As we, and so many other businesses across the globe continue to battle the odds against the recent Coronavirus pandemic, it’s becoming clear that many companies are having to take extreme measures when it comes to their eCommerce strategy. For one of our own customers, Sophie Allport, that meant the hard decision of choosing to temporarily close down their website. This was to ensure the safety of not only staff and customers, but also all couriers delivering their goods. As a result of these measures, it might well be the case that your own business is falling into one of two categories:
1) Your website has temporarily shut down, and you have time on your hands to proactively make improvements ready for when things are full stream ahead again
2) Your business is full to capacity with orders, and you need to be delivering the best user experience possible
In both instances, it’s crucial that your eCommerce strategy outshines competition, especially if you’re out of the market for a significant length of time. As a result, we’ve noted a few ways to rethink the way your website operates, and what you can do to improve your customer journey.
Improve user experience, and increase trust
The experience a customer has on your website is defined by usability, interest, and of course – trust. Whether you’re having to close down stores or not, it’s more important than ever to give customers an accurate picture of your online products. So, ask yourself:
- Can you improve your product listings and descriptions?
- Create videos or 3D images to show off products?
- Create accurate size guides and fitting tools?
It’s important to be making your best efforts to combat the restrictions your customers might be under, and there’s always room for improvement when it comes to customer experience.
Let users checkout as guests
Statistics show that nearly 25% of purchases are abandoned when users are asked to make an account before purchase. To improve the journey of those eager to make a purchase, consider offering the option of completing a purchase without the strain of creating a customer account.
Improve your page speed
Now isn’t the time to have customers leaving your website because of sluggish loading times – nor is it to have customers getting impatient when your website is finally back up and running. Where you can:
- Optimize your images
- Evaluate your plugins
- Reduce any redirects
- Compress your files
- Use website caching
There really is an abundance of information on the internet when it comes to optimizing your website speed time, so spend half an hour researching techniques relevant to your business.
Be clear with your processes
Don’t make customers chase your support channels to get a clear answer on your new approach to delivery, returns, store closures, or anything that might be relevant to your business.
Consider setting up a dedicated FAQ page to cover all the key changes. Whilst posting these updates on your social media is good practice, it’s important to assume that not all of your customers will visit those channels for answers.
Keep a close eye on your inventory levels
With suppliers and distributors facing challenges of their own, it’s critical you don’t end up selling items online, only to find you can’t fill the order further down the line. Whether it’s inventory management software, or a strict routine of manually checking your orders against stock – make sure you have a rigid structure in place.
For those with their eCommerce sites on temporary lock-down, use this an an opportunity to implement new and improved processes. Then, when the time comes, you can start getting orders out as efficiently as possible, with your updated eCommerce strategy firmly in place.
Lengthen your returns policy
In normal circumstances, your returns policy might offer 30 days or less. With a global pandemic to deal with, customers are going to come into a degree of difficulty returning parcels. Offer your customers all the flexibility you can. Better yet, start looking into couriers who offer the ability to collect returns directly from your customers doorsteps (this is worth considering with or without a pandemic!).
Learn from these unusual circumstances
These unusual times provide every business with the opportunity to make improvements they may never considered before. Being extremely busy will also highlight inadequacies across your entire operation. For those facing shut-down, this is the prime time to be gearing up for your come-back. Perfecting your eCommerce strategy now, will only mean a smoother few years ahead.
Spend an hour, a day, or a week researching the ways you can make improvements to the way you run your eCommerce stores. That might mean:
- Reading more blogs like this
- Watching eCommerce strategy videos on YouTube
- Carrying out competitor research
- Asking for customer feedback
- Asking your team for feedback
We hope this blog has given you some inspiration to get you thinking about improvements to your eCommerce strategy – whatever the status of your business. We also want to also take this opportunity to say keep safe, and keep smiling.