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Amid pandemic, more Maine companies making transition to online commerce

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(The Center Square) – As the economic decline caused by the COVID-19 outbreak led many entrepreneurs to switch up their online presence, Portland’s Opus Consulting Group recently hosted a webinar to provide insights on improving e-commerce strategy.

“I think companies recognize that consumer behaviors have shifted,” said webinar panelist Rich Brooks, who is president of flyte new media, a Portland-based digital marketing agency, Mainebiz reported.

More companies are investing in strategies that cater to online rather than face-to-face interactions, Brooks said.

Opus consultant Andrew Wood, who moderated the webinar, said the pandemic has seen some companies more than double their online sales. That’s due to more consumers exploring online and discovering smaller companies often can provide the same products and speed of delivery as giant e-commerce retailers like Amazon.

The key for any business is keeping those numbers up as lockdowns and other restrictions ease, Brooks said.

Gardiner-based Common Wealth Poultry Co., established in 2010, had already been looking to expand their operations online; as the pandemic set in, they managed to launch an e-commerce business in only a few weeks.

With more people looking for ways to purchase locally produced food, within a short span of time the company developed an online customer base seeking out fresh, not frozen, meat options.

“We saw this as an opportunity,” said Cameron DeLeone, who handles digital marketing for the company. “It was pretty clear that delivery would win the day.”

While sales were particularly robust in April, they had plateaued by June, and during the next few months the company plans to refine the next steps in its digital strategy.

Brooks stressed that having a clear message to communicate to customers is of primary importance and can give a company a competitive edge over another.

Having an easy-to-navigate platform and a solid social media presence is essential to getting started, Brooks added.

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