Due to the growing popularity and convenience of online shopping, all kinds of e-commerce platforms have seen tremendous growth in recent years. Many things have changed in the past few weeks however, due to the abrupt changes caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Although stay-at-home and quarantine measures carried out by many countries have actually strengthened online shopping activities as more consumers stay home and shop online to meet their needs. In the past two to three weeks, we have found out that many store owners have chose to temporarily pause their online business until the pandemic situations have improved.
If you are one of those owners who are considering closing your shop, we want to share a few precautions we believe you should take first in order to avoid any potential nasty surprises when you decide to get started again.
1. Confirm subscription fee and data of your third party Shopify apps
Almost all Shopify stores and shops from other e-commerce platforms operate using many third party apps, such as Tidio, Oberlo, Kiwi Sizing to extend their store's functionalities. Some apps are native to the platforms, and some could be billed and operated separately such as Mailchimp. Before temporarily closing your store, make sure to reach out to those providers you current have paid subscription with and make sure your subscription charges will be paused once the store is closed. No one enjoys seeing unexpected charges, especially during this difficult time.
If you are not closing down your shop completely but want to cut down on costs, one thing you can do is also asking them nicely whether they have special arrangements they can make for you. Here at Kiwi Sizing, we have made several arrangements to our clients on a case by case basis.
Next is the data from those third party apps. You should confirm with them if the settings and data you have set up will be kept as before since each app may have different data retention policy. And whether they will be back once you re-activate the store in the future.
Note that if you are using Kiwi Sizing, no matter whether you're using the paid service or not, Kiwi Sizing will retain all the settings and sizing data. Once you re-open your store when the pandemic situation improves, you can get started again right away!.
2. Export Customer Information and Consumer records
As the saying goes, customer data is your shop's most valuable asset. Customer's purchase history can help you better understand the customer preferences and make better decisions on marketing, advertising and product sourcing.
Therefore, make sure you export all the relevant information of your customer data and properly back them up. Although Shopify or other e-commerce platforms likely won't remove those data, backing them up will help you better sleep at night. This small precaution can ensure once you re-open your store, you have one less important issue to worry about.
3. Communicate with your customers: this is not final farewell
Closing your shop can be an abrupt changes to your loyal customers. So make sure you are open and transparent with your decision on closing the store and what your future plans are so that your customers are prepared. Maintaining those communications is key to build deep customer relationships and a good brand.
We recommend that you can send separate notifications for potential customers and past customers. For example, for potential customers, display a temporary closure message on your store website. And for your past customers, send an email notice.
If you plan to re-open the shop in the near future, make sure to communicate clearly how this would affect the membership system and any relevant qualifications to the loyalty program.
For bigger brands with different customer segments, it would be best to craft messages separately to different customer groups. Store owners need to appropriately and proactively share the current operating situation. Good brands do not come easily. Don’t let consumers suddenly find that they can’t buy when they visit the webpage, which indirectly affects the brand’s favorability.
4. Engage on social media
This might be a fantastic opportunity for you to not only maintain but grow your presence on social media as most people are staying home and spending more time online than before. Temporarily closing your store shouldn't mean pausing all operation of your business! If you still plan to re-open, we recommend you to continue to engage with your customers online.
After all, your follower count, engagement rate, content exposure will continue to be part of your success in the future. Do not give up now as many of your competitor stores may be taking advantage of this opportunity to grow their own online presence and audience base.
Obviously put up notice that while your brand is still in operation, the shop is temporarily closed due to the pandemic but it will hopefully be open again soon. Furthermore, it may be a good idea to experiment with different ways of engaging with your customers online and improve your brand voice!
5. Stay Healthy
Lastly, the most important thing you should do is stay healthy. The pandemic will pass, and the situation will improve. Stay away from high-risk areas, wear a mask when heading out, and wash your hands frequently. As the whole world is facing this together, make sure you keep yourself in a safe and healthy place and be ready to go back online at any time!
Temporarily pausing the store is only a necessary mean to keep your business alive in the long term. It is important to take this time to get some rest and continue to plan for the future.
Kiwi Sizing is an e-commerce plugin to help solve the sizing problems for online shopping. Over 40% of online clothing returns are due to sizes. Kiwi Sizing is designed to make sizing easy by offering stylish size charts and easy-to-use fit recommenders that let shoppers know what is the best size to purchase. We help improve conversions, cut down on returns, and lower the needs for customer support.
We are trusted by thousands of Shopify stores with over 400 5-star reviews. Try it now for free and start reducing unnecessary returns.
- YouTube Tutorials：https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQpP0NIIALWyMIa6NrFH3dw
- Demo shop：https://demo.kiwisizing.com/