How to Maintain eCommerce During Coronavirus

My Post - 2020-03-27T115752.517.pngWhile public health has to be the number one priority during the Coronavirus pandemic, eCommerce companies should be making plans to maintain their business during the current economic volatility. With large scale disruption likely, companies will likely face problems with supply and demand that can seriously impact cash flow. To put your business in the best position it can be, here are some things you may wish to consider.

Product availability issues

As an eCommerce company, you cannot operate if you do not have products to sell. The widescale effects of Coronavirus in China, the origin of so many products and components, means that the supply of many retail goods has already dwindled.

As the pandemic spreads and other countries see reductions in manufacturing capacity, supply is only going to get worse. In all likelihood, employee illness, factory closures and travel restrictions will mean that the products eCommerce companies want to sell will be manufactured at a lower rate and be delivered significantly later.

What then can eCommerce companies do to continue their operations? One solution is to start sourcing these products in areas that haven’t been widely affected by the virus and as time goes on, to look at areas where its impact has receded. Having multiple sources also means you don’t lose your entire supply if one manufacturer or wholesaler goes out of action. Sourcing products domestically can also be helpful as they will not face the same shipping disruption as imported goods.

Product cost issues

With fewer manufacturers or wholesalers working at capacity, many of them are taking advantage of scarcity by increasing their prices. In particular, these companies are prioritising customers who are putting in large orders and paying inflated prices. Smaller eCommerce companies, unfortunately, have been put to the back of the supply queue.

To keep supply going, smaller eCommerce companies may have to look at a wider range of suppliers and accept the higher prices being charged. Whether this cost can be absorbed or passed onto the customer depends on how well-stocked your competitors were before the pandemic began and how well they can absorb the increased costs of new stock themselves.

Cashflow issues

The effects of supply disruption, higher prices and a possible drop in orders means cash flow will be a major concern for all eCommerce companies. To cope with this, businesses will need to reduce spending and find other ways to increase income. With product scarcity likely to be common, there will be less choice for customers. One possible solution that arises from this is to hold on to items that would previously have been put in the sales and to continue selling them at full price to maintain margins.

Another area of consideration is advertising. If there are items in your inventory that are not going to sell because of Coronavirus, travel-related items, for example, then there is little point spending money on advertising them. With all advertising, eCommerce companies need to ensure that ROI is providing the value they need. Focussing on SEO and content marketing to improve organic traffic and shifting towards email marketing which doesn’t have a high acquisition cost, are all ways to bring about efficiencies that can help cash flow over the short term. – Read more

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5 Ways Cloud Will Develop in 2020

My Post - 2020-03-12T125543.750.pngCloud computing is set to continue its remarkable development this year with technologies like 5G, Kubernetes, AI and machine learning increasing the scope and scale of the operational uses it can be put to. In this post, we’ll look at these technologies and see how they will change the face of cloud computing and how businesses use it.

1. IoT boosted by 5G

The long wait for 5G is finally over and, with its introduction, we’re set to see it play a critical role in the connectivity of IoT devices, extending that connectivity way beyond the limitations of wi-fi and enabling the development of edge computing.

The exponential growth in the number of IoT devices is coupled with an equally gargantuan collection of data. As the value of that data for delivering rich insights prevents enterprises from deleting it, companies are left to find a way to store and process it all. They need massive data storage capacity and vast compute capabilities. At the same time, some of the new technologies being developed for IoT use, self-driving vehicles being a prime example, require network latency to be almost eradicated.

5G can help with all these issues. It can connect devices where wi-fi and cabled connections are not available and at exceptional speed, it enables storage and compute services to be installed at the edge of 5G networks, shrinking latency to less than a millisecond while reducing the type and volume of data being stored in datacentres.

2. More stringent security standards for public cloud

Security is a critical concern for all enterprises and one new area to consider is the issue around 5G as it becomes part of the cloud network. The UK’s decision to use Huawei technology for its 5G network has already become a political hot potato. This, together with other concerns, is likely to lead to more stringent security standards, particularly over endpoint security, for cloud providers.

It is expected that tighter regulations will be introduced for the architecture of hybrid clouds requiring full data separation between on-site and public cloud environments. Brexit will also play a part, as the UK goes its own way in implementing standards regarding data protection.

3. More users adopting hybrid cloud

While many companies have considered hybrid cloud, its technological challenges have led to most of them adopting a purely public cloud model. And while there are workloads which are better suited to a hybrid solution, the lack of flexibility to deploy both on-site and cloud infrastructures is a hurdle which many enterprises are not equipped to overcome.

In 2020 and beyond, we’ll start to see new tools that can overcome these management and migration challenges. These tools will split migration into two separate processes where companies can first become familiar with their new programming and management models on-site before finally moving their infrastructure to the cloud. This is particularly helpful for those organisations that want to move to the cloud but don’t want to abandon the investments they have made in their datacentres and hardware. – Read more

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