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E-Commerce in the Corona Crisis: How online shops react agile
24.03.20, Haydar Yüce

E-Commerce is also not spared the effects of the Corona Crisis. While some online shops have to cope with additional high traffic, others are facing economic challenges. May it be problems with supply chains, fewer orders and sales slumps or angry customers: Even at this early stage, 70% of online retailers in germany feel the effects of the pandemic.

Nevertheless – or perhaps because of this – online shops should react agilely to the current situation in order to retain customers even in this crisis situation. We would like to give you as an online merchants some suggestions for this time of crisis, because shop visitors currently have changed fears, expectations and needs.

At the same time, we would like to emphasize that this is the first time we have been confronted with such an unusual and dramatic situation, just like you.

To make our contribution in this special situation, we offer our solutions and information material free of charge for 3 months.



8 tips for online merchants in the Corona Crisis


#1 Communicate the signature release authorization

Even before the appearance of the Corona Virus, the shipping service providers offered the possibility to drop off the package at any location. Nowadays, a signature release authorization is more important than ever, because these days everything depends on reducing the speed at which the infection spreads.

Many of your customers are justifiably afraid of getting infected if they come into contact with an outside person. If a signature release authorization is communicated, online shops give customers the opportunity to order without the risk of infection.


#2 Be transparent

Transparency is the order of the day, not only for trade, but also for politics, business and science. In times of great uncertainty, transparency provides a measure of security and trust. Communicate possible bottlenecks, extended delivery times and other challenges to your customers transparently. Your own website and social media are ideal for this.

In recent days, the people has been faced with empty shelves due to increasing panic buying in supermarkets. So it is not dramatic from the customer’s point of view and not surprising if there are bottlenecks, for example. With transparency you reduce the damage.


#3 Create FAQs

Your existing and new customers will have many questions. To relieve the burden on customer support, it is best to create FAQs, which should also be prominently placed so that they can be found quickly by shop visitors. For example, a note in each checkout step is a good way to do this.


#4 Make the purchase process easier for older new customers

Risk groups in particular are rightly very cautious. In addition to people with an immune deficiency and certain previous illnesses, older people in particular belong to the risk group.

Make it as easy as possible for these people to buy online. By the way, this is a good time to make general optimizations regarding the user experience design of your online shop. This includes, for example, a streamlined checkout process with a maximum of 4 to 5 steps.

With a barrier-free online shop you can reach new groups of buyers. This gives you more chances of success today than before. In addition, you make a social contribution to the fight against the Corona Virus.


#5 Stay in touch with your customers

Digital customer contact is now more important than ever, because your customer support can respond individually to questions and potential needs. With the right tools, customer support can also be provided from your home office.

Tools such as Zoiper are so-called softphones, which allow you to make phone calls using any device imaginable. In this way, your customer support employees stay in permanent contact with the customers.

In addition, a plan for more volume in customer support should be developed, since many online shops are confronted with a higher call volume. As soon as you are affected by this, you should have additional lines set up.


#6 Provide individual incentives to shopping cart abandoners

The changed situation also has an impact on purchasing behaviour. Online shoppers have always paid attention to prices and discounts, which remain an important purchasing criterion.

Now, however, some have a significantly lower income and must therefore live more economically. Others belong to the risk group and avoid more than others any contact. Still others are in your online shop for the first time.

All of these situations can quickly lead to shopping cart abandonment. Help these shopping cart abandoners with solutions that meet their individual needs. For example, price-sensitive abandoners receive a voucher code and those in need of service receive a note for telephone, WhatsApp, or email service.


#7 Place relevant products prominently

Saturn and MediaMarkt are demonstrating this: Both electronics retailers place home office equipment in own categories prominently in the navigation bar. Your online shop will certainly also have products that are currently in greater demand than others. So why should these remain hidden instead of being promoted additionally?


#8 Stay at home and protect yourself

We all want to get through this time quickly and with as little damage as possible. That’s why we all should maintain social contacts as far as possible only digitally and pay attention to ourselves and our fellow human beings.





Further interesting posts:
Shopping cart abandoners: Comprehensive guide for online shops
Interview with SME online retailers: Experience of the Corona Crisis
Communication in e-commerce: when it sucks and what helps against it