COVID-19 response: with you throughout

1 CommentMonday, 23 March 2020  |  Cate
COVID-19: With You Throughout

In times of great uncertainty, and this surely counts as one of them, all businesses are thinking about how they can adapt and change to meet the circumstances we are facing. We are all considering the best strategies to get us through this incredibly difficult time and mitigating losses. It’s made all the harder when the biggest question of all, ‘how long will this last’, is impossible to answer.

But, with so many bricks and mortar business closures, surely online businesses are far better placed to weather this storm. This is the time to think creatively about how to tackle this problem. Check out the wide range of things you can do to make a difference and remember, we are with you throughout and happy to answer any questions you may have to help you get through this.

Encourage purchases

Offer Gift Vouchers

We understand at this difficult time that orders may have dropped off but you can still encourage customers to purchase by offering online gift vouchers. They are a great way for people to send gifts to their friends and family without leaving the house and the recipient can come back to choose what they'd like to receive when things are running a little more normally.

Gift Vouchers are included in every Bluepark online shop and we have a helpful guide to setting them up.

Revise your returns

If you are still sending out orders, consider extending your returns policy for an extra month or two. This will reassure customers that they can still return the goods at a later date if they're not suitable.

Offer click & collect

If you have premises that are safe for customers to come and collect their orders from, why not setup a Click & Collect option at checkout? You can do this by creating a new Shipping Method, ticking Require Customer Collection in the Properties tab and adding instructions in the Advisory Message field in the Fulfilment tab.

Keep in touch with customers

Keeping in contact with your customers and creating a sense of community is vital to help them understand that you're still around and ready to help. There are so many ways you can do this both on your website and elsewhere.

Keep in contact on your website

  • Add Live Chat to your site so you can answer any questions quickly. Find out how to add live chat to your online shop in our helpful guide.
  • Create a Blog Post to keep customers updated about what's happening with your business and any information they may need regarding deliveries. A blog is available within every Bluepark online shop and can be accessed by going to Other Pages > Blog Posts.
  • Add a short Announcement Block to your homepage, checkout and/or within your header to inform customers of your current position and link it through to your blog, so they can get further information.
  • Send out an Email Newsletter to keep customers up-to-date. This can be done within your Bluepark admin panel if you are on the Business and Enterprise packages or via an external email newsletter system, such as MailChimp, who allow you to send up to 10,000 emails per month to 2000 contacts for free.

If you have any questions about setting up any of the above, please just get in touch and we'll be happy to help.

Keep in contact elsewhere

Social media is a great way to keep in contact with your customers at the best of times but right now, this will be one of the first places people will look for any updates. Create a new post and add a link to any helpful information you've added to your website. On Instagram this link will need to be added to your profile.

Going forward, use social media to keep customers interested in your brand, so they'll come back and purchase from you when things are running a little more normally. Be creative and engage with your audience via Instagram and Facebook stories, create tips and advice about your products so they can use them at home whilst they're social distancing, talk about your industry or why you decided to start up your business in the first place. You could even branch out and start your own YouTube channel.

Update your online shop

If there are things that you've been planning to do on your website but keep putting them off, perhaps if things are quieter, now is the right time to get started.

Perhaps you'd like to update the look of your online shop. If so, why not try out one of our free built-in templates, which can be installed without your customers seeing and viewed within the Template Manager using the Preview icon under the Action column. As our templates simply change the styling of certain design elements, this won't affect the content displayed on each page.

You could even take advantage of our free Template Switch service.

Why not work on improving your SEO, website value and visitor engagement by starting up your very own blog? As mentioned above, a blog is included within every Bluepark online shop and, if you're short on ideas, check out our 25 Killer Ideas for Content Rich Blog Posts guide.

If you have any questions about making changes to your site, please just get in touch and we'll be happy to help.

Learn something new

If you have time on your hands, then why not learn something new? There are plenty of courses online regarding SEO, selling online, blogging, social media, PPC and so on. We've added a few free ones below to get you started.

  • If you're new to SEO, then the best place to start is Google's very own Search Engine Optimisation guide.
  • Moz is one of the leaders in SEO advice and you can find a wealth of information in their SEO Learning Centre.
  • If you've never blogged before, Ahrefs' Blogging for Business video course can help you understand the benefits of adding blog posts to your online shop and how to adopt best practices in your writing.
  • If you've been thinking about setting up your own YouTube channel and have no idea how to get started, then check out YouTube's Creator Academy for loads of great videos to help you create and optimise your videos.
  • Social media experts, HootSuite, have a huge resource library to help you make the most of your social media channels.

Financial help

As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept across the country, and the world, the UK Government has taken active steps to support small businesses during the current crisis. These are outlined on their continually updated COVID-19: support for businesses page.

You can find out more about their Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme by visiting the dedicated page on the British Business Bank website.

Certain UK banks, such as Barclays Bank, are offering help for new and current business account holders with no charge fees or interest on overdrafts. Check with your own bank to see how they can help you.

Facebook have also announced that they are pledging $100M in cash grants and ad credits during these challenging times. Please visit their dedicated page for more information.

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