You already know this by now, but eCommerce is booming due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Traditional brick and mortar stores are closed in many places, and even they are moving online. We have heard stories how some companies have permanently moved their stores online, many using Shopify to build their sites.
However, it's not only positives for the online business owners. Many are experiencing issues with the supply chain, especially dropshippers and other businesses manufacturing or shipping from overseas. You as the business owner need to stay on top of all what's going on, and keep your customers updated about what you know. Handling the situation well will help building trust with customers, and create long term fans for your brand.
Here are some of our tips on how to handle the current situation:
Keep your site online
Even if your products are sold out and there are delays on shipping, do not pause your site. This could do damage for your business such as in search engine ranking. IIf you can't keep up with the orders due to fulfillment issues, communicate this with your customers and let them know that there are major delays. You could also choose to turn Sold Out for your products to not get new orders anymore. Make sure you collect your visitors emails to let them know when they can order again.
Do not try to gain profit from the situation unethically. Be honest and do not try to do any questionable marketing gimmicks. The situation is already bad for many people, so using it for your own good unfairly is not what you should be focusing on, not to mention it could get you in legal trouble.
Provide top notch-customer service. Keep your customers and new visitors updated by banners, notifications, emails and by updating policies on your site. Reply to any inquiries (or make sure your customer support team does a great job). Try and be a little more understanding towards people as the current world situation might be stressful for many.
It's also a good moment to introduce live customer service options such as a live chat or phone support. Providing customers with instant reply from a real customer support representative can easily turn a visitor into a buyer.
Consider finance options. Most online stores do not offer option to buy now and pay later. However, depending on your product, adding new payment options now could completely change how your business does during the upcoming months. Many are losing jobs, or getting paid less. If your products are still something that are being bought by these people, offering them option to pay later can be a game changer. This also guarantees you income during the upcoming months no matter what.
See if selling gift cards fits your business. This could bring instant cash flow for your business even if you are unable to sell and fulfill some orders now. This also helps build long term relationships with your customers.
Update your FAQ, return, refund and other policies. Adding covid19 section to your FAQ can help make your customers feel more safe to do a purchase, assuming you have a fair practices put in place.
Create helpful content around covid-19 such as stay at home related posts. Selling health related products? Create social media posts about workouts you can do at home. Hygiene products? Share tips about how to stay safe during this time. Engage with your audience. Chat with them on comments and ask about their opinion on different matters. This is not only for covid-19, but if you haven't done this before, it's the perfect moment to start now and keep going in the future.
To end this post, I have collected some useful resources which might help you during the covid-19 and in the future.
Shopify has put together a page with lots of useful content all related to the coronavirus. If you are dropshipping, Richard from DoDropshipping actively publishes helpful articles on various subjects. Shopify announced that gift cards are now available on all plans. Shopify's and Oberlo's blogs offers constant stream of valuable content to learn about eCommerce in general.