The UK has now entered lockdown with everyone being told to stay at home. The spread of coronavirus (COVID—19) continues to increase day by day and now appears likely that lockdown will continue for at least three months.

Unlike bricks-and-mortar stores your Magento and other commerce sites will continue to operate. It is really important at this stage to establish exactly now your site will continue to operate.

  • Business as usual – your customer service staff will be able to work from home packaging and inventory staff, can you put in place measures to minimise interaction between staff while they continue to fulfil orders?

  • Limited operation – significantly reduced manpower may mean next-day or speedy delivery is no longer an option. You will want to be open and clear with customers. Tell customers up-front what they can and cannot expect from your usuall service. Next day delivery, product customisation, installation etc may not be available or be severely limited

  • Shutdown – if you are unable to ensure your staff are protected and won’t be able to accept orders now is the time to make this clear on your website. Customers should be advised (before purchase) that orders won’t be processed in the near future but you are working on alternatives (e.g. drop-shipping directly from suppliers)

Messaging

Create a single point of information ‘‘yourstore.com/coronavirus’’ us a good start, put all relevant information in one pace.

The key will be making the customer aware about all possible problems so they’re not expecting an order to arrive sooner than be processed during lockdown.

  • Current orders - those that have shipped will be delivered, what will happen with those waiting to go our, or yet to be processed?
  • New orders - what will happen if a customer places an order today, tomorrow or over the next week?
  • Shipping Changes - how has your fulfilment process changed, what are the expected wait times.
  • Delivery Advice - add links to your courier services, they will have information on no-contact deliveries and any advice they have about problems in their network.
  • Government Advice - link back to official government advice on 1) how your customer should protect them day-to-day 2) official advice on how your business is effected, this will help customers understand how much outside your control the situation is.

If you store has built-in alert bars - possibly above the header of below the navigation, now is the time to create one, add a link to your coronavirus page.

Same goes on the homepage - your main banner should link to your coronavirus hub.

This might also be the time to reconsider any ongoing promotions or sales - especially if stock is limited and you no longer know when you will be able to replenish your inventory.

Checkout

If you have access, now is the time to reassess your shipping and delivery options. Remove any delivery and payment options that you know will not be possible. Make clear any options that may be disrupted.

Also consider “pay on delivery” options, it might be best to limited operations to cashless payments.

Government Advice

The UK Government as well as devolved administrations in the UK will have the most up-to-date information. Local government may also be pushing out advice but be aware, they will be operating under the same restrictions as businesses for the most part so may not be the most up-to-date.

gov.uk/coronavirus is the official coronavirus hub from the United Kingdom Government.

Technical & IT Support

Remember that any external IT or technical and digital services you rely on will also be experiencing unusually high demand.

If your hosting, support, marketing or IT services are not in-house you may have to accept increased wait times, try and maximise resources.

For example, ff you have the ability to add a new page but not design it - get the information online to the best of your abilities your web design team can refresh it when they get a chance.

Magento

Magento is a feature-rich ecommerce platform built on open-source technology that provides online merchants with unprecedented flexibility and control over the look, content and functionality of their ecommerce store.

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