There’s no question that the novel coronavirus outbreak took all of us by surprise. Businesses are struggling to cope with it and make ends meet while we all wait for the world to go back to normal. Truth is that the bigger the company is, the bigger the redundancies will be. Online businesses have a benefit over others, since it's easy for them to mobilize themselves but also to work from home with not much difference as they would normally do when being at the office. However, even with an online business, there are going to be changes to how you operate since this global pandemic will have economic consequences for almost every company. If you want some tips on how to make the shift during this outbreak, these tips will stay on top of the situation.
Put together an information hub for employeesYour employees — be them staff or contractors — are going to have questions on everything from payroll to lay-offs to changes in operations. In a secure place online, put all of this information so that employees can read up on what they need to know. Emphasize the importance of flexible working and that you support them in this time of fast, frequent changes. Also make sure that you have the most up to date information on the coronavirus outbreak as well, ensuring that it’s coming from reputable sources. Effective communication from the top, down is especially important during this outbreak.
Have an FAQ page for customersCustomers — loyal and new — are going to have questions and concerns as well. They want to know your delivery options, how your packages are cleaned and sanitized, how the shipping timeframes have changed, etc. Put together an FAQ page where you can pre-emptively answer their questions. It’s also a great place for them to send you more questions to answer and put on the list as well.
Keep prices consistent for online purchasesOne of the biggest issues that online and brick and mortar locations are doing is hiking up their prices on high demand items. Although it’s tempting, try to resist and reduce the prices on the popular items in your online business. In that way, they can see that you are doing what you can to help them stay entertained and in-stock of what they need during this time. Even ecommerce businesses cannot predict whether their progress will be stable. Some ecommerce businesses have seen an increase during this time, where others have noted that their sales have dropped substantially. After all, every ecommerce business sells different products so their progress depends on that too. For example, online food delivery and supermarket delivery have seen a huge increase, since obviously these are the products that people need the most during these hard times. What plays a role as to whether such a company will suffer is whether they will be able to adapt in the situation.
Consider services to ease the panic
If you have the resources to add stock or services that customers are looking for, do so. For example, try to sell hand sanitizer, soap, masks, disposable gloves, non-perishable foods, water, and more. Do your part to help provide the supplies and services — such as free at-home delivery via a subscription service — and take the stress off the local businesses that may not have the manpower to handle it all.
All businesses, employees and customers have to change the way that they do things due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. From working at home to online meetings to a change in products, it all requires a shift in a direction that no one could have predicted even 3 months ago. It's important to realise that this might take some time to return back to normal, so the key here is that we all need to adapt. In order to keep your business panic-free and in the black, these changes will help you adjust as neatly as possible. From there, we all just need to ride this out and then see where the chips will fall when the dust settles.