SMB eCommerce owners – Our CEO gives some tips on coping with 2020

These are difficult times at present. There’s a lot of world events going on, and here at ShipperHQ, we’re certainly all feeling the emotional struggle around it all, both personally and professionally.

In this post, I want to focus on what we can do in the environment today to keep moving and progressing forward. 

eCommerce has never been busier. I’m sure for many of you, like me, your life has been turned upside down AND you are coping with much more traffic than normal. It’s important you realise that it’s okay to run a bit slower on some things. 

I want to share some tactics that I hope are useful for those in eCommerce right now, both from a business sense and specifically focused on shipping (which is an area that’s close to my heart, of course!)

I hope you find some of these tips and insights helpful.

1. Don’t Overload Yourself

As business owners and/or driven people, we are used to driving hard and fast. These are not normal times. I’ve struggled personally to keep up momentum, at times feeling like a sputtering engine. In the environment of online commerce, everything is busier right now. The world is busier.

Just remember that if you’re not in a good place, you’re not productive. So now more than ever, you need to first prioritize yourself, your family, and staff. If that is in harmony, it will be much easier to drive forward.

Reset some of your expectations, and just de-stress yourself. You may be surprised at what you can achieve just by this one simple action.

2. Focus On What’s Working

Trusting your gut in these times is no bad thing. You need to really think before you act. Don’t just jump into stuff since there is a lot of tension out there – you need to still trust your gut instincts. It’s proven that doing this works, as our subconscious is at play here.

You might even find it’s more than just instinct, although it feels just like it. Really, it could be the result of a lot of background processing going on that’s just trying to catch up. Just be careful to back that up with science if you can.

So if something isn’t working, focus on improving that. Double down on what is working for your store. This isn’t a time to let things just drift. You need to stop what’s not working, focus in on what is, and edge from there.

3. Work from a Place of Safety

As a business owner myself, this is especially important to me. We all take risks, but you need to calculate the size of the risk and the impact it has right now. I often say to my engineers “it’s like being in the woods” when working with code. 

You find the safe areas, and then you launch from there to see where you can walk whilst keeping that safety in mind. I suggest the same principle applies in business. Just edge out from safety and try things, without over-committing. Once you are safe in the experiment, then you can move forwards with confidence and security.

4. Shipping is Everything – Review it

Right now, Amazon is in a precarious position in my opinion. There is a backlash in place against these massive companies that are really sucking the life out of small business. We have realised lately, with all that’s happening, that like never before we need to support small businesses and local businesses. This gives you an opportunity.

But we also know that Amazon is getting back to full power. They for a time had really long delivery dates for some of their items (think weeks versus days), and as such, people moved elsewhere for their goods. During this time, Amazon did take a hit from online spending, accounting for 34% of all online spending compared to the 42% it was at before everything started. Now that they have new processes in place, they are investing once again in their shipping.

They know shipping times are the key to their success. You need to try and match them somehow; you can even do so without your own fulfillment network in place.

We will expand on this in another blog post, but here are some ideas:

  • Delivery Dates are essential. Would you buy from somewhere without knowing the delivery date? If the answer is no, then you can’t neglect it on your own site either.
  • Free Shipping needs to push up cart value. Don’t just give it away.
  • Add surcharges on your expedited shipping. This will counteract free shipping subsides
  • Delay free shipping. Setting up lead times so that, for example, free shipping takes a week, but sub-$15 shipping delivers in 3 days. This will get you a lot of upsell on the shipping side.
  • Offer Store Pickup to build your community. Do it if you can but don’t over-commit especially around cut-off times. Creating connections into your local community will help solidify repeat customers.
  • Utilise new carrier services. For instance, FedEx SameDay City to get product out within hours.
  • Ask if you need an international shipping strategy. You will know if this is essential, if it’s not, don’t be afraid to put “coming in 2021.”

5. Be a Person

People buy from people, and that’s never more true than today. Be authentic, be you, let people hear your story. No one wants ads thrown at them. You need to listen to the room and act accordingly.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to be Ambitious

It’s okay to want to go for it. If you see a window, take it. But likewise, we all need to see out 2020 with our sanity, so don’t be afraid to just pull back if you need to. After all, 2021 is another year, there is time.

Good luck. Know I’m here cheering you on. And if you need to talk feel free to reach out.