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Managing your business through the Coronavirus pandemic
There will doubtless be some disruption to your business during the Coronavirus pandemic and it’s worth updating your emergency plans to protect your seller reputation and feedback.
Firstly, if you need to shut down your business make sure you are familiar with holiday settings and consider using out of stock messages to reduce your inventory to zero but keep your listing history live on eBay. If you are a sole trader, make sure a family member has access to your eBay account or buddy up with a friendly seller and give each other detailed instructions on what to do if your account needs to temporarily pause trading.
Speak to your carriers to ensure you know what Coronavirus pandemic procedures they would like to follow when picking up your outgoing shipments. They may not wish to enter your warehouse or home and you may need to have your parcels and mail ready to collect outside the warehouse door rather than inside for the next few months. You will also want to establish procedures for accepting incoming deliveries and returns.
Make sure you stock up with supplies such as packaging in advance of when you would normally reorder. Whilst there are no reported shortages, with many more people likely to turn to online shopping you may find you use up packaging more rapidly than normal and suppliers may also start to struggle to deliver as quickly as they routinely would. Don’t rely on a next day just in time delivery.
It’s worth considering the use of fulfilment houses who may be better placed to trade through the Coronavirus pandemic due to their scale, but bear in mind that if you choose a fulfilment service and they have to shut down for any reason that you’ll lose access to your stock. Amazon FBA is an option well worth considering if you sell on Amazon as they have the scale to trade through, perhaps more so than any other fulfilment operation.
Communication with your customers will be key as many will have questions such as if their delivery will arrive on time, if there is a danger of becoming infected through incoming packages and may need to be made aware of changes to how carriers will deliver their parcels, for instance not collecting signatures.
While many marketplace employees and those from solution providers will be working from home, in today’s connected world you shouldn’t notice a difference in service levels in most instances.
“Earlier this week, in consultation with our global leadership team, we made the decision to have our global workforce work remotely from home. We did this not only to protect their health, but also to support our local communities and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare system. We do not anticipate any disruption due to this policy; our employees are fully equipped to work effectively from remote locations and we have state-of-the-art communications and systems in place to manage the business effectively under this policy. We have also canceled participation in larger in-person gatherings for the time being. We are prepared and confident in our ability to operate in this manner indefinitely, until such time as it is no longer necessary to do so.”
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, eBay have cancelled all face to face events for the foreseeable future, but will be keeping in touch through regular online video sessions and email communications, the first of which is a Seller Check-In with Marni Levine:
Amazon self fulfilled order to the EU already stopped via Holiday settings this morning…
I have already stopped selling internationally on both eBay and Etsy due to possible disruption with postal services.
Last I checked, the locked down Italians were still operating a postal service, but if you’re that bothered, why not use GSP on ebay and keep your international sales going?
You might not get as many sales, but if something goes wrong, no need to worry. Once it’s got to the GSP hub, your problems are over. Even if they fail to deliver, it won’t come back to you. They’ll just eat the loss and keep the goods, for eventual resale as part of a mixed stock pallet.
There are concerns about internet connection
With all the extra load caused by self isolation and closures
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