There is no doubt that customers are at the forefront of every ecommerce marketing strategy. The current coronavirus pandemic and lockdown have proven yet again that customer service is something that no retailer can afford to overlook.

Like it or not, there is a very good chance that lockdown will continue after 16 April. Online stores have provided invaluable help to South African consumers during this time, offering a safe way to shop without leaving home. While products are limited to essentials at this point, many stores are using the lockdown to connect to customers, even if they are unable to sell. In this short guide, we take a look at some of the ways that customers can be put first across your ecommerce marketing campaigns, during lockdown and beyond.

Putting Customers First in Your Ecommerce Marketing Plans

Certain sectors are seeing a rapid increase in sales. Online food stores, grocery stores, and health product stores, along with other online stores selling items permitted during lockdown are faring especially well. That does not mean that non-essential etailers are closing during this time, however. Many are looking at new strategies to reach customers. Some of the steps that you can include in your ecommerce marketing plans to put customers first include the following:

Don’t leave customers in the dark

Few things frustrate customers more than being kept in the dark. This applies to any and all updates – to your return policies, to your shipping fees, to your delivery times, to your sales, to your delivery areas, to your stock, and anything else that may affect customer satisfaction. Make sure that out of stock items are clearly marked, make your policies visible, make all shipping terms visible, and sent updates via email for any changes that affect customers in any way.

Under-promise and over-deliver

Meeting customer expectation is crucial at all times. During times such as lockdown when there is a huge demand for essential products, such as food, for example, it is even more important to meet their expectation. If you are battling with stock, let customers know via email or add a notice on your site. The same applies to order delays as well as non-essential items that were previously available on your store. Instead, focus on how you can go above expectation. Consider ways to improve your processes to avoid bottlenecks and use your social channels to engage with customers and remind them why they support your store.

Use special offers and discounts wisely

Many non-essential products cannot be sold during the lockdown. Online stores selling appliances, wine and other alcohol, furniture, clothing, bedding, fitness products, cosmetics and beauty products, tech products, home decor, and numerous other products listed as non-essential are getting creative by offering special discounts. These range from order now and get a percentage off after lockdown to free deliveries for orders placed during lockdown. Special offers a great way to offer incentive and value, when when you are not trading.

Fine-Tuning Your Ecommerce Marketing Efforts

The next few months will be critical to determine how much of an effect the coronavirus has on the global economy. Staying ahead with forward-thinking customer-focused e-commerce marketing strategies is the best way to ensure that your online store continues to attract and retain customers.

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