Coronavirus is dominating the headlines, and it’s still an evolving situation. We have seen its impact across virtually every facet of society, including home life, social life, healthcare, education, and commerce. We put together some questions for Brian Roizen, Cofounder and Chief Architect, to learn how he has personally responded to the current environment, how Feedonomics is responding, and to get his insights on the present and future of eCommerce.
What are some sources you personally rely on for up-to-date information? Have you added any new sources to your usual media list?
We live in a time of media and news overload, so it’s more important than ever to get information from the most definitive sources. I stay up to date with a combination of Google News, Wall Street Journal, Reddit, and Search Engine Land. I’m also constantly checking local Los Angeles news, as well as the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Dashboard.
What are some changes you’ve made to your personal life to limit the impact of the virus?
My wife Rachel and I just had our first baby two weeks ago, right before the coronavirus pandemic reached an inflection point in the US. We’ve basically put ourselves into self-quarantine, limiting visitors, and requiring aggressive hand-washing.
As a company, we have been testing out different departments working from home, and since last week we have had everybody on a mandatory work from home policy. We are lucky that our company was already equipped for remote operations.
Here are some guidelines that have made it a success at Feedonomics:
- Keep in touch regarding your availability.
- Planned outages (lunch, dentist appointment, superhero crime-fighting group meeting) should be pre-approved and marked on your calendar.
- When in doubt, over-communicate!
- Bring your monitor home. Large monitors increase productivity by providing you with a larger work surface and a more comfortable work experience. If you already have a large monitor at home, you may skip this step…
- P.S. Don’t forget the power adapters!
What are some key things you are paying attention to that could affect the eCommerce landscape, as the state of the coronavirus pandemic (and how we respond to it) continues to evolve?
Pay attention to products that are very much in demand, like household staples, for example. We have seen shortages of these products in the short term, but distributors and marketplaces are responding to this and adjusting their behaviors. To get a sense of how dramatic the shift in consumer behavior has been, take a look at Amazon’s Movers & Shakers for Health & Household items. Some products have jumped up in the sales rank by as much as 145,000%.
With social distancing a priority right now, we’ve seen major changes in workplaces and consumer behavior. What are some changes that you expect to be temporary, and what are some changes that you could see becoming long-term behaviors?
Work from home was a long-term trend that is being accelerated by this current environment; companies that don’t embrace this will be doomed. Our “office” is already spread across the globe, so embracing remote employees is even more critical now.
The shift from physical brick-and-mortar will be accelerated to online faster than anyone expected and will continue in the long-term future. The NY Times has an article saying that there is an expected increase in online shopping as a result of the COVID-19 safety precautions, which could be a habit-forming transition in the long run. The article also states that the shift to eCommerce is combating climate change, with a reduction of individual vehicle emissions due to efficient delivery logistics.
We will see more companies get creative with using technology to enhance the shopping experience. For example, technology that allows users to “try on” clothes or see how furniture looks in their home has even more of a need.
In the short term, I think staples like toilet paper and canned food will continue to be in low supply, but as companies adjust production and delivery (Amazon already is disallowing 3rd-party merchants from using FBA for anything not essential), I expect there won’t be a shortage in a couple of weeks time.
How is Feedonomics equipped to adapt to the current landscape?
Our clients are more than just clients, they are truly partners, and we are constantly talking to our brand and agency partners to get an understanding of how they are impacted and how we can help. We are all going to have to band together as a global community to help each other through this transformational time. As our partners go through this period of uncertainty, we want them to know how much we care about them and how we are there for them every step of the way. We are not playing the short game, which is why our contracts are month to month, whereas most other companies have long contracts. We are here for the long haul and need to prove our value every day.
With state-of-the-art communications and systems already in place, our team members are fully equipped to work effectively from remote locations and to service any needs comprehensively and efficiently. Our distributed teams are located throughout the world in five continents, which ensures 24/7 oversight, responsiveness, and most importantly, continuity of service.
Our technology infrastructure is cloud-based and geographically dispersed with no dependency on any of our physical office locations.
Everything we do has our clients’ interests in mind and earning their trust and confidence is sacrosanct.
Find out why over 30% of the top 1,000 Internet Retailers choose Feedonomics.