-depth performance views to manage the surges of website traffic. But most of all, it’s crucial for ecommerce marketers to identify what’s important to their audiences vs. what strikes a chord with them.  

In order to tackle the declining CTR issue, starting with audience sentiment is your answer. From an audience sentiment analysis, we have seen that the overall sentiment related to coronavirus has grown more negative in the past month on Facebook.

Coronavirus Communicated by Brands on Facebook

All coronavirus content, from news media to government announcements, has overcrowded social media feeds, which can be overwhelming for audiences. Marketers need to consider that most people are also experiencing personal, life-changing factors that can affect the overall sentiment.

As an example, a McKinsey & Company survey in the US has shown that about 70% of their respondents believe that their finances will be impacted for more than two months due to coronavirus. 

To address this mindset, ecommerce marketers need to focus on analyzing brand perception and audience satisfaction. That way, if marketers are staying on top of audience sentiment, they will be able to identify areas of improvement from audience feedback such as delivery delays, out of stock, product quality. Identifying these issues quickly will potentially relieve burdens on supply chains. 

As long as marketers maintain a positive brand perception and satisfaction, ecommerce brands, at the very least, can prevent CTR from declining any further.

Generating Meaningful Organic Content

As a society, people all over the world feel uneasy about the coronavirus pandemic. People can grow numb to stressful content flooding their social media feeds, in which case your posts can be easily overlooked.

This could be an especially important time for ecommerce compared to other industries, as Socialbakers showed a large increase in ecommerce and social commerce engagement towards the end of 2019. And as people are forced inside and can mostly just shop online, the growing social commerce sector – completing the marketing funnel within a platform – could really take hold.

So how can marketers from ecommerce businesses grab their attention and maintain their CTR without paid ads?

Proportion of Organic Posts versus Paid Posts by Region

By region, there’s a slight increase in organic posts vs. paid posts over the past three months. Ecommerce marketers can create uplifting organic content to increase their overall audience sentiment for brand perception, such as merely showing how their brand is positively adapting to the coronavirus crisis or showcasing a special offer to ease the quarantine life.

Just recently, eBay shared a warm post from its employees on a video chat. The caption mentions community and how important it is to stay connected virtually. In addition, Amazon posted on Instagram offering free access to Amazon Prime Video for families. Not only is this thoughtful, but it also encourages families to stay home and spend some quality time together while social distancing.

Develop a Content Strategy to Boost Your Organic Content

The Takeaway

As long as ecommerce marketers are monitoring all channels in their social media marketing funnel, they will be able to gain a better understanding of their audiences. In this regard, lessening the impact on supply chains will not only catch up with demand but will also get people whatever they need to get through this pandemic.

Find out more how Coronavirus is changing behavior on social media for both brands and users.

Content Marketing Specialist

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