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E-Commerce in the Pandemic Era

The UK has been in lockdown now for as many weeks as we care to remember, we’ve got used to taking fewer food shopping trips because of the time and effort and wasted queueing it commands but food shopping is a necessity, what about the everyday items and luxury things we’d all like to buy if the other shops were open? Well, if you have an e-commerce website, then that potentially falls to you!

If you have a website that sells to the public, then hopefully you are doing well, but if order numbers have dropped, you need to ask yourself if you are doing enough to make your site shine out to the public during the lockdown.

I have compiled a list of 5 points that you should look at to bring your e-commerce site up to speed during the pandemic.

1. Homepage

Be very clear that you are OPEN FOR BUSINESS during the crisis, focus on positive communications and make sure your customers are aware of them. Yes, half your staff may be self-isolating causing you a massive headache but your customers don’t need to know that. Have an update panel telling them what safety measures you have implemented, both for your staff and for them and any new services you are offering such as different delivery options etc. Nobody is going to purchase from you if they think that there’s going to be issues getting what they ordered.

2. Quality Shipping Options

Take a look at how you send your items or your courier constraints. If your current service is having a hard time delivering at a guaranteed time then take a look around at different delivery companies that will be able to guarantee delivery.

At the very least you should add options for guaranteed delivery or next working day delivery even if it adds a premium. A lot of people will pay extra to know they are going to get their item at a specific time if the option is there. Just remember to keep the delivery options simple.

3. Customer Service

Whether you have 100+ staff or it’s just you, you have a duty to provide great customer service. This will ensure that not only is your buyer happy in the moment, but they will be happy to spread the word to their friends or on social media. Ensure that your communications such as email & instant messaging etc. is up-to-date with any changes during the pandemic and always try to be positive, avoiding conflicting statements.

4. FAQ

Be honest, when was the last time you updated your FAQ section? Create a new section for COVID-19 questions and answer any questions that have come to you regarding it, or look around on your competitors' sites to see what questions they are answering and do the same. Even if it’s “Are you still delivering your [top selling product] at this time?”. An updated FAQ section is great for your customers, but relevant and updated content will also help boost your SEO.

5. Social Media

This is the best place to show the world that it’s business as usual. Take yourself to Instagram and put a team picture up of everyone working while social distancing. Add a video on youtube showing the processes you are now using to get the product delivered to them, everybody likes to see the inner workings of a computer and keep an eye on Twitter for any questions, issues or complaints people may have about your service and answer them, be polite and empathetic and don’t be scared to apologise, we are in a global pandemic after all!

If you find this article interesting, could you please do me a favour by sharing it or commenting below, I would love to hear your and other peoples' thoughts on this subject. Thank you

Date: 02 Nov 2021
Author: Craig Pickles (YorkshireTechy)