Even though eCommerce is hardly something new, Covid-19 has transformed Amazon and other online retailers into the saviours of households around the world, and this trend is only going to continue.
Whilst it may come as no surprise that lockdown boosted eCommerce sales, the extent is pretty staggering: the demand for eCommerce apps during the height of the pandemic was 7% higher than in last year’s holiday season, according to AppsFlyer research.
Not only does this show just how heavily we’ve come to rely on eCommerce websites and apps, but it suggests that the boom is only going to continue as we enter the holiday season. High street shopping - which is already on the ropes - is likely to be hit even harder as Covid regulations stifle customer numbers in store.
As an eCommerce retailer, this could and should be good news for you, but there is a challenge here: with demand rising, you need to make sure more than ever that you are standing out from your competitors, and a crucial way to do that is maintain excellent customer care. Here are a few reasons why handwritten marketing is the perfect tool to do just that.
Younger generations may wish every checkout was a self-service, but for many people, a trip to the shops is part of a regular routine. They may enjoy a chat with a cashier they see everyday, or simply getting a chance to be around other people.
For the vulnerable and shielding, or those who have to travel distances to do their shopping, Covid has made this a lot harder. You can fill that void by taking extra steps to ensure your approach is personal even if you are shipping to your customer from miles away.
Adding a handwritten note to your customer’s order is one way to fill that void of personal interaction. Most packages and deliveries are forgettable, but a handwritten note goes some way to replicating the interaction between a customer and a cashier.
Now we aren’t saying it’s the same as an in-person interaction, but it’s a lot closer to the genuine article. Some of the best Scribeless feedback has come from businesses sending notes to customers living in remote areas. People have had little contact during the pandemic and were touched to receive more intimate and personal communication than they had become used to since the pandemic started.
It’s always good to show your customers you care, but when so few have the opportunity, a handwritten note can help you take that extra step to delight your customers with some unexpected but much welcome contact.
It’s one thing to add a note to your customer’s order, but the customer doesn’t stop existing when they press check out. There are a lot of other options out there, and a customer isn’t likely to feel especially loyal to a company or business that they only hear from when they’re buying.
There’s every chance your customer has been hit hard by Covid, and perhaps can’t afford to make those purchases that they usually would. It’s all too tempting to contact your customer simply to get something back from them, but now may be the time to reach out to them as a human rather than a customer.
Checking in with customers not only makes them feel safe, but when this time period is over, your brand will be remembered for the kindness shared.
- Amanda Millay, Pulse Marketing
This Pulse Marketing blog stresses the importance of maintaining contact with your customers during the pandemic, with a specific focus on traditional means of communication, such as social media and email. But is this the most effective way to convey your genuine concern?
I’m sure you’ve received a lot of emails from companies - some who you can scarcely remember even signing up with - explaining how Covid has affected their business. Have you been reading them? Possibly, but dozens of others will be ignoring them, or they’ll be heading straight to their spam folder. Even if you do genuinely care, your sentiment could be lost in a flood of impersonal deals and offers.
A handwritten note is the perfect way to check in with your customers in a way that stands out from the flood of cold, impersonal emails clogging up their inbox.
Try reaching out to your customers simply to wish them well, particularly this holiday/Christmas period. This is a great way to show your customers that you care about their wellbeing whether they are currently making purchases with you or not.
You don’t even have to stop there - perhaps set up regular communication with your customers. Sending a card to say ‘Happy Christmas’ is one thing, but checking in with a customer at a time they wouldn’t necessarily expect shows that you don’t just see them as a potential sale.
They are sure to appreciate your concern, and you can ensure that hard times won’t negatively affect your relationship with your customers - it’s possible you can even enhance it.
Think of it this way; in a Covid landscape, the online marketplace has taken the place of bustling high street - especially at Christmas time. There are benefits, sure - no long queues, no painful parking, and no dragging the kids around shopping centres.
But as a retailer, the flipside is that you have to do a lot more to stand out. You’re likely to remember a shopping experience where the cashier remembers your name and has a nice conversation with you. Handwritten notes are the perfect substitute for that intimacy in an era of eCommerce dominance.
With Scribeless, sending handwritten notes at scale is incredibly easy, and removes the pain of allocating time and manpower to the physical act of writing - let alone costs of stationery. Shopify users can set triggers for notes to be created automatically, automating the difficult parts of your customer care and making it easier to stay in touch.
Using ‘Custom’ merge fields, you can even diversify the messages you send your customers depending on their circumstances. This way, you can share a general message of sympathy with some additional content that’s more specific to them, and therefore more personal.
Whether you’re following up an order or just checking in to express your concern, handwritten notes are the perfect way to ensure you are forming or maintaining excellent relationships with your customers as the pandemic continues.