Even if your business is lucky enough to enjoy an increase in order activity during this COVID-19 crisis, handling the increased demand may not be easy. You want to continue to offer an exceptional customer experience, including offering the same high level of customer service and maintaining delivery estimates, but the safety measures put in place to combat coronavirus will inevitably slow you down. Nayan is facing many of the same challenges for some of our clients and, although we haven’t had long to develop expertise in this area, we’re happy to share the valuable lessons we have learnt.
Since March, you’ve probably had to reassess your entire logistics process. Due to
the additional safety measures you have had to implement in your warehouse and the
pressure to manage the peak in fulfilment, your omnichannel processes may need a
temporary update. If you already have a ‘buy online, pick up in store’ option (and
your stores are still open) promote this to your customers to ease the pressure on
your warehouse. If this is not currently an option for you business, consider
introducing it and think about shipping products from your stores if you can. You
can also take a bit of the strain away from over-stretched warehouses by focus your
marketing on products that are easy to pick, pack and ship.
If you are an omnichannel business that has been forced to close stores, now is also a good time to encourage traditional bricks-and-mortar customers to become online customers as well. If you can identify which customers usually buy in store, set up an email to guide them through the online order process and, if possible, provide online instant messaging or telephone support for anyone who experiences problems.
Your customer care department is probably safely working from home now and getting
flooded with questions about delivery delays for customer orders. Try to reduce
questions about deliveries by tackling common questions early on in the shopping
process. A message about longer lead times than usual on your homepage and at cart
will allay many customers’ concerns, removing their imperative to get in touch when
their item takes slightly longer to arrive than they are used to.
You can also use email communications to warn people about disruptions to your service and many businesses have introduced a dedicated coronavirus section to their FAQs page. Ensure that you have a Track & Trace link in the customer’s shipping email, so that they can check on the whereabouts of their delivery without needing to involve the customer care team. This will help take the pressure of your team, allowing it to focus on advising customers who are experience problems that are unrelated to lockdown slow down.
Following on from the previous points, now is a good time to tweak your ad spend so that your focus is on countries where you have fewer logistical challenges. As people’s new needs bring them to your business, you should see a strong increases in customer demand and conversion rates. SEA can now help to turn some of your offline customers into loyal online customers, as they discover your brand’s e-commerce offering. For more SEA expert advice, go to our article about SEA in times of crisis.
If there is high demand for your product(s) at this time, it is unlikely that you will need to encourage sales with planned promotional activity. Unless you feel that you have the supply chain capacity to support pre-planned sales and discounts, pause these for now.
Can you use customer reviews and product stories to drive engagement at this time? With so many people confined to their homes for the majority of each day, now is a great opportunity to engage with them via email and social media to get their insight and feedback on what you do. You may be able to craft these into fun and inspiring stories to communicate to your database and they may come in useful for future product development.
If your website is getting greater traffic than usual, it may be worth activating a pop up encouraging people to sign up to your newsletter to keep up to date with your news. If you can take the financial hit, it may also be worth offering a discount on the first order placed after sign up to encourage a few more subscribers.