As coronavirus keeps millions of people at home, online store traffic continues to increase. According to Statista, non-essential purchases are also changing online.
The screenshot below from Google Analytics is for a small company that sells niche collectors online. Compared to 1-14 April 2020 to 2019, sessions, transactions and revenues increased by 72.16 percent, 238.85 percent and 173.30 percent respectively. And it's usually a slow period.
The keys to this and every other business are two-fold: encourage sales during the shutdown and retain so many new customers afterwards.
Here are five tactics that can help with both.
Maintain communication. Keep new and repeat customers informed about current offers. Remind them that you are open for business. Mark steps you take to ensure a safe work environment and transport of clean products. Let them know about delays or out-of-stock. Thank them most for their support.
Proactive communication with relevant details is critical.
Be active on social media. Build and maintain relationships on your audience's social channels. Create a healthy balance between informative, easy and engaging content. Respond positively to both public and private feedback.
Incorporate live chat. Virtual customer service is more important than ever. For many companies, live web chat is better than telephone operators. Live chat participants can accommodate multiple customers at once. And many consumers who are stuck at home have experienced long telephone times. The last thing they want is another wait.
Give something back. Consumers pay attention to companies that give back to society, especially when it is done in unique ways. For example, Old Town Books, in Alexandria, Virginia, partnered with its local visitor center to keep live, virtual stories on Facebook.
Giving back doesn't have to be expensive. It can be as simple as volunteering or providing printable printouts or coloring book.
Increase customer service. Think about what shoppers are going through and try to address their concerns. Both new and long-term customers are facing an uncertain future. Look to ease stress by:
- Increasing timelines for returns and exchanges and decreasing restrictions, such as requiring long return authorization forms.
- Clearly disclose terms and conditions so they are easier to understand.
- Listing on checkout pages expected delivery and delivery times. If your shopping cart does not calculate the expected delivery date, enter the average transit period for each delivery method.
- Including tracking links in emails. Help customers track their deliveries in real time.
- Follow-up after the purchase. An email confirming that everything has been in good shape is the last step in encouraging a repeat purchase from a first time.