If you ensured your business was ready to operate online in the days leading up to the National Lockdown, we hope that you have managed to mitigate the adverse effects on operations and turnover. The truth is that businesses who weren’t able to make the shift in time and weren’t classed as essential services are having to be increasingly creative to maintain their customer base and make ends meet during the Lockdown period. If you did manage to shift online, now what? Here are our tips for gearing your website for impacts and protocols during the Lockdown period.
If your website has been around for a while, now is the perfect time to do a quick audit. There could be many small points that don’t fit into the Lockdown status quo. For example, if you have an online store, are all your products eligible for sale at this time? Are you able to deliver during the Lockdown period, or will orders placed only be shipped once regular trade has resumed? This information needs to be updated so that visitors know exactly what’s on offer when navigating your website. An audit is also a great way to make note of other changes and updates that you’ve been meaning to implement but haven’t had the time to review. Make use of the downtime – productivity is the best medicine for cabin fever!
More likely than not, new visitors will stumble across your homepage first, so it’s important to make both a good and accurate first impression. Lockdown has been a complete shift in practice and mindset for us all and potential customers appreciate clear communication now more than ever. A great way to put all your updated lockdown information in one concise and visible format is creating a homepage pop-up. You can use this to explain how your business has been affected by the Lockdown, what you’re doing to mitigate the impact of reduced trade, where customers can go to get important contact information should they need to reach you, and delays (if any) they can expect when trying to get in touch. Sleeknote is offering a customisable COVID-19 specific pop-up which is free and can be pasted as script into your site.
A Government Gazette published right before the National Lockdown officially announced that all domains ending in .za must have a visible link to the official SA government COVID-19 information portal. This was part of a bid to prevent the spread of fake news and encourage local businesses and organisations to do their part in educating civilians about the virus. You could take this new legislature and your responsibility as a local business owner a step further and provide important contact information too, such as the COVID-19 Emergency Hotline (0800 029 999) and WhatsApp Support Line (0600 123 456) numbers.
Be In Touch
Use this time as an opportunity to cultivate a strong relationship with your regular visitors. How about encouraging visitors to provide their email address to receive regular updates about how your business is coping with the ‘new normal’? You can also invest in your social media platforms to continue to drive traffic to your website, or simply to keep in touch with your followers and supporters. If you’re struggling to keep product sales or service offerings going due to the new restrictions, you could try your hand at blogging and keep yourself and your website visitors entertained with tales of your Lockdown trials and triumphs. There is always a way to keep your visitors engaged and wanting more!
Having an online platform has certainly been the saving grace for many businesses in the age of the coronavirus, but as with all entrepreneurial endeavours, even a virtual platform needs constant work, maintenance and review. Use this time to invest in building your online presence and to #CombatCOVID.
Craft in partnership with 4theNOW is able to offer web design & eCommerce packages tailored to the needs of SMEs. 4theNOW is a Cape Town based web design agency specialising in UX/UI, eCommerce and product development.
View Craft’s Web Design and eCommerce packages here.