Blog

COVID-19: What should online businesses be doing?

We hope everyone is well, staying at home and taking care of themselves. We’ve had a lot of questions regarding websites and what businesses should do to make both their experience and their customers experience simpler and smoother during this crisis.

The Essentials

During this crisis, most businesses are limited to operating online. This means your website, e-commerce platform and social media channels are your main port for both communication and income. Looking after all three can be the reason you can operate without having too much of an impact on your revenue. This is what businesses should be focusing on and pushing their efforts towards. We’ve gone in-depth into social media during the crisis. So, if you want to have a read of that beforehand, please feel free to do so.

Regarding your website, if you’re selling products you might be experiencing higher traffic than usual. This is due to many factors, including lockdown, lack of inventory on other websites, etc. So be sure your website is on a good hosting plan, which can handle high levels of traffic, offer malware protection and provides regular updates & backups. This will help protect both you and your customers.

We’ve had businesses get in touch asking us to restore their website for them as their current hosting provider is unable to. So make sure you are on a reliable hosting and maintenance package from the beginning, which will have you covered no matter the situation.

Be sure to maintain your website, updating plugins, content and any security features you have in place. SSL Certificates should be a priority at a time like this, so your customers know they’re on a website they can trust.

If your business is already online

Ensure, you are working with logistics to ensure the possible spread of any bacteria is eliminated. Measures such as social distancing, practising hygiene and disinfecting workstations and packages will help combat this. Your customers are relying on you to get their items delivered, but they also expect you to maintain quality control.

If you feel that you are running out of specific items, try stock control or implementing restrictions and item limits. This will stop individuals from buying unnecessary amounts of a certain item. An item which can benefit more customers.

If you’re processing a wide selection of items, you might want to consider prioritising orders containing essential items. This will help get important items to people in need of them. If you are choosing to do this, please remember to inform your customers either by email or through notification at checkout. Just so they’re aware.

If you’re a food place and you are currently taking orders via takeaway or an online food ordering service like Uber Eats or Deliveroo, you might want to have a read of our in-depth article for what you should be doing during this crisis.

Make customer experience easier

During these uncertain times, whatever businesses can do to help their customers goes a very long way. This includes making their experience with your online business simpler and easier. If you can provide a small discount on items, special promos or discounts, your customers will appreciate the incentive.

If possible, you could waive delivery fees, customers love free delivery options. Especially at a time like this when ordering items and products online, are for some, their main source of household shopping.

Likewise, people can go crazy buying items which they do not need. They won’t realise this until after the order has been processed and delivered. This means you might have to process a lot more returns than usual. Simplifying your returns process can help your customers a big deal. Try partnering with courier services who pick up parcels from people’s homes, eliminating the need for them to leave their house to send off a return. This can also help speed up the process, so you get your items back quicker and the customer gets their money back or exchanges faster.

Another great way of retaining business is to offer more flexible payment options. In this current economic climate, people are more likely to do business with a company that offers some sort of “Buy now, Pay later” or “Pay in 3” options. This is because they can spread out payments, giving them room to manage their money easier whilst not having to sacrifice purchasing products or items at the same time. There are numerous trusted online payment systems which can handle all of this for you, for a small transaction fee. Your customers will remember the steps you took to make their lives easier, in times like these.

If you don’t already have a telephone number for customer service this may be the time to do that, it helps customers to know there’s a real person on the other side willing to hear them out when something goes wrong. If that just isn’t an option then try and be as responsive as possible on email to ensure customers don’t feel like they’ve been left in the dark when something has gone wrong. 

Offering your customers more

It doesn’t have to stop there. We are all in a position where we can and should be doing what we can to help others. Even if this is offering help and advice to individuals and businesses. A little goes a long way.

Placing useful information on banners throughout your website is a great way to keep your customers in the loop. This is a great place for hygiene practice reminders, stay at home reminders and changes to your business and how you’re operating. These can also be turned into articles as blog posts or put into emails and sent to customers and clients.

Please remember, if you’re posting facts and figures about COVID-19, please check their validity first. The spread of “Fake news” has increased drastically since the outbreak of the virus. Images, videos, voice notes, the list goes on and on. Social media platforms have been doing their best to stop the spread of misleading information. Users are also encouraged to flag items which they think are spreading wrong information. We’re living in uncertain times, at the moment. People need factual, honest information, so double-checking your content ensures you don’t mislead others, even be it accidentally.

If you or anyone you know has a business and is struggling to deliver their products or service, please feel free to get in touch via hello@theiirthcompany.com and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.

Share this article

Planning your digital COVID-19 recovery
COVID-19: What can food places do?