With states that place restrictions on non-essential workplaces, managing an online store can be tricky. This is especially true for e-commerce sites that are extensions of brick and mortar companies. However, online stores will become increasingly important in the coming weeks.
As more consumers turn online, demands for better prices and free shipping increase. So do the requirements for fast processing and delivery times. Even Amazon has trouble keeping up, especially for "non-essential" items, which allows smaller players to fill a void. People with medical conditions unrelated to Covid-19 see long delivery times for necessary deliveries.
The following are seven steps to keep your e-commerce business afloat and ease the burden of working with limited resources.
Shift the focus of the website and update the site navigation. Decide which of your products are in higher demand and then organize landing pages and browsing structures around these items. Focus on goods that can be packed and delivered quickly. Include exact lead times.
Handle the inventory carefully. Canceling customer orders (or delivering incomplete orders) due to out-of-stock causes stress for your brand and shopper and calls and complaints.
Research Operator options. Some shipping companies limit resources in certain areas. Check for changes in pickup days and times, and adjust or negotiate if needed.
Promote live chat. Now it's time to focus on web-based live chat and social messaging. Both enable the handling of simultaneous inquiries and, in other cases, facilitate other customer service agents to pick up where others left off.
Live chat can also accommodate address changes, lower transitions and increase average order values.
Build Covid-19 frequently asked questions. Advise shoppers on fulfillment times, product availability and other actions your company takes. Create autoresponders in live chat and Facebook Messenger for the most common questions. Include links where appropriate.
Go to your Facebook page Settings> Messaging> During a Messenger conversation> Set up automatic replies.
Recommend alternative products. Use analytics to track high traffic products to know where to recommend alternatives.
Be transparent. Time is crucial for many consumers, even for non-essential items. End potential delays in advance to prevent a bad experience. Transparency also reduces interactions between customer service.
Consider diversifying if you sell on third-party marketplaces. Alert check layers for other channels, as some downgrade your listings based on availability.
For example, Amazon penalizes sellers when the submitted inventory is depleted. When exhausted items are back in stock, search results often rank much lower. Worse, products that are out of stock for 30 days may come back with limited sales history. Therefore, it is sometimes advantageous to remove stock from your own store to ensure it remains listed on marketplaces.
And don't stop email campaigns. Many loyal customers want to support your brand, especially if it is a small business. Let them know how you feel. Provide dedicated support via live chat, phone or email. You will need these long time customers when this is over.