How to safely manage your business through the Coronavirus pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has spread from continent to continent faster than any other virus before it. Currently, many countries are considering a total lockdown, advising their citizens to stay at home for 14 days in some areas, while in other regions all activities will be disrupted for up to 30 days.
Causing panic worldwide, with well over 200.000 cases, it has made its impact on the global economy, with China shutting down its factories and people advised to stay in their homes as a preventive measure.
In some way or another, the coronavirus pandemic will have an impact on your business, therefore it’s wise to have a backup plan to protect your reputation as an online seller. It is advised to always have a plan when it comes to situations like this and if you don’t have one, this blog post will help you get an idea of what you’ll have to do in the following days.
Letting your potential customer know
First of all, if it comes to that point where you’ll have to shut down your online business make sure that you are familiar with the holiday settings on eBay and consider using the out of stock message to reduce your inventory to zero but keep your listings live on eBay.
If you also sell on Amazon, you will have to change the Listing Status to Inactive. This way, your listings will become invisible and you won’t be getting any customer inquiries coming in whilst the store is shut down.
If you have a custom WooCommerce, Magento or Shopify website, be sure to add a banner and a pop-up message saying that the store is temporarily closed and a date when it will be back up and running.
We also recommend trying to log in once a day to ensure that all emails are responded to – if you have regular customers emailing you.
Talk to your carriers
It is essential that you speak with your couriers to find out what coronavirus pandemic procedures they would like to follow when picking up your outgoing shipments. Some couriers would avoid entering your warehouse or home and you may need to have your parcels and mail ready to collect outside of the warehouse door rather than inside for the next few months. You will also have to think about new procedures for accepting incoming deliveries and returns.
Getting the essentials
You will need to stock up with supplies such as packaging in advance of when you would normally order. Although there no shortage in supply, it would be wise to order some in advance due to the fact that many more people will turn to online shopping meaning that you might find yourself using up more packaging than normal. Since you are not the only one selling items online, suppliers will also start to struggle to deliver a sturdy supply of packaging to each and every vendor.
It’s also worth considering using fulfillment services who might be better placed to trade through the Coronavirus pandemic due to their size, but bear in mind that if those services shut down, you’ll lose access to your stock. A large fulfillment service, such as Amazon FBA can be an option well worth considering if you sell on Amazon as they have the scale and trade through – they are the largest trade operation of this kind.
You need to think of the hard days ahead and devise a strategy to cope with such circumstances. No matter how well-stocked your warehouses will be, communication with the customer will be a key factor as many of them will have questions such as if their order will arrive on time if there’s any danger of becoming infected with the coronavirus through incoming packages. They will also need to be made aware of changes to how couriers will deliver their parcels, how it would be better to make online payments – since paper money is a carrier of microbes.
While many service providers and marketplace employees will be working from home, you won’t be able to notice a difference in service levels in most instances. Listing tools such as Ad-Lister can make your life easier when it comes to reducing the stocks to 0 and adding holiday messages on your eBay store. To find out more about our services, please feel free to give us a call on 0121 285 1052.