Can COVID-19 Prepare You for The Holiday Shopping Season?
In normal times, ecommerce sellers would be preparing the final touches their holiday shopping marketing. But the COVID-19 has taken center stage in all marketing efforts buy most e-sellers. But rather than view it as an interruption, it is better to consider it a preparation for the holiday shopping season.
Although some parts of the world are slowly opening, the fall and winter season has always had its own issues to deal with—flus and bad weather on top of sudden shopping demands by customers. This pandemic can be baptism under fire for many e-sellers who may need it, like or not. It can be a time to learn what works and does not work when running an ecommerce business. Here are some areas where the pandemic could be a lesson in real time:
Preparation for Shopping Spikes and Surges
The holiday shopping season is full of spikes and surges. You just never know what the “hot” product in your inventory will be. The pandemic caused many consumers to hoard products, and in some ways, this is still going on. The virus crisis has taught you to be ready for many surges that can happy in a moment’s notice. Evaluate what worked and what didn’t to create a plan that will prepare your shipping staff to handle spikes. Consider partnering with a 3PL should the fulfillment become to much work and interferes in you running your business.
Handling Postal Disruptions
Post office delays are common due to the inclement weather in many parts of the world during the holidays. Although you cannot control the weather and postal disruptions, you can handle communication with customers and staff. It is important to keep both customers and staff consistently informed of any postal delays in real-time. Be sure to post updates on your site, social media. Provide a shipping update by email or text to your customers. These small efforts will go along way in reducing calls to get an update on the shipping progress.
Managing Staff Callouts
The pandemic has caused many people to call out because they are sick or fear becoming ill. Similarly, the winter holiday almost always causes a drop in staff due to illness. It is important to understand the roles of all staff members. Keep and updated job duties sheet so that you don’t drop the ball on any of the duties normally performed by employees who call out. Key team members should be ready to pitch and handle these duties, at least until additional support staff can be hired. Yes, it can be costly to hire additional staff but it more costly to lose sales and customer loyalty.
Before you know it, the holiday shopping season will be upon you. But now you have survived under unprecedented stress of the pandemic. You will be able to use the lessons (and mistakes) learned to help you work through this year’s holiday shopping season.