How To minimize Coronavirus Impact On Your Business

Best Way To Win Coronavirus: Turn Business Challenge Into Opportunity

by Robin Tran

Time for a recap on this Coronavirus and its impact on the business scene.

Learn from case studies and the must-do guideline to limit the damage of this novel virus. Also, we’ll workaround how to make a refreshing lemonade from a sour lemon.

In other words, turn this into something positive.

What is Coronavirus? Unveil its impact on the economy with a case study.

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was first spotted in Wuhan, China on Dec 31, 2019. It’s a highly infectious virus that causes various symptoms all respiratory-related. 

According to the WHO, this novel virus has infected 110 countries and territories with the fatal rate of 3.5%.

Current Coronavirus’s situation (updated and monitored by WHO)

UPDATE NEWS: The New York Times just published this incredible visualization of how the virus got out and became the pandemic that brought the world economy to this state.

Health and life issues aside, this COVID-19 has taken a toll on the global business landscape. 

From the worst to the best scenario that could happen, the global economy goes on a downward path is inevitable. 

global gdp trend in corona virus
Courtesy of McKinsey & Company

Travel and hospitality will undoubtedly take the biggest hit. As border closing orders from the hottest spots of travel and leisure, it’s a dark road for these businesses to move forward.

travel and corona

Now, let’s see 1st hand how it impacts the online ecommerce empire – Alibaba.

Alibaba case study

Alibaba is a China-based ecommerce company that dominates the mother nation with its famous outlets Tmall and Taobao.

alibaba annual revenue
Source: Statista

In 2010, they launched AliExpress with the aim to internationalize their business with product stills mostly made in China. And their growth in the past decade is incredible. 

aliexpress total oversea buyers

But then, when China declared the Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, the scene turned into a new set for Alibaba.

The combination of low demand and delivery troubles has brought Alibaba to the lowest revenue growth within years. 

alibaba is in its slowest growth in years

This is because the Coronavirus primarily covered the motherland – China, the biggest consumer base and product supplier of Alibaba. 

The quarantine limited the number of workers who came back to work after New Year’s break, which resulted in delayed orders – both within and beyond China’s border.

Food orders did increase because of over hoarding but it’s hard to tell that it could fill the revenue loss due to the virus.

Empty-shelves at the mall

It’s also important to note that brand image and brand awareness are extremely vital in this situation. Up to date, Alibaba has donated $67 million in total to support people in the crisis. 

They also offered to loan over $2.86 billion with no to low interest for Chinese companies in need. Another free means of communication for online working – DingTalk, is also heavily promoted. 

But the executives of Alibaba also strike for the light at the end of the tunnel. 

It’s recorded 150 million check-ins on a daily basis with DingTalk. Also, we mentioned the rise of food delivery earlier. These two combines will make banks when this Coronavirus comes to its end. 


Because customers are now more and more dependent on Alibaba’s services. 

With such great support during the outbreak, people will trust the brand even more and make the company essential to their daily lives. 

But first, we need to note down what you as business owners have to do to protect your business in this Coronavirus epidemic. 

Must-do guideline in work ethics to limit Covid-19’s shock wave

minimize covid-19 impact on your business

In full:

  1. Conduct a full health audit on employees. You can check on this form below:

2. Minimize office-based personnel.

3. Promote hygiene etiquette.

4. Clean the workspace daily.

5. Advise employees on traveling.

6. Encourage employees to update their health status and their loved ones.

What ecommerce and online businesses can do to minimize the impact of Coronavirus?

For online business in general

Re-ensure your internal personnel

The 1st rule of dealing with the outbreak is that you can not be broke. You need to motivate your employees to be content with the situation with a clear and optimistic mindset.

In other words, a good internal communication campaign is the very first step you need to do. Solidarity will be your main focal effort. 

solidarity is a must in epidemic
Source: Unsplash

There is no help and borderline dangerous if your core team gets no signals from the executives. It causes underlying problems such as gossips, uncertainties and even riots. 

So here is what you need to do. 

  • Give out a statement that you and the board are fully acknowledging the situation.
  • Ensure your employees about their future in this crisis (regarding the working environment, circumstances, salary and health support). 
  • Produce public information about this Coronavirus with constant updates.

Make sure your employees don’t get shaken by the virus. Because when they don’t believe in you, there is nothing you can do to control their responses and behaviors.

Re-navigate the market, inventory, and supplier

China, South Korea, Japan, Italy – they are some of the biggest markets and suppliers for ecommerce, no doubt. And they are also the top 4 countries with the highest Coronavirus infected cases. 

In this crisis, it’s crucial for you to look into these two aspects and make the change if necessary. 

change the direction if needed

This way, you can contain the initial impact of COVID-19 and have a vision on what will be the priority in the next quarter if not year to come. 

Will you or will you not extend the supplier files? What about the market and inventory shift?

Those are the questions that only you and your team can answer.

Re-evaluate business plan

As mentioned, Coronavirus is an unexpected obstacle that jumped in front of your trip to 2020 success.

Now, it’s recommended to create a meeting in which you and other cooperatives discuss your current business plan.

change the plan if necessary

Here are some of the issues you need to talk about: 

What division will be the most vulnerable? How can we support it?

What scenario could happen? Ranking from worst to best? What is the initiative accordingly?

Increase competitive advantages

We will not only focus on the negative aspect of this Coronavirus. Because it is also a chance.

A chance to prove your worth to established and potential customers. 

Similar to Alibaba, now, you want to offer the best you have for people in the crisis. 

In this case, we talk about competitive advantages: What can make your product better than others? COVID-19 has called for massive demand on shipping, price, customer support and health benefits. 

a hand in need is a hand indeed

These are some of the aspects you can dig deeper and be better at. The gain from this action is impeccable if done right. 

Loyalty is hard to build but can be monetized easily. 

Strike for (even) better UX 

People appreciate the convenience that your product brings them more when they’re in need. 

TAKE A LOOK at a full-blown well-crafted user experience extensions list.

design a better ux is a must

Here are some of the most important aspects that can immensely increase your conversion rate in this Coronavirus epidemic. 

  • Create a smoother transition between pages.
  • Allow customers to navigate on the site at ease. Learn how to do it here.
  • Make it easier to set/track order. Order management extensions come in handy here.
  • Include subtle information (if needed).
Optimize your SEO

In any circumstance, increasing the reach of your site is always a must. Only then, your conversion clock begins.

That’s why you need to fight for even better SEO score on your selling pages.

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Right after purchasing this module, you’ll have a FREE full site SEO audit from BSS’s team. It’s an SEO treatment your site needs and deserves.

magento 2 seo extension features

Picture from Magento 2 SEO Extension by BSS Commerce.

Knowing your site current situation, you now can perfect your on-site SEO in a heartbeat. All the features come with this extension are all automatic/template-designed. 

It speeds up the process and saves you tons of effort pouring into making your site SEO-friendly. 

Keep yourself updated with the news

It’s important to stay educated on the matter. And remember, ethics and trusted sources only, it’s more common that the media fear-monger and portrait the real situation in a different light.

update on the news about the virus

Therefore, you can pull on the very first part of this article. There is a WHO’s official site that constantly updates the COVID-19 situation. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also a very good source on this matter.

Now, we’ll go in-depth with some of the unique niche businesses.

For drop-shipping

Be aware of the chain supply (China)

As for the majority of drop-shipping goes, China is the biggest supplier.

china is the biggest drop-ship supplier

With the imported barriers being placed for goods from China, your drop-ship business can take a big hit. 

Therefore, you need to put an eye on your supplier and the supplier chain (if any). That’s the only way you can fully have a grasp on the whole situation to change accordingly.

Stockist and shipping-related issues

Mostly, drop-shipping does not call for stockist/inventory due to its business model. But there are exceptions to the rule, always.

In this case, you need to ensure the input and output from the inventory happen smoothly. 

Another issue is shipping, now what you can do in this situation.

There are two ways around it and I will leave it to you.

  1. Be frank with the customers. Tell them that the order might get delayed.
  2. Workaround your words. Turn it into pre-order for example. 

For tech-related company

Current landscape – adapt to the tech-leaders 

We’ve broken down the Alibaba case study and got the lessons from that.

How about updating more on the current tech-leaders situation?

Read up on the quick recap below: 

Tech-business in Coronavirus crisis

Deal with shortage and launch delay

As can be seen, many tech companies have pushed back their production and launch due to this Coronavirus.

This is a direct result of the health concern and supply-shortage. And there are limited actions you can do here.

However, coming back to the general rules of approach, always consider 2nd, 3rd options.

Looking back to see how you can source or replace the initial supplier and work from there. 


Delay can also create hype around your product if you make a good promotion campaign for it. 

Sum up 

We’ve talked about how you as an ecommerce businessman can limit the negative impact of this virus and capitalize on the matter.

With case studies and informative infographics, hopefully, you find the way to prosper your sales in this season. 

We give you some of the best assistants to help you on that journey. 

At the end of the day, the human factor is the most important to maintain your success in this Coronavirus outbreak. Making sure your team works with the same energy (if not better) is the most effective, efficient way to win this COVID-19.

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