The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has created uncertainty across every industry and business worldwide. As many retail brick-and-mortar stores remain closed, shoppers are dependent on e-commerce businesses more than ever, especially in categories such as consumer product goods, grocery and staple items.
And this trend is likely to continue. For example, eMarketer released data in December of 2019 predicted that in 2020, e-commerce would represent 12% of total retail sales. However, according to Forbes, changing consumer behavior in Q1 of this year, due to brick and mortar store closures, will likely impact the remainder of 2020 and have a profound impact on holiday sales. Now that the consumer’s comfort level with online shopping has increased and e-commerce platforms have become more intuitive and ubiquitous, the digital side of the retail business must be stepped up at a faster rate than previously projected.
It’s become increasingly important that e-commerce businesses understand what questions customers may have and how to best serve them during these challenging times and in the future.
Below are five key tips for your e-commerce business to implement to build trust with customers during these uncertain times.
- Homepage: Clearly communicate with your customers on your homepage. Utilize the information bar at the top of your homepage for updates related to COVID-19, such as shipping options or safety measures. If your site doesn’t have such a banner, use the footer area to communicate your message.
- Free Shipping: Consider updating your free shipping threshold since most brick-and-mortar stores have had to close and online delivery may be the only way for customers to get this product. A slew of retailers, including LVMH’s Sephora and Macy’s Inc, are waiving shipping fees, or lowering the minimum amount shoppers must spend in order to qualify for free shipping, in an effort to boost online sales.
- FAQ: Read your customers’ emails to understand their COVID-19 -related questions and analyze the customer-support calls. Record their frequently asked questions and post answers on your FAQs page. Link any COVID-19 communications on the banner, info bar, shopping cart, etc. with the FAQs page.
- Customer Service: Ensure that your call center, email, chat, etc. is up-to-date and that the communication is consistent with messaging coming from on your online store. Avoid conflicting statements. Inconsistent messaging damages trust.
- Social Media: Whether via Instagram with a picture from the warehouse, via Facebook with a video of the call center that answers that takes customer questions, or LinkedIn where you emphasize teamwork and customer satisfaction–transparency creates trust and can be exactly right for your customers!
While these five tips can be implemented and communicated fairly quickly, having the support of a logistics partner to deliver on you brand promise is critical to keeping customers loyal. As always, our partners such as DHL, USPS, Purolator, Canpar and Dicom are here to serve as a strong partners and help guide your business throughout these trying times.