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.