When the first restrictions were implemented by the State of Disaster most businesses, as well as individuals, were thrown into despair with the harsh, isolating reality. And now with the eCommerce restrictions completely lifted, some will have the chance of reverting many of the lockdown losses – if they can get critical aspects right.
Justin Drennan is the CEO and founder of Parcel Ninja and he understands which of these factors can derail the one shot at building trust and revenue in a new channel for many owners. “A big challenge businesses are going to face right now is making sure they don’t disappoint people because there’s the potential that you’ll be swamped with orders as soon as you have an online offering in place. Something that sounds like a good problem to have can easily overwhelm any business and if you underdeliver now, you’re throwing away an incredible opportunity to build new relationships with your customers.”
Customers and potential customers are going to remember your brand based on how you treat them during the tough times and if you can offer them a good experience, that’s going to be a very positive memory. Deliver on your promise and understand how your clients are feeling right now. Drennan cites a good local example: “TakeaLot knows this, which is a way they’re delivering a mask with every order. They know that right now your interactions with your customers really, really matter and that extra mile is a worthwhile one.”
Many of us have gone through various phases and emotional cycles during this crisis. Some of us have baked bread, grieved or reflected on ourselves and our place in the world but that’s not something a business can do. Justin continues, “It would be wonderful if we could all hit pause but businesses don’t have the luxury of taking their time to adjust to the new world, they need to change and change now.
Some of the likely local winners are those who’ve already invested in an efficient online delivery model like OneCart, TakeALot, Checkers Sixty60, Zulzi and uCook. Drennan worries about worries that the state of affairs is now at do-or-die levels, and not just a case of winners and losers. “Getting this right may be the difference for those who survive and those who do not. There’s still space for other businesses but we all have to be brave and face the facts, there is a new normal. We can fight it, we can wait for it to go away, or we can build it ourselves.”
With many more people now accustomed to working from home, and no treatment or vaccine expected in the short-term, businesses will need to upskill quickly to accommodate the changing behaviours and needs of customers.
“People are desperate to shop, and what we’re finding is that they are spending the money they would’ve spent on outside entertainment or dining out on online shopping. We’re also finding that customers that were wary of or not interested in shopping online, like the elderly, have discovered that they have no other choice. Our view is that these behaviours will stick, especially as health threats persist, and shopping centres trips will be cut in favour of the safety and convenience of home deliveries. The time to change is now – whether we like it or not” explains Justin Drennan.
And some really big retailers have already begun.
“Massive retailers are contacting us daily to find out how we can work with them to grow and scaleup their e-commerce logistics in a post-covid world,” but Justin cautions, “If you disappoint your customer digitally, you don’t get them back. Your competitor isn’t in another mall or across town on another visit. Now they’re just a few clicks away and if they deliver a superior fulfilment process, then your customer is gone for good. There is no more effective marketing than a great service or product and some businesses don’t appreciate that that service delivery is part of the product offering. Failing at delivery is failing to deliver at all.”
This is trying time for all of us and we all have hard decisions to make but if you’re a business owner, at least one of them is easy. Your customers are out there with new needs that have to be met. DM
Parcelninja is an eCommerce fulfilment solution. We leave you to focus on what you do best while we do ours – and make sure your business delivers better, faster, more efficiently, every single time. And we’re more motivated than ever to help businesses transition into this new way of doing things as quickly and painlessly as possible, for the good of all South African businesses and the people they employ. Using distributed warehouses across South Africa, Parcelninja provides you with a virtual, seamless fulfilment solution. Visit us www.parcelninja.com to discover how we can help you thrive in the new world.