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.

What could a ‘live chat’ feature do for your ecommerce store?

Piranha Designs - Monday, April 08, 2019

‘Live chat’ functionality has become an increasingly familiar element among the wealth of customer support options offered by ecommerce sites, alongside the likes of social media links, telephone numbers and email addresses.

However, the benefits of incorporating such a feature into your brand’s own online store could be wider-ranging than you initially expect. Below are just a few examples of what we mean.

Customers are comfortable using it

Anything that could help to cultivate a good relationship with a customer from the earliest stages has to be a good thing for your ecommerce store, and there is both formal and more anecdotal evidence to suggest that customers are comfortable with using live chat functionality on a website.

One study last year, for instance, found that 43% of customers have previously used live chat. This shouldn’t be too surprising, given that it’s much like the chat programs, online messengers and text messaging that many of your customers will already be accustomed to using in their personal lives.

It’s quick to use

As they say, time is money. It’s therefore helpful for both the customer and the ecommerce business if visitors can receive swift responses to their queries – whether about the given company’s products, services, delivery costs or something else altogether.

As soon as a visitor initiates a chat using such software, a customer service representative on your business’s side can be notified of this straight away and provide an immediate answer.

This could be especially important if the customer’s query concerns an issue that is preventing them from completing a purchase. In such circumstances, your ecommerce store’s live chat feature could make the difference between a clinched sale and a lost sale.

It helps to replicate the ‘high street’ shopping experience

Sure, your customer service representative can’t pick up a product and present it to the customer for them to touch. If the customer has any questions about a product, though, they can ask them... and perhaps also any secondary questions springing from the answers given to the first ones.

In the process, you will be able to answer questions in relation to such specific matters as product selection and availability, and even any related products that you may recommend to the customer, in light of their specific requirements.

A live chat feature, then, can help to restore some of the ‘humanity’ to the shopping experience that may otherwise seem at risk of being lost when one switches from offline to online retail.

The above aren’t the entirety of the benefits that you could see from embedding a live chat feature into your site, with others including the opportunity to gather invaluable data about your customers, as well as the cost savings that it can offer over other forms of customer service.

Could live chat functionality be central to the customer service offered by your own next ecommerce site? Don’t hesitate to contact our experts in custom website solutions for a more in-depth chat about the requirements that you have for your firm’s online presence.


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