The business world is changing. Amid the coronavirus pandemic with stay-at-home orders across the globe, it’s no surprise that businesses are evolving and adapting as well. Right now, the e-commerce industries are at an all-time high. Many smaller teams are near bursting with new work fulfilling orders and providing customer service to hundreds, sometimes thousands of new customers.
This, in the long run, is a good kind of problem. If your e-commerce brand is riding the wave or about to jump in, there are tons of new customers shopping online right now. The key is to keep them after the initial surge. And that means customer retention tactics.
Today, we’re here to share a few corona-timely tips for e-commerce brands planning to keep their new customer-base for the long haul.
Absolute Transparency on Stock and Delivery Dates
Right now, the number-one thing that online shoppers need is transparency. They need to know what you have in stock and what is out-of-stock on the day they’re ordering. And of what’s out-of-stock, what will be back in stock in the next few days.
With so many delayed and re-prioritized orders, customers also need to know approximately when to expect their orders. Print shipment times on the product pages themselves or add a shipping UI element to your shopping cart widget.
Most importantly, share stock and delivery details before checkout. Error messages and month-long waits displayed at checkout are the opposite of customer retention.
Broadcast Your Safety Measures
Change your homepage and a few other key pages with a COVID-Policies banner. Let your customers, new and old, know that your business is aware of the situation and is actively taking steps to keep them safe. Share a few points on how you are making those efforts, like clean boxes, plastic-wrapped products, and glove-and-mask gear for the staff.
Then share a few safety tips and well-wishes to help your customers take care of themselves while they way for your order.
This kind of broadcast shows that you know what’s up and are a safe brand to trust during the pandemic.
Boost Your Customer Services
If your customer base is exploding, so too should your customer service efforts. While you may suddenly have ten-times your usual customer service request pace, every single customer expects your best quality of care. If your team is overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to hire a dozen new chat and phone techs who can work remotely from home. Thousands of professionals are out of work right now or with indefinitely canceled hours, and they could use the work as much as you could use the customer service team to provide all those additional soothing phonecalls when deliveries are delayed on the road.
Make the Digital-Transition Easy
Use your website and app (if you have one) to smooth the virtual shopping experience. Many new e-commerce customers are the people who have been holding out for in-person stores while society, as a whole, switches to Amazon and its kin. They are now having to face online shopping, sometimes for the first time, and may need a little hand-holding.
A smooth interface that walks customers through the process is excellent for rookies and will help you stand out as easy-to-use for experienced e-commerce shoppers.
Provide Confirmation and Live Tracking
Often, customer retention is supported by the consumer’s love of tracking their orders and watching delivery drivers arrive through online widgets. With the lockdown in full swing, this can be a shopper’s only way to be involved in their shopping. When an order is submitted, send a confirmation email. This should include a receipt, a link to the product page, and an estimate for shipping dates. Let customers know when the product will ship and when to expect it. Use this as your baseline for customer order information.
From there, keep customers updated with live shipment tracking. If you have a graphical website widget for delivery progress, all the better. Most importantly, help customers help themselves. When they can see that their package was waylaid at the Fex-Ex facility, they’re more likely to wait patiently and less likely to call in a tizzy.
Compassion and Patience in Problem-Solving
Rest assured, some customers will call in a tizzy. Now is a stressful time for the population at large, and if they vent a little stress on the customer service line, it should be okay. Coach your team to face frustration and even anger with compassion and patience. To understand that everyone is scared right now, and sometimes that means accidentally yelling or getting mad when they don’t mean to.
Have patience and teach your team to sound compassionate in chat and over the phone. Give your customers, even the distraught ones, the benefit of the doubt in these troubling times. Your customers will remember it when sanity returns to them.
Become a Go-To Online Source
Finally, if you desire excellent customer retention online, become their go-to source. Make your site and their customer experience so great that customers want to come back for your product instead of heading to the store if/when the stores open again. Ensure your platform or products are more appealing than the competition, and that your service is more helpful and customer-centric.
You can also enhance your go-to source power by expanding your inventory to be more complete. Become a one-stop-shop for your niche and/or include products that are often bought together with your core inventory. If you have a spectacular shopping and customer experience combined with a satisfactory one-stop inventory selection, then customers are far more likely to choose your brand over all others.
The new market conditions have turned everything on its head, and a savvy business knows how to make the most out of change. COVID-19 has become a challenge, but it’s one that we are overcoming with the power of well-designed eCommerce solutions and a cloud network that is unstoppable. With these tactics, your e-commerce brand can not just earn new customers during the COVID pandemic, but also keep them after the crisis has passed. Contact us today for more invaluable e-commerce insights.