There’s nothing like a coronavirus pandemic to change the e-commerce landscape in an instant. In a report by Big Commerce, the year-over-year change of daily online shopping soared from less than 50% to over 100% from January to March. Grocery shopping alone climbed to 250%!
If you’re offering essentials today, such as cleaning and food products, this health problem can be a blessing in disguise. You now have the catalyst you need to bring your business to greater heights.
The question is, are you ready with the surge in demand? If you’re not, you will end up missing the opportunity.
To make sure you are, take note of these tips:
1. Expand Your Inventory ASAP
The supply-chain process will be one of your biggest challenges in this pandemic. Some ports might be closed, or some areas might restrict travel severely. You might want to add more to your usual orders to give yourself some wiggle room in case you meet logistics issues.
If you’re selling perishable products, get freezers and chillers. Granted, these can be expensive, so consider leasing them first. You can also buy rent-to-own or used ones.
For others, invest in a long-span shelving system. It helps you maximize your space since you can utilize the walls. Many designs are modular, so you can add more shelves as items come. Conducting inventory is also easier.
2. Hire People
Unlike before, a good percentage of the orders you will receive will be rush, say, same-day or next-day deliveries. If you offer these, then you must be ready to keep up by hiring more workers.
Your staff can take care of fulfillment while you manage other aspects of the business, such as marketing and order processing.
Since you need to shorten the recruitment process, you can work with temp staff agencies, which are ready to supply with people anytime.
3. Boost Your Customer Service
Shoppers do listen to other people’s opinions. In this time when people want reliable services, one negative review can hurt your business – a lot. Complement your fulfillment with excellent customer support:
- Provide more phone numbers customers can call.
- Break down e-mails into different categories: marketing, sales, returns, complaints, and inquiries. This way, it’s easier for you to track the value and improvement of customer service. You can also ensure concerns, questions, and returns don’t end up being buried by other e-mails.
- Don’t rely too much on chatbots. Chatbots speed up customer support, but customers still long for human interaction. Limit automation to general questions only.
4. Strengthen Your Inventory Process
What’s the one thing customers don’t want to know when they order? It’s ‘out of stock.’ The first tip can already help you avoid this problem, but you also need to improve your entire inventory process.
To save yourself the trouble, you can invest in the best inventory management platform you can afford. This tool can:
- Track the movement of your products in every level of the supply chain
- Receive alerts or notifications on critically low products
- Avoid overstocking on certain goods
- Use QR and barcodes for easier tracking and recording
- Limit inventory errors
- Integrate it to your accounting platform for more accurate financial reports
Today gives you the chance to help those who cannot go out and boost your business in the process. Use these tips so you won’t waste it.