On March 15, a curfew was established in Puerto Rico until March 30 due to the emergency that is being faced worldwide by the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, which also affects the island. This means that shopping centers and many other businesses will not be allowed to open their doors.
Likewise, any eCommerce business is affected by this decision since they cannot have order dispatch operations for products that are not "essential" such as food, medicine, etc. For this reason, several of our clients on the island are not allowed to ship orders during this period.
This situation has been communicated very clearly to the visitors of the pages. Even under these circumstances, the orders in the stores have continued to come. Although we cannot say that it has been the best sales week, businesses are still alive and generating something. It should be noted that these clients do not sell basic necessities since they are from the fashion and accessories industry.
This shows that if you've dedicated yourself to building customer relationships, building community, and delivering true value, your customers will always support you, even in times of crisis.
Here are some recommendations so that you can continue selling in these times of crisis:
Many brands are encouraging their customers to shop online to practice social distancing. However there are some messages that it would be better to avoid. For example, perhaps during this time you want to offer free shipping to your customers, creating a discount code that says "COVID19" or "coronavirus" would not be appropriate to address such a sensitive topic.
What you can do is communicate how your company plans to support the community at this time. Now, what you don't want is for people to see you as wanting to take advantage of the crisis or as using it as a way to push sales.
If your business cannot dispatch orders for a few days or you had to modify the dispatch days, you must communicate it in a very clear and transparent way, preferably before the client places his order. This will help you set realistic expectations that will save you headaches later.
If you have physical stores and have had to close or modify operations, you should also be transparent with your customers about which stores will be affected, why you decided to close, how you will be helping your employees, and how long you expect them to be closed. By communicating this information, you are showing your customers what your position is in important situations like the one we are experiencing right now, which creates more confidence in your company.
In this email sent to your customers and subscribers, Suitcase notified of its decision to close its stores due to the threat of COVID-19 to protect the health of its team and its customers. It should be noted that this email was sent before the Government of Puerto Rico established a curfew on the island.
give away some happiness
Right now, we are all being bombarded with bad news all the time. Many people have feelings of fear, loneliness, and restlessness. So people also welcome content that distracts them and lifts their spirits. So find some small way to give joy that is aligned with your brand and your audience.
For example, Suitcase , shared one list of songs on spotify that could lift their spirits during the quarantine time where people cannot leave their homes. It is interesting to note that 24 hours after sending this email, 5 orders were received.
In the end, there is no specific guide on how to navigate these difficult times. What will always be true is that if you are empathetic and transparent with your customers, fans and the community in general, you will continue to strengthen the relationships you have developed and create new ones. Likewise, you will be one of the first to be on their minds when things return to normal.
* The author is Co-founder of ED Digital , a digital marketing agency in Puerto Rico, specialized in eCommerce, certified as Shopify Experts and Klaviyo Master.