It is the only topic dominating the news – understandably – and the extent that coronavirus will impact our lives is unpredictable. Both everyday life and the economy are and will be affected by the pandemic, and we will continue to experience these effects long after the peak has passed.
Online retail is not immune. That being said, e-commerce retailers should not panic. Now is the time to act and make it as easy as possible for customers to access essential goods. Understandably, things are going to be delayed, so retailers need to ensure they are keeping their customers proactively informed about this.
Effects of coronavirus on online trading
According to a study of UK retailers in the food, fashion and health and beauty categories, the majority of retailers (75%) believe that Covid-19 will have a negative impact on their overall sales.
However, a survey of more than 2,200 marketers, conducted by Econsultancy and Marketing Week, found that 71% of UK marketers predict that there will be an increase in e-commerce usage as a result of the virus. These two surveys show that whilst overall retail sales may be negatively impacted, consumers are switching to e-commerce to purchase their essentials. Online pharmacies, grocers and sports shops, as well as furniture and DIY, are in more demand than ever as people try to equip themselves for life at home.
The long-term effects that Covid-19 will have on e-commerce are not known. It will depend on how retailers respond to the crisis and whether carriers can cope with this increase in packages. Already, retailers are pre-empting delays and informing customers prior to checkout that there may be potential delays. In addition, shipping carriers have implemented contactless delivery and many have closed their parcel pick-up locations. But what if the carriers can no longer function as smoothly as they used to? How can retailers keep a positive customer experience as much as possible?
Customers must be kept informed
Understandably, customers are worrying about whether their parcel will arrive on time or at all. Unfortunately, retailers are usually as in the dark about the whereabouts of orders. Therefore, it is incredibly important that customers are informed proactively and reliably of any delivery delays or difficulties.
But how can retailers do this? A short message, which can be integrated into the dispatch confirmation and track & trace page, keeps customers informed about possible current and future delivery delays. It also ensures that customer service staff are not inundated with requests.
We’re here to help online retailers. If you’re not sure how, when and what information you should provide your customers with, contact us at any time. We’re happy to help.