Navigating Covid-19 For Online Store Owners
There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now. Governments are taking measures to slow down the spread of Covid-19. Citizens are practicing social distancing and limiting non-essential travel. We’re all doing our best to navigate this new normal.
Online businesses also face unique questions and uncertainties. However, we’re glad to see that even now, people are still choosing to buy online. Many retail business owners are still fearful though, which is understandable.
Government money may be scarce for small businesses, but some companies commonly used by smaller retail businesses are offering relief.
Here are some offers that might help you run your business:
Etsy is investing in offsite ads and offering merchants extra time to pay their bills.
Shopify now offers extended free trials, gift cards, live webinars, local delivery and curb-side pickup.
BigCommerce has created several ecommerce and coronavirus focused resources to help businesses navigate this new environment.
Wix has created an informative guide for business owners.
Canva offers free coronavirus themed prints and social media templates.
The news is changing every day. Follow current updates (while taking breaks when you feel overwhelmed), acknowledge what’s going on in the world, and adapt your strategies. Here are the categories you should consider when looking through your store.
Change Your Product Highlights
Like you may rotate your products based on seasons and holidays, see how your products tie in with the current events. With people avoiding crowds and beaches, products related to those activities might not be a bestselling product.
Instead, put your efforts into the products people are buying now. Expanding or highlighting your home and living category while everyone is spending time at home makes sense.
Creating topical collections is a great way to put a spotlight on products your customers are looking for.
Watch Your Messaging
You don’t have to mention Covid-19 in every single piece of marketing material, but be sensitive to what people are experiencing and do acknowledge that things are moving slower than usual. Now might not be the time to make jokes about getting sick, or promote the perfect date night supplies.
But you can still have some fun with your messaging and make your customers crack a smile and so keeping things light is just fine.
Watch Your Finances
Now’s also the moment to take a critical look at where you’re investing your money. Even if the crisis hasn’t affected your finances at the moment, think in the long term. Save where you can to make sure you get through any potential difficulties with less hassle:
Your website and tools. Do an audit of your website and stop spending on whatever you don’t need right now. For example, if your email platform plan charges per emails sent, you can send fewer emails and downgrade to a cheaper option.
Your campaigns. You can also run an audit of your marketing campaigns. Got a low-performing Facebook ad? Stop running it. While you might not want to drop all of your marketing activities, – for example, great content is being consumed more than ever, so keep up with that blog – you definitely want to focus on the platforms that work.
The changes you make now don’t have to be permanent. Think of them as precautions you can reverse after the situation stabilizes. But while there’s so much uncertainty, it’s better to think twice before blowing your budget.
Communicate with Customers about Delays
First of all, assure your customers that you’re still accepting orders, and follow updates from any other providers you work with so you understand what’s going on.
Second, let customers know about updates in shipping delays as soon as you can and proactively manage their expectations about order fulfillment under the given circumstances.
Make it clear to your customers if fulfillment and shipping are expected to take longer. To avoid miscommunication, double-check that you’re providing the estimates in business days that are as accurate as possible.
Be ready to update your site info and messaging more often than usual. The faster you react to the changes and the more transparent you are about the impact of this “new normal” on your business, the more likely it is that your customers will hang in there and wait for their orders.
Update Your Communication Channels
Here are some questions you might anticipate from your customers:
- How does Covid-19 affect ?
- When will I receive my order?
- Are any shipping delays expected?
Answer them in all the channels your customers expect to hear from you; your website and your social media channels for sure, but you might want to consider an email update as well.