How to Keep Your Stock Moving Despite the Coronavirus
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The Coronavirus outbreak has had an undeniable impact on the retail sector, with the closure of stores, restricted store hours, reduced capacity in supply chains and major retailers struggling to meet consumer needs.
However, with consumers relying on online shopping more than ever right now, there are opportunities arising for smaller eCommerce businesses, so it’s never been more essential to keep your stock moving smoothly.
Although there is a high demand for household essentials and medical supplies, the need for what may be described as non-essential items is still strong. Current buying trends show that consumers are also spending money on entertainment (such as toys and games), hair and beauty products, electronics, exercise equipment and home and garden items.
If you run a small eCommerce business, this could be an opportunity to gain new customers and grow brand awareness, but you’ll need a solid fulfilment and shipping strategy to support these objectives. We’ve put together ten tips to help you keep your stock moving during the Coronavirus pandemic.
10 tips to keep your stock moving during Coronavirus
Shop around for the cheapest shipping ratesDue to surcharges levied by carriers, shipping prices will fluctuate during this time, but there are still deals to be had. Our free shipping calculator will check across multiple carriers to help you find the cheapest rates available.
Book a pickup serviceIf you fulfil and ship your orders from home and usually use drop-off services, we offer a range of pickup and delivery services where the courier will collect your shipments. This service can be used for single and multiple packages.
Check service availabilityWe have a number of international services currently not affected by the restrictions in place for commercial air travel. If your international distribution channels have been disrupted, our shipping calculator can also be used to instantly check service availability.
Expand into a new marketplaceThis is particularly relevant if you solely sell your stock through Amazon. While Amazon is giving priority to what it deems to be high-demand, essential items, it might be worth considering other marketplaces such as Walmart or eBay as alternative options
Make your ordering and shipping process ‘slicker’
You can improve efficiency, by adding some automation to your ordering and shipping process. Using our free shopping cart integrations you can connect your eBay or Shopify store to our shipping calculator. As soon as an order is placed, it will instantly calculate the cheapest shipping rate for that item.
Bulk uploadIf you regularly send multiple parcels but don’t use one of our shopping cart integrations, our CSV upload tool can be used to speed up your shipping process.
Double-check the shipping addressIf you are provided with a business address to send goods to, always check the business is open and the recipient will be there to receive the goods. If the business is closed and no one can receive the package, it will be returned to the sender.
Outsource your order fulfilmentIf you’re struggling to process and fulfil orders yourself, maybe it’s time to consider a third-party logistics provider. A professional eCommerce fulfilment business will store, manage and despatch your stock so you can focus on growing your business.
Digital marketingWith people confined to their homes and doing almost 100% of their shopping online, this is a good time to review and improve your website. Let your customers know what you’re doing in response to COVID-19 and focus on creating engaging content that will drive brand awareness and sales.
CommunicationIf delivery times are likely to be affected, let your customers know in advance. Most people will understand and appreciate the ‘heads up’.
Online stores don’t need to be stocking hand sanitizer and anti-bac spray to keep selling during this time. What one person considers to be a non-essential item, could be a lifeline to someone else, so don’t underestimate the scope of consumer needs during this crisis.
In a time when there is much uncertainty, one thing that is certain is consumer shopping habits will change as a result of Coronavirus and online shopping will be at the forefront. If you’re a small online seller looking to grow, this could be a good opportunity for you to tighten up your shipping and fulfilment processes and get ahead of the curve.