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Over Half of COVID-Impacted Sellers See Stability in September

Over Half of COVID-Impacted Sellers See Stability in September
COVID-19, Coronavirus, group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, the virus causes respiratory infections. 3D illustration.

When asked in what shape their online businesses would be in September 2020, 56% of sellers surveyed said they would be either in the same or in better shape than before the coronavirus. The remaining sellers (44%) believe their businesses will be worse, according to a survey of EcommerceBytes readers that ran from March 29 – April 2,

We asked, “Looking forward 6 months, in what shape do you anticipate your online business will be in September 2020?” Sellers responded as follows:

Same as before the coronavirus: 36%
Better than before the coronavirus: 20%
Worse than before the coronavirus: 44%

The optimistic among them believe that shoppers will choose to do more shopping online in general, some because they found it more convenient, and others because they may still remain fearful of viruses.

Some said they are hoping that shoppers who discovered them during the crisis will become repeat customers.

But many sellers wrote in the comments fields that they expect shoppers to be unable to afford discretionary spending, especially for items such as collectibles. The dreaded word “recession” was mentioned more than once.

Some sellers mentioned the possibility of COVID-19 returning seasonally – and of those, some believed that could actually help their online sales.

Product sourcing was clearly on some sellers’ minds as they face challenges procuring inventory. “Some of my European wholesalers have closed and I will run out of their inventory. It will take a little while to get that stock back up,” one seller wrote. However, some sellers said they are listings more items.

A selection of sellers’ comments follows:

People will be trying to catch up on rent, utilities, etc. and will not be buying non-essential items.

There will be many businesses that won’t be able to re-open, many people out of work. The govt can’t stimulate their way out of this, they can only print so much money.

With high unemployment, I don’t think the kinds of things I sell (collectibles) will be hot items, but who knows at this point.

In my case, I think women purchased many products anticipating additional time to work on crafts. But after 6 months, I think the economic repercussions will have set in and I expect a depressed Christmas selling season.

I think that there will be so many people lowering their prices just to make sales that it will affect comps and what people are willing to pay in the future even if they get their full income back.

Anticipating recession, as the best case scenario. Enjoying the sales bump while it lasts…!

All depends on what happens in coming weeks and months, if I’m alive.

If I had to choose between using what little money I have and paying a mortgage or car payment, I’d not be shopping for pottery on eBay.

It will be weeks or months before many people realise they have far less money than before.

I’ve had to cease International selling due to problems with border closures. This will impact my bottom line some but to what degree I’m unsure.

Sales always decrease in the fall of presidential election years. That’s a given. And I anticipate the country will be more cautious with their spending after going through this crisis, which is unlike anything they’ve ever experienced in their lifetimes.

I think this will kill my postcard store. I don’t think this will have much affect on my other stores which are really only generating a few hundred a month anyway. My anchor store contract is up June 1 and I’m probably going to open a Shopify store next month and take all the Postcard inventory off eBay. If that doesn’t work out, so be it. I’m not really a large seller, mostly it’s a way to earn some extra part time money without leaving home. I think the most serious affect this will have on me is to cost me some money in the long run. Note – you didn’t ask a question about sourcing inventory. I would think that the inability to source for some people would be a factor in how well they will survive Coronavirus.

I expect it to exhaust all my financial reserves.

I believe my business will be gone, bankrupt because of Coronavirus outbreak. And that will happen very soon, before the end of April. I have no money coming in.

I have been unable to go out and buy stock, all the brocantes where I usually source stock are banned. By then, the money I normally use for buying stock will have been spent on household expenses.

I have a high-risk family member so as well as not being able to send inventory to Amazon I also don’t want the extra items here with unknown people handling it ie, packing and shipping, due to the risk, so I’m not ordering inventory either.

I honestly don’t know how I feel about the future for my business; this is a very scary time. Not willing to take out a loan for fear of having yet another bill to pay.

I imagine things will pick up from where they are now, and maybe sales might even be back to normal, but with a period of little-to-no income, I will not be able to source much inventory for a time, and will need to tap into savings to pay basic expenses, so I imagine it will take a year or more to get back to where I was previously, and from today, I think it will get worse before it gets better.

Trying to stay positive!

If the pandemic continues for several months, or if even afterward people are more hesitant to go out into groups or crowds, this could continue to favorably impact the sales of home entertainment items.

Higher, the reason being is that there are a lot more people trying our products. Some of these people will go back to normal brick and mortar shopping, but many will not.

Since there is an uptick in online sales, this gives us an opportunity to turn a buyer into a customer who will return to purchase again IF and only IF we do a good job.

If the deceitful media would quit pushing panic and fraudulent reporting (using images from other countries or even movies to accompany stories they purport to be local), business could return to normal or even better than before.

The reason I choose this is because by then people who never purchased online will realize how easy and money saving it is. And will continue with this new habit.

Since we are actively listing, there will be a larger selection in our shops than usual. If things get back to somewhat normal it should convert to more sales-fingers crossed!

We have to be optimistic. I think more people will move away from China and think more of the American sellers and small businesses. Don’t you think it is about time???

Implementing lots of marketing features and investing time to learn new skills.

I am using the time to beef up sales and online presence because consumers will be ready to spend once they get back to work.

Can’t be sure, but I think some new customers have found me as a result of this crisis, and I hope they’ll continue buying from me.

In my business, March was my last good month, going down until fall. I would expect September to be fine unless another outbreak happens with the cold weather.

Wishful thinking that it’s the same or better. Hopefully it won’t be worse as sales have been decreasing drastically over the past year.

I have read a lot of news coverage, and I have thought about it but have no idea. If this goes on for an extended period I do see an increase in sales of practical household items (if they are no longer available in stores that have gone out of business or there are supply chain issues). I also wonder if (US) domestic manufacturing will become more of a “thing.” But then prices will go up? That may make vintage items more competitive price-wise. I am very curious about this.

Hoping but unsure. Most rally to support small business,

September is always a slow month for us with buyers more focused on back-to-school costs and issues. I think that things will be more normal for online sellers as we move into the holiday season. But if the sickness returns with the onset of winter, or if there really is a strong recession or depression in the world economy, all bets are off.

I believe things will rebound – slowly at first but will return to normal as we knew it prior to this pandemic.

By September, I hope to have a great August show under my belt and be looking forward to a great September show. Online sales will be dismal as always but I’ll be able to breathe easier having sold enough offline not to have to obsess over online sales.

I really have no idea, but I think people will continue to buy what I sell, rare dinnerware pieces, nice used clothing, and used nonfiction books.

I am hopeful. I am fortunate to have a small warehouse of unlisted inventory so everyday I can source with no worries. I have to be committed to listing and let the anxiety of Coronavirus go, is more of the issue. Sales are there. 70-75% of the population is still working. Onward I go. Listing away today!

I don’t know why I feel that way, perhaps I am a Pollyanna, but things will be ok.

Life has to go back to normal at some point, and designer suits and the like should still be desirable once most folks are back in the office.

I think once this pandemic is over, people will get back to regular shopping habits. They may even increase online shopping. I know I will.

We adapt and change with the customer and market needs

Additional Survey Results
The full survey results are available in this companion article in today’s issue of EcommerceBytes update, as well as in the following EcommerceBytes Blog posts:

Survey: A Quarter of Sellers Lowered Prices amid Pandemic

Survey Finds Pandemic Takes a Toll on Small Sellers

Sellers Split on Marketplace Response to COVID Pandemic

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.