The outbreak of COVID-19 has altered life as we know it for the foreseeable future and businesses must adapt to the new order, or risk becoming obsolete. The good news is that while the world outside is partially closed, many online businesses are flourishing. Here’s our guide to Ecommerce and Coronavirus, ensuring your business thrives in these uncertain times.
“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic.”
— Peter Drucker, consultant, educator and author.
Firstly, with ecommerce and coronavirus you will likely need to operate in a new way. Following advice from authorities, you may need to implement social distancing, new cleaning regimes, remote working for those who can, one-way systems for staff and contactless deliveries. The official advice will be changing rapidly as the situation develops – make sure you have a process for keeping up to date, implementing and communicating the changes to all staff.
Additionally, keeping current and prospective customers up to date about changes is crucial. Are your deliveries slower than normal? Customers will understand, but you must be upfront about it – before the checkout stage if possible. If deliveries are running as usual, use that in your marketing.
Most companies have added a ‘banner’ to their web pages which link to their policies on staying Covid-19 secure. It’s not just delivery times your customers want to know about – they also need reassurance that you’re doing everything you can to ensure your staff are following the current guidance. This will reduce the risk of viruses being spread through delivery of products and let them know you take their health and safety seriously. Let customers know how delivery will work too – this could be of concern for large products such as appliances. And don’t wait for customers to see your new approach on the website. Let them know on all your marketing channels from social media to e-newsletters.
Giving your customers extra incentive to shop with you is vital. The online shopping market is booming, and you need to keep up with the competition by offering standout customer service. Many companies are allowing extra time for returning items and making it easier for customers to do so. Could you add pre-paid postage labels to each delivery and extend the time to 90 days? Can you invest in easier parcel tracking? This approach will save hassle and promote customer loyalty that will outlive the lockdown.
Be sure that you have the right inventory by closely monitoring product demand. Ensuring you have the capacity to keep supplying top-selling orders and make are aware of what you doesn’t need stocking. There may be something you can offer that is particularly useful in the current situation, or a way to tweak existing products to be more suitable during coronavirus. Adapting like this is the best way to ensure your business will succeed and grow, starting with market research and look for opportunities that will align your company with current demand.
Furthermore, many countries are performing extra border checks, resulting in unavoidable delays to deliveries. Again, it’s imperative that you let customers know about potentially longer delivery times. Furthermore, you must also stay up to date with customs changes relevant to you and look up documentation requirements. Check the rules and regulations of the country you’re shipping from and to – before you ship. You can find this and other eCommerce and coronavirus advice on government websites
Lastly, with everything that’s going on right now, you want to grow and adapt without getting hung up on the supply chain logistics. Using the right third-party fulfilment house can take the pressure off by taking care of the supply side, leaving you to grow and adapt. If you’re considering handing over in-house fulfilment, or looking for a new provider, check our guide to the process of researching and switching here; https://www.j-e-m.com/blog/switching-to-an-order-fulfilment-house/
Towards the new normal, together
Here at JEM, we want to help you thrive amidst the chaos, so our delivery times are the same and there’s been no disruption to service! This allows our clients to focus on communication and growth, safe in the knowledge that we’ve got their stock, orders and deliveries safely in hand. We adapted quickly to the new normal and would love to help you do the same.