The rules of e-commerce at the end of 2020 have changed: relay points overloaded, uncertainty, several quarantine periods... you will have to be strategic to take advantage of this new way of working.
Don't panic, though. We will guide you to boost your sales!
Inform, reassure, encourage! The 3 pillars of what you need to put in place to make your year-end profitable and attract new customers.
Tip 1: Check your stocks
Throughout this article, we will imagine that you are an e-merchant specializing in natural cosmetics.
In this period at the end of the year, whether or not you decide to organize BlackFriday, your orders will be boosted.
In order to avoid an out-of-stock situation and to take advantage of this period, make a detailed inventory to check that your virtual stock corresponds to what is in your warehouse.
Imagine having to inform your last customers that they will not receive their order because of a stock error. You risk losing potential customers who, in addition, will give you bad press with their friends and on social networks.
Tip 2: Make a point with your suppliers
The cornerstone of your business is the manufacture of your product. If there is no product, there are no orders. So, this is the first step of your "lockdown 2.0" checklist.
Your suppliers can be affected both by carrier delays and by downsizing in many plants.
Communication is paramount. You will define together the new manufacturing lead times for your products in order to organize yourself at the end of the year.
Tip 3: Make a point with the carriers
During the first containment, the delivery time for 75% of the orders was more than 5 days.
The overload of orders due to containment can directly impact your carriers: both from your supplier to your warehouse and from the latter to your customer.
If your customer orders from you and you promise delivery within 2 to 3 business days and the package arrives 7 days later, you will certainly have lost a customer.
How can I get this new information about delivery times?
Easy, generally, all the information you need is available on the carrier's website:
- Chronopost gives its information in real-time on its site
- Colissimo has announced the lengthening of delivery times depending on the destination
- UPS explains the changes on its COVID-19 specific page.
Tip 4: Reassure your customers about delivery
During the first lockdown, delivery was complicated, with closed relay points, implementation of sanitary protocols in warehouses, and a significant delay of the carriers. Your customers at the end of the year may be reluctant to order on your site rather than Amazon, for example, which guarantees fast and efficient delivery.
How can you encourage potential buyers to order from you?
Highlight on your site that delivery is always possible and reliable!
Let's take our example. Before placing an order, our potential customer will look for information on your site regarding delivery. It is important to make the information visible.
For example, you can create a banner on your Homepage "Delivery guaranteed during the entire containment period" or directly on your product pages.
Another way to reassure your community is to publish content on your social networks with a valuable message: "order from us, we're open!".
Tip 5: Keep the relay points option
Relay points are very popular with customers in normal times. 86% of buyers used the relay point in 2017, according to FEVAD.
After the government's announcements, so-called "non-essential" businesses closed, and with them, some of the relay points available.
Why keep this option?
Let's go back to our example. If your customer cannot receive the order at home and you no longer offer the relay points, what is he going to do? He will simply order from your competitors. Guaranteeing the possibility of relay point delivery will ensure that he will order from you rather than from your competitors.
Tip 6: Communicate about your new delivery times
Once your customer is convinced that you continue to deliver, they will check the delivery times. As mentioned above, the lead times may be extended due to high demand.
The wisest thing to do is not to commit to express delivery, for example, or to deadlines that are impossible to meet. Don't be afraid to extend the deadlines on your site. If your customer receives his order earlier, he won't complain, but if it arrives later, your after-sales service will be flooded with emails and calls.
Tip 7: Give your customers more time to return their products
Return time has a direct impact on your conversion rate. Your potential customers maybe afraid to order too early and may not be able to exchange. According to aUPS pulse study, 68% of consumers check the return policy before buying from a merchant site.
Suppose you only give your customer 15 days to exchange the product (legal delay). In that case, he will be faced with a dilemma: order now and no longer have the possibility to exchange the gift if it didn't please him or order later and risk not being delivered on time?
Extend the return time and communicate about it directly on your website (homepage, product pages, checkout, etc.) or your social networks (newsletter, posts, stories, etc.):
"Return time extended to 45 days" or "For all orders placed from November 1st to December 24th, return possible until January 31st.”
Major e-commerce brands such as Asos or Amazon have already implemented this policy. In addition to reassuring your customers about the possibility of returning their orders, this marketing strategy will smooth your sales over the months of November and December for Black Friday and Christmas.
Tip 8: Integrate an FAQ page in a chatbot
With government announcements, your customers and potential buyers have many questions about return times, delivery times, relay points, etc. These will come up again and again.
How can you solve them?
You will be able to gather all the questions from customers concerning the impacts of the COVID crisis in a chatbot to relieve your after-sales service and reassure your customers.
What is a chatbot?
It is a small virtual assistant that allows you to capture the attention of your potential buyers who browse your site to offer them help.
Let's take our example again. Your future customer will be able to ask your small virtual assistant if there is still the product he is looking for, how many days it would potentially be delivered, or if it is possible to exchange it.
Botmind, for example, is specialized in creating chatbots for companies.
Tip 9: Choose a logistician
Why would you tell me?
Imagine not having to worry about your parcels from the moment they leave the manufacturing plant: forget about storage, order preparation, and communication with the carriers. All you have to do is connect to your logistician's platform to track your orders.
Going through a logistician is a solution that will allow you to concentrate on your core business: selling your products and spending less time on logistics.
At Bigblue, we've been there before, and we support our customers on a daily basis to help them maximize their sales.
At the end of the year, many rules have changed regarding e-commerce, but it is possible to adapt and boost your sales.
Check relay points, improve your site and communication. There are essential steps to reassure your customers and increase your conversions.
The keywords to remember to succeed at the end of the year: analysis, transparency, and communication!