Weathering the Storm: Guidance for E-Commerce Businesses
Businesses around the world are facing new challenges during this time. While some may be weathering the storm better than others, there’s no denying that all businesses are feeling the strain, be that with a downturn in sales, disruption to key partners, and a workforce obligated to work from home.
With payments being a fundamental part of any business, Checkout.com is working diligently to provide stability across all markets, fully prepared to support our merchants however we can. It remains unclear what the short and long term economic impact of this period will be. But by implementing these strategies and best practices, businesses can mitigate some immediate challenges, and in the best-case scenario, rebound more quickly once the economy makes its way back to normal.
From a payments and ecommerce standpoint, here are a few things to consider.
1. Only capture when you’re able to ship goods
For ecommerce merchants selling physical goods, only capture when you know you have the inventory and ability to ship the product to your customers. Capturing only when you have the items in hand will allow you to better fulfill customer expectations and minimize the risk of refunds or cancellations.
2. If shipments could be delayed, over-communicate with your consumers
With travel and trade restrictions, there may be delays in receiving and shipping your products. Let your customers know ahead of time that shipments may face disruption. As part of building the best customer experience, communication (or overcommunication) will be crucial to managing expectations and delivery times.
3. Be clear on your contact methods and delayed response times, if any.
Make your contact information available visibly. Let your customers know that there may be increased response times. Again, managing expectations and overcommunication will be important to maintaining trust and loyalty with your customers, especially during trying times.
4. Communicate your refund or change policies
Be clear and upfront about your refund, change or exchange fees and policies. Provide consumers with refund timelines, especially if above the ‘standard’ 3-5 day average. Offering information upfront and flexibility when and where possible, allows your customers to make informed decisions about their purchase and will help your business retain greater credibility and trust.
5. Consider allowing consumers to pause subscriptions
If you’re operating a subscription model, consider allowing your customers to pause their service. Giving consumers the flexibility to defer service may prevent you from losing those hard-won customers completely. By allowing them to resume service once their financial situation stabilizes, you increase your chances of keeping that customer for the longer term.
6. Discuss delivery options given current changes
FedEx has temporarily suspended signature requirements for most deliveries in an effort to practice social distancing and reduce person-to-person contact, with other major courier services likely to follow suit. This means ship-to-store options will also not be available, increasing the chance of fraud or stolen packages. Be aware that this will impact the ability to prove delivery in the case of chargebacks, so work with your internal and external Trust and Safety partners to discuss options.
While it may not be business as usual, these best practices can help support your business as you navigate the current economy.