Businesses and Brands have been trying to communicate with customers to recover from the COVID fiasco. Team eCommerce Next interviewed Nora Inveiss, Marketing Project Manager, Printful to get more insights. Following is our interview with her:
COVID has affected the way consumers are buying – what ways have you noticed changes?
Covid-19, similarly to the last financial crisis, has increased people’s interest in starting an online business. As people face economic uncertainty, they’re looking at other ways to supplement their income. So the number of new stores launched with Printful doubled.
To add to that, our orders drastically increased. Since shopping at brick-and-mortar stores is risky during a pandemic, more people are turning to online shopping. We saw levels of spending that were similar to what we usually see during Black Friday Cyber Monday. We usually hire additional staff and prepare for BFCM months in advance, so this was an unexpected spike.
Besides that, we also noticed increased popularity in products like neck gaiters and face masks. We launched those specifically to help slow the spread of the pandemic, and both products quickly became bestsellers.
Should you be overcommunicating with your customers?
During any time of crisis or uncertainty, it’s better to over-communicate rather than under-communicate. For starters, here are three things you can do:
- Include a disclaimer on your store so information is visible to your customers.
- Email customers who are waiting for their orders. Let them know when they can expect to receive their orders and whether there are any delays.
- Share updates on your social media channels.
What should you be communicating with your customers?
You should be setting expectations. Let customers know whether you’re still accepting orders and whether anything is different in the order process. Will shipping or fulfillment take longer than usual? If so, how much longer? Even if everything is OK, let your customers know about that too because they’ll be wondering.
Everything you communicate should have value to your customers. Think of what they might be concerned with right now, and what info they need to feel secure in their purchase.
Where should you communicate with your customers? Via email, social media, storefront?
You should be communicating in all of your channels and wherever customers expect to hear from you.
You should definitely communicate on your storefront so customers can easily access information throughout their buyer journey. Publish a banner on your home page, update your FAQ section, and add info on product pages.
Social media and email are both key channels. Just remember to make it relevant. What do customers need to know right now about your store and your policies?
Things change every day — how can you adapt and stay current?
Stay informed; follow the news and recommendations from the WHO and CDC. You should also follow updates from any suppliers or partners that you work with to stay on top of any changes that might affect your business. Once you know what’s going on, you can adapt as you need, whether that’s changing your shipping estimates or canceling promos of a product that’s in the backlog.
At Printful, we created a dedicated FAQ page about Covid-19 that we regularly updated with new info as the situation changed. We proactively linked to that page in our email campaigns, social media profiles, and throughout the Printful site.
Create a list of sources and people to check in with, and plan it in every other day, or at a frequency that works for your business. Find an organic way to make it part of your routine so you don’t have to think about it all the time. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything that’s going on, so make time to take care of yourself and take breaks.
Should you be promoting other content besides COVID?
That depends on your audience and your brand. Ultimately you need to decide what makes sense for your business.
If you do promote other content, then do it with empathy. Your customers may be struggling during this pandemic and period of uncertainty. Now, for example, isn’t a good time to promote music festival attire while social distancing is encouraged.
At Printful, we were cautious with our content. We focused a lot on Covid-19 updates and published content to help our customers navigate the times, like blog posts and videos. When we did promote other content, we took extra care to make sure the messaging was appropriate.
One thing we did was host our first online conference, Printful Threads. Our speakers did talk about Covid-19, but the focus of the conference was on how to get started in e-commerce.
So think of your strengths and what you can talk about right now, whether it’s promoting home goods or sharing self-care tips with your audience.
Consider also what else is going on besides the Covid-19 pandemic. In the US, we’re seeing the Black Lives Matter movement gain momentum and ongoing protests against police brutality and systemic racism. On top of that, we have a polarizing election coming up and the climate crisis constantly looming over us.
Conversations happening aren’t just about Covid-19. Where does your brand fit in? Can you get involved in a meaningful way?
What are some ways to stand out without seeming insensitive during COVID?
Consider what is going on in the world, with Covid-19 and beyond, and consider what’s important to your audience. What do they expect to hear from you right now?
My main advice is to remember that your brand doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Think of how your campaigns or promos fit in with the broader conversation. And approach all of your communication with empathy and awareness.
Nora has been part of the Printful team since 2015. As a marketing project manager, she uses her writing skills to help customers succeed in ecommerce and motivates her team to do the same.
Printful is one of the largest custom on-demand printing and warehousing companies in the world. It has fulfilled 20 million items since its launch in 2013. Printful fulfills and ships products like clothing, accessories, and home & living items for online businesses.
Printful currently employs 1000+ people across six locations in California, North Carolina, Latvia, Spain, and Mexico, and partners with fulfillment centers in Australia.