How to keep hold of your e-tailer’s new customers once COVID-19 passes

Piranha Designs - Thursday, April 16, 2020

All of the time and money you have invested in your brand’s ecommerce presence so far is likely to feel well-spent right now, as you reap the benefits of heightened sales during the pandemic. This is likely to be particularly the case if your store specialises in goods that could be deemed ‘essential’, at this time when many people are unable to even stay outside of their homes for long.

But are you also taking the opportunity to cultivate loyalty among your new customers, so that they continue to treat you as their go-to source of products after the worst of the outbreak is over? If not, here are some of the best ways to cement their custom in the longer term.

Be accurate about when and if products will be available

This is a time when customers are likely to be especially unforgiving about their orders being cancelled due to lack of stock. So, keeping on top of your inventory at any one time, and communicating this accurately via your online store’s products pages, are both a must. It’s also a better idea to delay than cancel orders altogether, if possible.

If certain products aren’t immediately available amid interruptions to workforces and supply chains, it’s better to be conservative about when you expect them to be so. That way, your customers may end up being pleasantly surprised by earlier-than-anticipated deliveries.

Personalise the service you provide

A personalised shopping experience continues to be a powerful way of encouraging loyalty during COVID-19 – the current circumstances aren’t an excuse to drop your standards in this respect.

So, such steps as sending an email update whenever there is a change in the status of an order, following up with further updates and reaching out later to help shoppers to remember your store, could all be invaluable right now.

Extend the return and exchange period

With so many of your customers stuck at home at the moment, making the returns process as little hassle as possible will help to ensure they associate your brand with the right qualities once some level of normal life resumes.

Don’t be humorous or political

Not everyone considers the pandemic to be a good source of comedy or will share your politics, so now isn’t a time to be taking risks with your ecommerce store’s marketing communications. Social media memes that might’ve worked well enough in pre-COVID-19 times could be perceived as ill-judged in the current circumstances, deterring followers and shoppers.

Observe shifting buyer habits

While not everything about how people are shopping during the outbreak will last for long once life returns to normal, other habits are likely to endure. Some of the brick-and-mortar retailers that customers depended on prior to the pandemic won’t survive to reopen, and even if they do, your own ecommerce site could become a new and trusted source of goods for these shoppers.

Make the right moves now to capture customers and encourage them to continue shopping with you, and your brand is likely to be in a powerful position long after the coronavirus has ceased to dominate the news. Getting in touch with Piranha Designs about our ecommerce website design expertise could further help to ensure your business’s growth in the months and years ahead.

5 ways for your online store to ride the wave of coronavirus

Piranha Designs - Friday, April 03, 2020

No kind of ecommerce business, whatever its sector, can pretend that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a remotely good thing.

At the time of typing, the virus had already officially infected almost three quarters of a million people around the world, and killed tens of thousands. This is without even accounting for the dire economic and social consequences for those who may never contract the coronavirus.

Online stores, however, have also come into their own lately for many consumers who have found themselves under lockdown. Opportunities do therefore exist for many merchants to do their best during what may be a heightened demand for their services, while also assisting their customers at what is likely to be a trying time for great numbers of them.

Here are just some steps that your own ecommerce store could therefore take.

Re-jig your homepage and navigation

At this time of all times, it is likely that certain products in your store have become especially sought-after, while others might have been rendered almost irrelevant – at least for now.

It’s therefore a good moment to consider reorganising your store’s landing pages and browsing structures, to reflect what your customers are currently looking for. When doing so, you should make sure you especially strongly showcase products that can be quickly packed and delivered.

Keep a close eye on inventory

Customers’ needs for certain items may be particularly pressing right now, which heightens the importance of online stores closely managing their inventory.

It’s crucial to be honest with customers, and to minimise the frequency with which you are forced to cancel orders or deliver incomplete orders as a result of products being out of stock.

Make the most of ‘live chat’

We’ve previously blogged about what ‘live chat’ functionality can do for an ecommerce store. But this increasingly common feature has arguably come even more into its own during this pandemic.

Live chat, after all, makes it easier for e-tailers to handle simultaneous requests, as well as for customer service agents to take over with a particular enquiry where a colleague of theirs may have left off.

Nor can the availability of live chat be easily interrupted, unlike what the situation may be when your store needs to change its customer service email address, phone number or brick-and-mortar address.

Recommend alternative products

Is your store using the analytics that will enable you to monitor the products and pages that are especially popular? If so, this will help you to determine the parts of your site where it may be particularly important to recommend alternative options if the given item is out of stock.

Provide COVID-19-related FAQs

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) pages are routinely a godsend for both merchants and customers. But such a section can be even more useful now, for communicating to your shoppers how your business is dealing with the impacts of COVID-19.

Such FAQs on your own site may address such questions as what the coronavirus means for product availability and fulfilment times, for example. You might also incorporate auto-responses to the most common queries into live chat and Facebook Messenger, even including links where these would further help.

Would you appreciate assistance with carrying out any of the above or other steps for your ecommerce store in 2020? Remember that the Piranha Designs team is available at the other end of the phone in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh. Alternatively, you could always email us to arrange a free no-obligation discussion of your website design or digital marketing needs.


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