Products businesses and Coronavirus – can you still sell?

Over the past few weeks the world has changed – a lot, for everyone.  If you sell products, you might well have questions about what you can and should be doing now.  These are just my thoughts, but I hope they help you.

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Should I continue to sell my products?

Overall – I’d say yes, but there are a few things to consider.

Where you sell.

If you have a physical shop, or you usually sell your products in stores (or at markets and pop-ups) then this may need to stop for now (depending on what and where you sell).  However, you can still sell online, providing you think about the fulfilment

Fulfilment

If you fulfil your products yourself then I’d recommend taking precautions such as washing your hands before you begin and disinfecting the surface you’ll be using to package your products.  

Post Offices are still open so, in theory, you can still drop parcels off – if you feel comfortable doing so.  You can do drop and go if you prefer not to queue (you pay postage online and just post your parcels.  Or, there might be a parcel postbox near you (but you can’t do special or tracked delivery).

A final option would be to arrange a courier service where they collect from your door.  (You can perhaps even manage this without having any contact with the courier and maintaining social distancing.)

If you have a third party manage your fulfilment you’ll need to check in with them to see how they’re handling the situation and, if they’re still operating.  Of course this can (and possibly will) change, so communication is key.

If you’re able to sell online, and fulfil your products, there’s no reason not to continue.

If you’re not already selling online this could be a great time to get started.  

Although, do note that Amazon (who I know are often the first thought when it comes to online marketplaces) are placing restrictions on who can sell and are prioritising shipping orders in certain categories.  These can (and probably will) change too. However, there are other places you can try – including on your own website if you haven’t done so already. (I recommend Shopify for this.)

If your question is more around the morality of selling now, I’d still say yes. Honestly, providing you have a good product, that will improve the lives of the people who buy it (even if in a tiny way) then go ahead.  

Just a final note.  I know that not everything is still selling now.  I’ve heard from lots of people whose sales have fallen or, in some cases, completely stopped.  If your sales have dropped, firstly I want to acknowledge how hard that is. I know how hard you’ve worked to get to where you are now.   

I think all we can do (and this probably applies to this entire situation) is to keep faith that it shall pass. People will start shopping again and if they were buying your product before there’s no reason they won’t buy it again.  (I know this is easier said than done. I’m in the same boat too and this is what I keep telling myself.)

In the meantime, is there any way you can change what you offer to help people during this time? 

I was about to launch a new product / place an order.  Should I still do this?

Honestly – it depends.  If your product is something that will still sell now, you can afford to invest in the stock, and you feel comfortable doing so, then go ahead.

If you’re in any way unsure (which is understandable, these are very uncertain times) then I’d recommend holding off.

If you’ve spent the time creating a great product, I’m sure it’ll still be relevant in a few months, or however long it takes the world to go back to ‘normal.’ Why not spend the time now getting everything in place?  You could get your product descriptions, photography, website, social media, etc, all set up, to give yourself a headstart when your product’s here and ready to sell. 

Perhaps you can even take pre-orders!

I have a product idea – is it worth me even pursuing it now!

Yes, absolutely – if you have the time, energy and desire to do this.

If you’re in the early stages, there’s a lot of research you can do, all online, for free, before spending any money or making any kind of commitments.

I’m always talking about verifying your ideas before going ahead – and now it’s probably even more important than ever.

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