There are welcoming signs of life beginning to return to some kind of ‘normal’ in the UK and across the world as the grim numbers associated with the COVID-19 pandemic gradually recede. But it’s not just brick-and-mortar businesses that need to prepare for a somewhat changed post-crisis landscape, as ecommerce stores will also have a lot to think about.
Indeed, the slowly brightening outlook means your store should probably be shifting its focus from its earlier lockdown ‘emergency’ measures to considerations of how you can cultivate longer-term loyalty from the customers you might have gained during this difficult period.
In order to do that, you’ll need to reassure them that your store is a trustworthy one, so that you can continue to attract their custom for months and years to come. Here are a few ways to accomplish exactly that.
Avoid any price hikes that you can’t explain or justify
Of course, not all retail businesses will have felt ‘on hold’ during the pandemic. The lockdown experience of a food or sanitary products seller, for example, is likely to have differed significantly from that of a high-end clothes label.
However, if you are in the fortunate position of stocking essential items, you should endeavour to maintain pricing of these at pre-pandemic levels. If price increases do need to happen, you should be careful to explain why, as even mere accusations of price gouging could hit your brand’s reputation.
Remove as much friction as possible from the checkout process
Many people will still be self-isolating, whether they have COVID-19 symptoms or are simply in a vulnerable demographic. These people will be especially reliant on online retail; for this reason, you won’t want to lumber them with an overlong and cumbersome checkout process.
These days, mobile payment systems such as Apple Pay can be built into online checkouts to enable shoppers to pay for their goods with a single tap or glance. This saves customers from having to register an account with the store in question, or even to manually type in their payment details, which will already be saved on their device.
Empathise with your audience
Difficulties related to the virus and the associated lockdown restrictions are clearly still widespread, which is why your customers might want particular reassurance that you will deliver them the items they need even as your own firm’s pressures start to bite.
Still, if your business isn’t serving high-end professionals, you should probably avoid using such phrases as “supply chain interruptions” or even – shudder – “unprecedented”. Instead, use simple, to-the-point terms like “we know times are confusing right now” or “our suppliers are working around the clock”.
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