Fulfillment Lessons to Learn from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created an unexpected surge in sales for ecommerce sellers. Consumers have switched their shopping trends to include online sales either because they have been instructed to stay home, to practice social distancing and to avoid aggressive people willing to fight you for the last roll of tissue paper.
If the circumstances were different, most e-sellers would be jumping up and down for joy. Instead, ecommerce sellers may have to cope with ill and worried team members, breaks in the supply chain and the potential to catch the virus as well. Meanwhile online business must go on to if they are to survive this health crisis. The most common issues facing online sellers include:
- Employee concerns
- Supply chain issues
- Fulfillment issues
This crisis has forced online sellers to face these issues head on. Here are some issues that should be used during this crisis and in an ongoing basis:
One of the best ways to manage employee concerns is to create a crisis communications plan. It is vital to provide information that is timely and accurate. Make sure you can communicate with all employees, whether they be onsite or currently working remotely. Communications can be sent through an employee Intranet site or through push notifications. It is also a good idea to include an acknowledgement function when sending messages. This will help ensure that everyone working remote has received your messages.
These communications can be an ongoing to create employee camaraderie and build trust especially during a crisis.
Supply Chain Issues
As an ecommerce seller you will need to be extra diligent during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic this health crisis. This can be a serious issue for many ecommerce sellers as many brands today manufacture goods in Asia which has being heavily impacted by the virus.
As the virus spreads, the challenges already arising in Asian manufacturing will be felt globally. You will need to know the regions that are being heavily affected. It is probably a good idea to enlist several suppliers to ensure that you will have the products that are in demand. This information can help you decide which supplier may be the best option during this crisis.
If you have been considering partnering up with a third-party fulfillment (3PL) provider, this may be the best time to do it. 3Pls have access to information that will help you get your products delivered on time. They can also store products that you may need to purchase from different suppliers. They can also save you money by packaging your items more economically that you can with an in-house fulfillment team. Be sure to understand and get all fees in writing to avoid surprises on the invoice from your 3PL provider. Do not be hesitant to ask for references from online business similar to yours.
Continue to pay attention to these issue during and after the crisis to manage your online business. In doing so you will be far ahead of the competition. You will also be able to get through some of the toughest moments directly affecting your business.