If there is one important lesson the pandemic has taught us, it is that disruptions to your business can occur at any time; mostly when you least expect them. Disruptions can be caused by events such as a natural disaster, a man-made crisis, an expensive lawsuit, a financial disaster and theft of crucial business data. To ensure your online business will weather the storm when disaster strikes, you should have an effective plan on how to respond. But how exactly can you prepare your online business for the unexpected?
Here are some tips to help you prepare for anything.
1. Assess Risk
To prepare your eCommerce business for the unexpected, you should start by identifying the crises that could take place. As an online business owner, you should think about issues like the type of goods you deal in, the security of the confidential data in your possession, the risk of natural disasters, the possibility of a lawsuit and events that could ruin the reputation of your business. This will enable you to come up with a suitable response plan.
2. Establish an Emergency Fund
Money is the lifeblood of your business. An unexpected economic slowdown can be accompanied by a sudden and severe dip in sales. This has the potential to cause financial strains that could threaten the survival of your business. Creating an emergency fund that covers your business expenses for at least six months will provide a safety net so you can survive the difficult times.
3. Ensure Your Website Is Up to Date
Your website is the foundation of your overall online presence. In 2019, eCommerce sales accounted for 14.1% of retail purchases worldwide. Keeping your website up to date will ensure customers have accurate information about your business and available products. An updated website also allows customers to browse your products and place online orders easily. This ensures a good user experience—a factor that can help you stay ahead of the competition.
4. Maintain an Active Social Media Presence
Social media is not only a powerful marketing tool but also a great way to stay connected with people. Developing and maintaining an active social media presence will help you keep in touch with your customers, employees, and suppliers during times of crisis. This will enable your online business to continue its core operations with minimal disruptions.
5. Have a Backup Plan
As an eCommerce retailer, your online business depends a lot on digitized business data and processes. As such, you should never rely on a single server or one copy of your important business information and records. Backing up everything will allow you to retrieve your vital information and resume operations quickly in the event of a power outage or server problems. This effectively protects against business disruption.
6. Manage Your Inventory
An organized inventory keeps you from being wasteful and running out of stock. When you accurately track your inventory, you will know how much supply is required to meet the existing demand. You will also be in a better position to fulfill orders in an efficient and timely manner. Part of managing your inventory will involve establishing alternate suppliers and transportation methods. You can also consider working with a 3PL order fulfillment company that can handle all aspects of the eCommerce supply chain, including inventory management. This way, you will be well-prepared for the unexpected with your inventory in the hand of logistics experts.
7. Treat Your Employees Well
The greatest asset to your business is your employees. When you treat employees with respect and value them, they are more likely to stick with you when you need them the most. Make sure your employees feel that they will be safe and secure even if a crisis strikes. This way, they will work hard to get the business back on track in the event of the unexpected. Also, if you treat your workers well, they will treat your customers well.
8. Adapt to Clients’ Changing Needs
Internet and globalization have completely transformed retail around the world. Being aware of the latest in technology and the preferences of the up-and-coming generations will enable you to stay on top of customer needs. You should engage with your customers regularly in order to understand them better and adapt to their changing needs. Also, think about providing the products they need in a convenient way. For example, subscription box services could be beneficial if your clients are purchasing your products regularly.
9. Get the Right Insurance
Choosing and buying the right insurance coverage for your online business is a great way to protect yourself against unforeseen events. You can consider purchasing policies such as cyber liability insurance, specific disaster coverage, product liability insurance, and workers' compensation insurance. This will protect you against financial loss in case the insured risk occurs.
10. Plan for Remote Communication
Some unexpected events can cause major disruptions to your business. To keep your online business running, you should consider setting up remote working capabilities. In addition, establish reliable and secure channels of communication for all employees way before disaster strikes. This will minimize the inconvenience you experience when your employees are unable to come into the office.
These tips can help you protect your online business against unexpected events. However, you should also hire a reliable eCommerce fulfillment company to handle your inventory, packing, shipping and returns. At Rakuten Super Logistics, our expertise in eCommerce supply services will help you meet online customer demands. Contact us today to find out more or to request a quote.