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Preparing for Impending Threats to Your Business

COVID-19 Today, Something Else Tomorrow.

As the number of confirmed cases surpasses 180,000, the global impact of the Coronavirus is indisputable. The tragedy is impacting hundreds of thousands of lives, communities, businesses and the greater global economy.

No one is immune. The outbreak has touched lawmakers, professional athletes, famous actors, members of the clergy and people across the globe.

In this time of great uncertainty, there’s a fine line between panicking and taking necessary precautions. What do you do when the unexpected happens? Today it’s the Coronavirus, tomorrow it could be a flood. An earthquake. A war.

How do businesses survive when the unexpected shows up? How do businesses keep people safe, diminish irrational fears, serve their customers and persist in times of tribulation?

In what follows, we’ll unpack all these questions and more with special attention on the manufacturing and distribution industries. We’ll offer some tips and guidance for creating contingency plans and surviving catastrophes. Finally, we’ll highlight why the businesses that are digitally-ready are best prepared to weather the storm.

How Bad Is It Really? And How Bad Could It Get?

One of the biggest problems the public faces is spread of misinformation. Misconceptions and misinformation can lead to mass hysteria.

However, some of the panic is warranted considering the outbreak has impacted several industries dramatically. It remains unclear if these will be short-term or long-term headwinds.

  • Stock Market Performance
    The stock market performance is an obvious indicator of investor sentiment in the U.S. economy. Since the U.S. economy is driven primarily by consumer spending, it indicates that investors believe companies will see fewer purchases from consumers if the coronavirus takes hold in the U.S. like it has in China, South Korea, or Italy.
  • Remote Work and Social Distancing
    Companies who are able to have employees work remotely like Twitter, Google and our own Episerver are urging employees to work from home. By mid-March, the U.S. had already taken several social distancing measures to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. Schools and universities were shutdown, professional sports leagues suspended their seasons and people were told to avoid public transportation. Social distancing efforts are used to slow the spread and minimize its effects on vulnerable populations like elders and those with pre-existing health conditions.
  • Mass Hysteria Clears Shelves at Major Retailers
    Mass hysteria has people stocking up on products like hand sanitizer, wipes, toilet paper, bottled water and personal protective equipment, as shelves sit empty across retail stores. Misinformation about the virus is leading to demands for many products that are either ineffective in protecting against COVID-19 or, in some cases, completely unrelated.
  • Events Canceled
    The outbreak is severely impacting the tradeshow industry as major events are being cancelled, postponed or molded into some kind of virtual event. Salesloft, Facebook, Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle and others make the list of companies who have already canceled some of their largest events of the season. You can see a running list of some of the conferences that have been postponed or canceled here.
  • Travel Advisories and Bans
    Companies like Amazon, Nestle, L’Oreal and others have banned, limited or postponed non-essential travel both domestically and internationally. Travel advisories are devastating the airline and hotel industries. According to the Global Business Travel Association, the virus is costing the business travel industry an estimated $47 billion per month. In the week of February 17th, San Francisco saw an 11% decline in hotel occupancy, according to STR, a hotel data company. An executive at one of the largest retailers in the U.S. recently said they have implemented a travel ban for all employees globally and are encouraging their supply chain partners to do the same. For our employees safety, Episerver has implemented a no-travel policy for the foreseeable future.

Impacts on the Manufacturing and Distribution Industries

The Coronavirus outbreak has been the lead story among major news sources since mid-January. In this section, we explore the major impacts and implications within the manufacturing and distribution industries.

Factory Closures and Shutdowns

Production halts and factory closures were a reality for China. Major companies including Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Tesla and others announced that they were shutting down corporate offices, manufacturing factories and retail stores across China. Italy announced a nationwide emergency essentially sending the entire country into lockdown. The U.S. does not seem too far behind as the spread continues.

Factory Closures and Shutdowns

Production halts and factory closures were a reality for China. Major companies including Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Tesla and others announced that they were shutting down corporate offices, manufacturing factories and retail stores across China. Italy announced a nationwide emergency essentially sending the entire country into lockdown. The U.S. does not seem too far behind as the spread continues.

Impacts on the Manufacturing and Distribution Industries

The Coronavirus outbreak has been the lead story among major news sources since mid-January. In this section, we explore the major impacts and implications within the manufacturing and distribution industries.

Production Shortages

Due to impacts from China’s nationwide lockdown and manufacturing hiatus, many experts have warned that we could see shortages for all sorts of products like smartphones, VR headsets, cars and other tech accessories. February, BBC News reported that Chinese manufacturing hit a record low amid the Coronavirus outbreak.

Production Shortages

Due to impacts from China’s nationwide lockdown and manufacturing hiatus, many experts have warned that we could see shortages for all sorts of products like smartphones, VR headsets, cars and other tech accessories. February, BBC News reported that Chinese manufacturing hit a record low amid the Coronavirus outbreak.

Travel Limitations and Event Cancellations

The 2020 Grainger Show was cancelled and the Ace Hardware Spring Conference was canceled. On March 15th the CDC recommended canceling all events with more than 50 people so it doesn’t look promising for any event scheduled in the spring or summer.

Travel Limitations and Event Cancellations

The 2020 Grainger Show was cancelled and the Ace Hardware Spring Conference was canceled. On March 15th the CDC recommended canceling all events with more than 50 people so it doesn’t look promising for any event scheduled in the spring or summer.

Supply Chain Impacts

The supply chain from China is the first major impact on U.S. businesses. According to Alphaliner, 9% of shipping containers from China to the U.S. are inactive, which closely mirrors the 2009 financial crisis when 11.7% of shipping containers were empty. One eCommerce leader informed us that the coronavirus outbreak in China has required them to temporarily shut down an entire manufacturing division. This division made customized and personalized versions of their product which are very popular among their most loyal customers. He stated they don’t expect to be open again until mid-April.

Supply Chain Impacts

The supply chain from China is the first major impact on U.S. businesses. According to Alphaliner, 9% of shipping containers from China to the U.S. are inactive, which closely mirrors the 2009 financial crisis when 11.7% of shipping containers were empty. One eCommerce leader informed us that the coronavirus outbreak in China has required them to temporarily shut down an entire manufacturing division. This division made customized and personalized versions of their product which are very popular among their most loyal customers. He stated they don’t expect to be open again until mid-April.

“From a healthcare supply and manufacturing perspective, the impact is immediate throughout the entire supply chain. Manufacturing companies can’t keep up with the demand, distributors are rushing to create workflows that attempt to mitigate customers from beefing up their supplies, and end users are in panic.”

Justin Racine
Senior Commerce Consultant

Racine said to Mark Brohan of Digital Commerce 360

Imports and Exports

Many distributors import anywhere from 5-20% of their products. As China took measures to control the spread of the virus, distributors have had to closely monitor situations. Distributors who conduct other international business with countries like Asia, Italy, etc. are also in touch with factories as they return to daily operations. Distributors have to ask key suppliers to assess impacts from the outbreak on the availability of materials distributors purchase from them.

Imports and Exports

Many distributors import anywhere from 5-20% of their products. As China took measures to control the spread of the virus, distributors have had to closely monitor situations. Distributors who conduct other international business with countries like Asia, Italy, etc. are also in touch with factories as they return to daily operations. Distributors have to ask key suppliers to assess impacts from the outbreak on the availability of materials distributors purchase from them.

“From a healthcare supply and manufacturing perspective, the impact is immediate throughout the entire supply chain. Manufacturing companies can’t keep up with the demand, distributors are rushing to create workflows that attempt to mitigate customers from beefing up their supplies, and end users are in panic.”

Justin Racine
Senior Commerce Consultant

Racine said to Mark Brohan of Digital Commerce 360

Surge in Demand for Personal Protective Equipment and Infection Control Products

Efforts to stop spreading the virus have resulted in an unprecedented and sudden spike in demand for personal protective equipment like masks and gloves. In addition, we’re seeing an increased demand in disinfectants and hand sanitizers. Distributors have to work closely with their manufacturers to minimize the impact of shortages.

“Our distributor is currently limiting quantities on certain products because of the Coronavirus outbreak. We are limited to ordering a certain number of boxes of face masks for example because of the high demand they are seeing,” said a Worried Hygienist at Dental Office.

“We have had massive requests from all around the country for masks, but we can’t fill any of the orders. We had to ration the couple hundred cases we had in stock at the onset of the virus to our customers who we had contracts with.”

Brooke Bemis
Division Manager, Haggard & Stocking

Bemis said to RTV6 Indianapolis in February

So, how bad is it? How bad could it get? There are definitely immediate impacts across multiple industries. Panic is starting to set in. To quote Mckinsey & Company, “The Coronavirus outbreak is first and foremost a human tragedy, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. It is also having a growing impact on the global economy.” M&C’s executive briefing, COVID-19: Implications for Business offers some perspective for current and foreseeable impacts on businesses. Their conclusion? A range of outcomes is possible. Decision makers should not assume the worst but they should be prepared for anything.

Insite Software, An Episerver Company, continues to monitor COVID-19 developments. We’ve taken additional measures to protect our employees, customers, partners and communities through the enforcement of COVID-19 best practices. You can view Episerver’s COVID-19 plan, processes and policies here.

Surge in Demand for Personal Protective Equipment and Infection Control Products

Efforts to stop spreading the virus have resulted in an unprecedented and sudden spike in demand for personal protective equipment like masks and gloves. In addition, we’re seeing an increased demand in disinfectants and hand sanitizers. Distributors have to work closely with their manufacturers to minimize the impact of shortages.

“Our distributor is currently limiting quantities on certain products because of the Coronavirus outbreak. We are limited to ordering a certain number of boxes of face masks for example because of the high demand they are seeing,” said a Worried Hygienist at Dental Office.

“We have had massive requests from all around the country for masks, but we can’t fill any of the orders. We had to ration the couple hundred cases we had in stock at the onset of the virus to our customers who we had contracts with.”

Brooke Bemis
Division Manager, Haggard & Stocking

Bemis said to RTV6 Indianapolis in February

So, how bad is it? How bad could it get? There are definitely immediate impacts across multiple industries. Panic is starting to set in. To quote Mckinsey & Company, “The Coronavirus outbreak is first and foremost a human tragedy, affecting hundreds of thousands of people. It is also having a growing impact on the global economy.” M&C’s executive briefing, COVID-19: Implications for Business offers some perspective for current and foreseeable impacts on businesses. Their conclusion? A range of outcomes is possible. Decision makers should not assume the worst but they should be prepared for anything.

Insite Software, An Episerver Company, continues to monitor COVID-19 developments. We’ve taken additional measures to protect our employees, customers, partners and communities through the enforcement of COVID-19 best practices. You can view Episerver’s COVID-19 plan, processes and policies here.

“Many of our suppliers who manufacturer sanitizers, masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment have instituted supply pacing programs, which impact us and our customers. There is a very high demand for these kinds of products right now, so we’re seeing a fluctuation in the industry.”

Amber Kaiser

Marketing Leader

“Many of our suppliers who manufacturer sanitizers, masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment have instituted supply pacing programs, which impact us and our customers. There is a very high demand for these kinds of products right now, so we’re seeing a fluctuation in the industry.”

Amber Kaiser

Marketing Leader

Checklist – Coronavirus Outbreak Actions

We’re not doctors, so we’d encourage you to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on preventing the spread of the Coronavirus. Here are a few actions you can personally and professionally take to flatten the curve.

Personal Actions

  • Wash your hands for at least 30 seconds
  • Use hand sanitizer
  • Be a critical consumer
  • Consult resources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to understand how the Coronavirus spreads and what you can do to prevent it
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoid contact with infected individuals when possible
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects with an EPA-registered disinfectant
  • Clean your phone – you touch it every day, all day
  • Stay home when you’re sick
  • Continuously evaluate and monitor your own health and go in and get screened if you’re displaying systems
  • Don’t panic
  • Unless you are sick, don’t buy or wear face masks – medical professionals need to protect themselves and they are running low!
  • Prepare for quarantine but don’t overstock!
  • If you’re comfortable doing so, engage with stigmatized groups and speak out against negative behaviors

Business Actions

  • Be prepared to offer remote work options
  • Test your business readiness to prepare for the unexpected and keep your customers’ businesses moving
  • Suspend or reschedule non-critical business travel
  • Suspend or reschedule in-person meetings or events
  • Clearly communicate your business plan with your customers, employees and partners
  • Adopt WHO COVID-19 best practices
  • Increase access to cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer in offices that remain open
  • Coordinate COVID-19 screenings for employees as needed
  • Keep your workspace as clean as possible
  • Incorporate a no hand-shake policy until further notice
  • Update your emergency operations plan with the help of your local public health department
  • Identify space in your business quarters where you can separate sick people where necessary
  • Develop flexible attendance, sick-leave and PTO plans for employees, especially those with children who may be home from school
  • Intensify communication with your team

Preparedness: Pandemic Planning Checklist for Businesses

Here’s one more resource for you.

Developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this disaster-preparedness checklist identifies steps your company should take to prepare for a possible avian flu pandemic. It’s a bit more comprehensive than our version, should you want to cover all your bases as a business.

Make the Most of It

In this unsettling time, when many of us are isolated, it can be hard to stay positive.

Take this time to slow down. Spend time with those who matter most. Take up a new hobby. Learn something new. Laugh. Hold your children tight. Get fresh air. Stop buying and selling. Read a book. Sing. Meditate. Get enough sleep. Let the world be what it is for a minute and forget about making a dollar or converting a lead. Drink coffee. Drink tea. Do that project you keep putting off. Write. Help your neighbor. Give when you can. We are all in this together. This unsettling time will pass.

“The human race is shockingly resilient and resourceful, and we’ll recover from this and move forward. Not only that, we’ll have been thrust into circumstances that will have given us an entirely different perspective on the things we do habitually from day-to-day.”

Deane Barker
Senior Director of Content Management Strategy

Read more about Deane’s perspective on our new normal

Preparing for the Unexpected

The Coronavirus is one thing, but it won’t be the last time disaster strikes. What can businesses do when when faced with trial and tribulation? Those best prepared to continue to serve their customers and keep their employees safe are the ones who will survive.

Competitive advantage is created in times of uncertainty. Leaders are born as they spot opportunities to innovate.

Here are a few actions to take to best prepare your business for disasters:

Remain Calm

In the face of any disaster, it is crucial for business leaders to remain calm. On the brink of a disaster, it helps to offer perspective on how bad the situation is and how bad it could get. For example, It helps to put the coronavirus outbreak in context of cases per capita. It can be alarming when you see total number of cases increasing every day. Keep in mind, in the United States, there are 3.4 cases per million people. In the U.K. it’s 6.7 cases per million. This is far lower than the 206 cases per million in Italy or 151 cases per million in South Korea.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Communicate with your employees, vendors, partners, suppliers and customers. Communicate early on and frequently through various channels. A mix of traditional and digital channels is a good idea as we are omnichannel creatures. Let your stakeholders know you are taking the potential impact of any disaster seriously. Review and monitor the situation daily and respond as necessary.

Put Safety of Your Employees First

“At Episerver we have transitioned to remote work and canceled non-critical travel. I am extraordinarily thankful to our customers and partners whose support and agility is making this possible, and to the team at Epi whose precautionary steps always keep our customers’ businesses moving. Every single one of us is part of the solution as we protect the health and safety of everyone in our communities.”

Alex Atzberger
CEO

Your employees’ safety comes first. Where you can, suspend unnecessary travel. Encourage your employees to work from home. If you do keep your facilities open, keep them as safe and clean as possible. Remember, part of keeping your team safe is restricting visitors as well.

If your business is anything like ours, you may actually see a reported increase in productivity by saving on commute time and saving time around the water cooler. Be sure to test your organization’s readiness for any and all disasters.

Put Safety of Your Employees First

Your employees’ safety comes first. Where you can, suspend unnecessary travel. Encourage your employees to work from home. If you do keep your facilities open, keep them as safe and clean as possible. Remember, part of keeping your team safe is restricting visitors as well.

If your business is anything like ours, you may actually see a reported increase in productivity by saving on commute time and saving time around the water cooler. Be sure to test your organization’s readiness for any and all disasters.

“At Episerver we have transitioned to remote work and canceled non-critical travel. I am extraordinarily thankful to our customers and partners whose support and agility is making this possible, and to the team at Epi whose precautionary steps always keep our customers’ businesses moving. Every single one of us is part of the solution as we protect the health and safety of everyone in our communities.”

Alex Atzberger
CEO

Shore Up Cash Positions, but Don’t Stop Investing

Specific to the Coronavirus, some companies are considering financing their capital investments (including software purchases) to protect their cash positions in a time of uncertainty and to take advantage of plunging interest rates. This allows the business to continue investing in growth without tying up capital in large investments that may be needed if sales are negatively affected by the outbreak.

Always Assess Risks

Expect the best, prepare for the worst. Patrick Dempsey, Barnes Group CEO recently shared with Industrial Distribution that Barnes Group sees a potential revenue risk in the first quarter of $10 million to $15 million due to the Coronavirus. As public crises occur, be prepared to predict potential risks to your business. Try to get as much of a grasp as you can on the unknown. Implement new procedures that help you minimize risk.

In addition, take precautions when it comes to your inventory availability. Many distributors and manufacturers are prioritizing shipments, securing additional freight capacity and more. Amazon recently announced they were suspending all non-essential shipments to warehouses amid the Coronavirus crisis.

Get Involved In Policy Creation

“Manufacturers have a greater purpose than profits. We are also about protecting our people and our communities.”

Mike Lamach
Board Chair, National Association of Manufacturers

Lamach said in the COVID-19 Policy Action Plan Recommendations

Across America, manufacturers are stepping up to help keep our communities and employees safe and healthy during the Coronavirus. The National Association of Manufacturers released a policy action plan in response to COVID-19 that calls on the federal government to take legislative and administrative steps to equip manufacturers to respond to COVID-19 and future public health emergencies. When outbreaks happen and natural disasters occur, you have to ask yourself if you will be part of the problem or solution.

Get Involved In Policy Creation

Across America, manufacturers are stepping up to help keep our communities and employees safe and healthy during the Coronavirus. The National Association of Manufacturers released a policy action plan in response to COVID-19 that calls on the federal government to take legislative and administrative steps to equip manufacturers to respond to COVID-19 and future public health emergencies. When outbreaks happen and natural disasters occur, you have to ask yourself if you will be part of the problem or solution.

“Manufacturers have a greater purpose than profits. We are also about protecting our people and our communities.”

Mike Lamach

Board Chair, National Association of Manufacturers

Lamach said in the COVID-19 Policy Action Plan Recommendations

Think Beyond Events

A lot of companies are scrambling for alternatives to events/tradeshows right now. But the virtual version of your event won’t necessarily produce the same type of results that an in-person event would. You don’t always have to transform your event into something virtual. Think about how you can incorporate other marketing tactics into your plan when events are canceled because of natural disasters.

Be a Leader

Honor that we can all be leaders in the face of disaster. In fact, many leaders rise up when disaster happens. It’s a great opportunity for people to recognize new ways of doing things.

Have Empathy

“It’s hard to be prepared for anything. Sometimes, you can’t be fully prepared for the unexpected. The best thing to do is to show empathy and communicate with your customers.”

Marc Gloede

General Manager

This may be a given, but show empathy for your employees and your team. Understand their situations. Know what you can do to support them. Continue building relationships, because in the face of disaster, people have to come together. Relationships can only get stronger when disasters are approached gracefully.

Have Empathy

This may be a given, but show empathy for your employees and your team. Understand their situations. Know what you can do to support them. Continue building relationships, because in the face of disaster, people have to come together. Relationships can only get stronger when disasters are approached gracefully.

“It’s hard to be prepared for anything. Sometimes, you can’t be fully prepared for the unexpected. The best thing to do is to show empathy and communicate with your customers.”

Marc Gloede

General Manager

Be Digitally Enabled

“In times of disaster, find the silver-lining. Encourage customers to make purchases online. Remind your customers of the convenience of purchasing from your organization online instead of through distribution centers or in person meetings with sales reps. If communicated well, this can help maintain sales momentum if customers are hesitant to meet in person or visit your distribution centers.”

Ed Kennedy

eCommerce Strategist

This is a big one, and we’ll dedicate the entire final section of this brief to illustrating why companies who are enabled by digital technologies will beat the competition every time.

Be Digitally Enabled

This is a big one, and we’ll dedicate the entire final section of this brief to illustrating why companies who are enabled by digital technologies will beat the competition every time.

“In times of disaster, find the silver-lining. Encourage customers to make purchases online. Remind your customers of the convenience of purchasing from your organization online instead of through distribution centers or in person meetings with sales reps. If communicated well, this can help maintain sales momentum if customers are hesitant to meet in person or visit your distribution centers.”

Ed Kennedy

eCommerce Strategist

Stepping Up for the Greater Good

When a disaster strikes, your company has the opportunity to become part of the solution. We are privileged to work alongside manufacturers and distributors who believe in helping people and building stronger communities, especially during a crisis. Here are some of our customers who step-up for their communities on a regular basis and react when disaster strikes. Our customers inspire us. We hope they inspire you too.

Eastern Cares

Eastern Industrial Supplies established Eastern Cares in 2002. The program is dedicated to caring for their company, communities, country and other cultures. Eastern works feverishly to have a positive impact on the lives of others. Eastern associates frequently volunteer for the greater community. The company takes part in national outreach efforts like Operation Rise & Conquer, Hurricane Relief programs and Care Packages for U.S. Troops.

BraunAbility Drive for Inclusion

BraunAbility created a global movement for accessibility and independence for those living with mobility challenges and their caregivers. The goal? To build a more mobility-inclusive society that makes it possible for people of all ability levels to fully contribute to the world around them.

Hisco – I can help

Hisco believes in stewardship and community service. The letter I in Hisco stands for I can help. In times of crisis, the Hisco team is willing to step up to the plate to help where they can. When Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, Hisco provided support to Katrina relief funds. To quote their Hisco Cares program, “Let’s all become instruments of peace. Where there is hatred, let us so love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy.”

Starkey Hearing Foundation

Starkey Hearing Technologies is a leading U.S. manufacturer of digital, wireless and invisible hearing aids and other hearing devices. In 1984, William F. Austin founded the Starkey Hearing Foundation to give the gift of hearing to people in need in the U.S. and around the world. Starkey believes hearing is a vehicle to reflect caring and to improve the lives of individuals, their families and the communities.

Why Companies That Are Enabled by Technology Will Survive the Worst

We live in a time of disruption and change. Never have things changed faster than they do today. We’ve seen how the technology revolution can completely transform businesses and the economy at large. If you haven’t digitally transformed, you won’t survive.

Ask yourself:

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Are you prepared for your workforce to work remotely?

For some jobs in industries like healthcare and manufacturing, remote work is simply out of the question. But for employees that can, do you have confidence that you could allow them to work remotely without severely disrupting day-to-day operations? This is your opportunity for productivity with no distractions. Enable your team to work wherever they can.

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Can you provide online training or host virtual events?

Are you set up to empower global learning through online courses? Think about ways you can bring more people together virtually. As many events get canceled during disasters, think about ways you can create new leads.

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Are you setup to serve your customer online?

Do you have the ability to serve your customer online? Are you able to communicate well through your website and other digital channels? Are you providing product information and clearly communicating things? You need to be able to serve your customer and communicate well. Enable your customers to order things online.

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Can you drive business continuity?

Are you able to keep business going without being in the office or requiring a VPN? When companies are enabled by technology they can continue to drive critical business outcomes like customer retention, online adoption and share of wallet growth with a small, nimble remote team.

How You Can Use eCommerce to Standout During Emergencies

During a disaster, supply chain and shipping disruptions are a given. When possible, customers will elect to conduct business with you online. You have to be ready to serve them. It’s your opportunity to rise up to the challenge. Here are a few ways you can use eCommerce during a global emergency to communicate often and continue serving your customers.

  • Leverage your site to post updates about the current disaster or pandemic
  • Share helpful manufacturer communications and updates
  • Be open and transparent about inventory availability
  • Note specific SKUs that are impacted by the pandemic or disaster
  • Restrict certain products to customers vs. guests
  • Easily spin up landing pages with no outside help
  • If you have disaster relief supplies and products, promote them on your site
  • Communicate clearly and effectively about inventory levels and pricing
  • Create educational resources and training videos about products or services
  • Enable your customers to self-serve so your team can focus on critical priorities and high demand areas that see a spike as a result of the pandemic or the disaster

“AD members are staying open to serve their communities. One change they have made is shifting communications. Those with a digitally-enabled distribution sales process capitalize early.”

Caroline Ernst

VP, eCommerce Solutions

Our Customers In Action

Here are a few actions some of our manufacturing and distribution customers have taken on their eCommerce websites amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.

American Paper and Twine shared a Coronavirus update for their customers here. Including helpful information about products they recommend to be used against 2019-nCoV based on the EPA’s Emerging Viral Pathogen Policy.

Hisco has made updates to their product pages. With a message on their N95 Particulate Filter Respirator and Surgical Mask that reads as follows, “Due to high-volume demand for this product during the ongoing Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic, orders must be placed directly through a customer service representative. Please contact customer service for assistance.”

Schilling Supply has a featured products area where they are promoting products that are in higher demand right now. You can learn more about how Schilling Supply is responding to the Coronavirus outbreak here.

Dakota Supply Group features a letter from their CEO on their homepage detailing the company’s efforts to provide a healthy work environment and maintain continuous operations to service their customers’ ongoing needs for equipment, supplies and services from DSG.

George T Sanders sent an email to customers directing them to their website and mobile app and expressing the steps the company is taking in response COVID-19.

“During a pandemic, Insite is well equipped to help manufacturers and distributors extend their customer relationship and empathy online. Your eCommerce website can help you be open and transparent with inventory availability, keep customers up to speed on what’s happening with their orders, restrict certain products to customers only vs. guests, share helpful manufacturer communications and updates and more.”

Jon Greene

Chief Customer Officer, Insite Software

Are You Ready?

Preparing for the unexpected isn’t always easy. Preparing for anything isn’t always possible. But there are steps you can take to ensure your business survives when disaster strikes. If you only take a few points away from this article we hope they are this:

Communication is key

Communicate to your customers, your partners and your employees frequently and clearly

Empathy makes a world of difference

Understand that everyone navigates crises in their own ways. Do your best to step into others’ shoes and help where you can

Technology becomes more important than ever

To maintain business, you have to enable your team and your customers to do business with you online. If you need help preparing your business online, Insite can help

At Insite Software, an Episerver company we are planning for unexpected. We do not foresee any impact of the COVID-19 outbreak in our ability to continue to serve and support customers, partners and organizations. For updates on our COVID-19 Plan, Processes and Policies click here.

Finally, enjoy this quarantine playlist to add some fun to your day created by Insite’s Product Business Analyst, Sarah Norris.