5 Website Updates Needed Due To Coronavirus

My Post (22)The effects of Coronavirus are forcing the majority of companies to temporarily change the way they do business. In times like these, your website plays a crucial role. It’s one area of your business that can remain in operation and, with so many people confined to their homes, it’s the main way customers can connect with your company. However, to meet the needs of your business and your customers, you may also need to make changes to your website. Here are five updates you might want to consider.

1. Update users about the impact on your business

It is highly likely that the levels of service your company offers will have changed because of Coronavirus. You may have difficulty sourcing products, have staff in self-isolation, work from home technology issues and various other challenges. You may even have had your physical premises compulsorily closed.

While customers are aware that businesses, in general, have been affected, they cannot know the specific impact on individual companies or how things change on a day to day basis. The place to let them know is your website and, ideally, you need to put this information on your homepage, a pop-up or a prominent link on all pages to a specially created Coronavirus page.

Information you might need to display includes:

  • Reduced opening times or days
  • Delays in delivery
  • Delays in responding to queries
  • Changes in products being sold
  • Restrictions on purchasing (e.g. limiting the number of any item a customer can buy)
  • Limitations on people allowed in physical premises
  • Social distancing measures introduced in physical premises
  • Any services which have temporarily ceased
  • How cancellations, returns and refunds will be handled

2. Showcase new initiatives

Although companies are facing challenges and restrictions, many of them are going out of their way to offer alternative services and to help those most in need. Again, you should use your website to communicate these initiatives to visitors. These might include:

  • Measures to help the over 70s, those at high risk and key workers, such as priority shopping hours or deliveries.
  • Any new services you have begun to offer, such as live chat instead of telephone customer service and online shopping and delivery instead of shopping in-store.

3. Explain how you are looking after employees

Many businesses are using their websites to make it clear to their customers how they are looking after their employees. This is done to help customers understand how Coronavirus is impacting company operations and to highlight that the companies are putting employee welfare above profits. The latter is important as social media criticism of poor employee treatment can worsen already damaged sales. Things to include here are:

  • Allowing staff time off to care for others
  • Reduced hours
  • Overtime payments
  • Work from home introduced where feasible
  • Social distancing introduced on-site
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) issued to all who need it
  • Where redeployment or furloughing has been used

While it may seem that these things aren’t relevant for customers to know, today’s ethical shoppers are much more likely to stay loyal to ethical businesses. This information can be important for brand reputation and customer retention.

4. Back end tweaks

It is not just the front end of your website that will need updating, there may be backend changes required too. If you sell online and find products hard to procure, you may have to regularly update your list of unavailable products so that you aren’t left with a string of complaining customers. However, clever stores are offering alternative products on these web pages and these products are selling well as customers, now used to scarcity, are willing to settle for second choice.

You may also have to adjust the shipping times on your store. With more people shopping online, shipping companies are under increased strain to deliver unprecedented numbers of items while facing their own issues with staff shortages. You may find shipping times will need regularly changing. Shipping costs may fluctuate, too, and this could mean making changes to your pricing.     – Read more

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Keeping Your Business Going During Lockdown

My Post (8).pngBusiness owners will be very worried about how their company can survive over the next few months. However, though a lockdown means there will be no customers visiting your premises, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop trading completely. What it does mean is that you’ll need to think out of the box to come up with income-generating alternatives and make your business agile enough to adapt to your new circumstances. Here are some ideas you should consider.

Moving online

If you cannot trade from physical premises or face to face, the only way to serve your customers is online. That will mean adding shopping functionality to your website and communicating with your customers using email, social media and if your budget allows, through advertising.

If you don’t currently have a website, you can create one quickly, easily and cheaply. You can host your website here at WHUK for as little as £2.49 a month (plus VAT) and this will provide you with all the services and support you need to put your website online and give you professional email addresses. You can purchase a domain name (e.g. yourbusiness.com) from us too, for as little as £7.20 a year. And, once your hosting account is set up, you can install free, easy to use, website creation software, like WordPress, with one click. To add a shopping area to your site, you can then install the free WooCommerce plugin, which can be done in a couple of clicks from your website’s dashboard.

If you don’t already have business social media accounts on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you would also need to set these up so you can promote your business to a much wider audience.

Alternative income streams

One of the most difficult things is to think of alternative ways to generate revenue. The key here is to look at what your business has expertise in and then work out how it can still help customers who are unable to access your current services.

Retailers, in some respects, have the easiest solution. They can simply advertise their products on their website, on social media platforms or sites like eBay and have them delivered to customers. Local businesses can even offer same-day delivery by dropping off the items themselves.

The challenge is bigger for companies which offer services. Social media, however, has plenty of examples of businesses with innovative solutions. Many restaurants, for example, are now delivering cooked meals or ingredient and recipe packs to their customers and helping taxi drivers stay in business while doing so. Local electrical and device repair services, meanwhile, are offering to collect and return items from customers’ homes.

Hair and beauty salons are creating monthly hair care and body care packages to be delivered to their customers’ homes. Contacting existing customers by email and text message, they are sending out items that their clients used to buy when they visited, like hair conditioner, styling products, face masks and body lotions. They are doing this by getting customers to sign up to receive regular monthly packages, which gives them time to acquire stock and helps them gauge what demand will be. They are then asking customers to like and share the service on social media to generate more sales through their website. Again, this is something that can be done by nail clinics, manicurists, pedicurists and various other service providers.

Other businesses which have used the internet to keep going are fitness instructors and educational tutors. Using easily available video conferencing apps, fitness classes and tutoring sessions can take place with all the usual members in attendance, except done from the safety of their own home. With a website, customers can sign up and pay for the services in advance and then those who have paid can be called when the session begins. Obviously, fitness instructors won’t be able to hand out equipment, so some improvisation or alternative ideas may be required. This method of delivering a service can be adopted by many other kinds of business – financial advisors, recruitment agencies, travel agents or anywhere else where visual communication is essential. – Read more

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Social Distancing? Best Work At Home Tools For Business Continuity

My Post (12).pngAs Coronavirus forces millions of people to work from home, employers and employees alike are looking for ways to stay connected and stay productive while the upheaval lasts. For most, the answer lies in technology and particularly the use of cloud-based tools and apps that can be accessed over the internet. To help, here are some of the best work from home tools and apps we’ve found.

Employee motivation and wellbeing tools

Social distancing adds a whole new dimension to working from home. People who normally work in the office will have to adjust to a working environment where they usually spend their free time – and this can make it difficult to get motivated. They also need to deal with the demands of looking after their children while at work and cope with all the wellbeing issues that long periods of confinement and lack of social contact can lead to.

Luckily, there are several tools to help improve motivation, wellbeing and positivity. The first of these is Chimp or Champ, an online portal where team members can give anonymous feedback, expressing how they have felt during the previous week and giving the reasons why. This feedback is then collated for managers in a weekly report that includes the team’s anonymous actionable feedback and an analysis of the team’s overall happiness score. This allows managers to make changes that will help your employees adapt to working from home in a way that makes them happier.

Another crucial motivational tool is to reward your employees. This is especially important when they are working in unusual circumstances. The online and app platform, Wooboard, is ideal for this as it provides a fun way not just for the manager to reward good work but for employees to recognise and praise each other. What’s also great about this tool during social distancing is that its social and gamification features help maintain the important daily interactions that can be easily lost when the team is socially isolated.

 Project management and collaboration tools

Keeping projects on schedule during the Coronavirus pandemic is going to be a challenge for all businesses, especially when teams that normally work together are isolated from each other. However, remote working is nothing new in the digital age and over recent years a growing number of high-quality project management and collaboration tools have been developed.

For teams that use Microsoft Office applications to create documents and send emails, especially users of Office 365, then the most useful tool may be Microsoft Teams, a teamwork hub built into Office 365. Accessible over the internet on any device, the tool has a long list of features and enables you to keep all your team’s documents, meetings, chats, files and apps together in one place – enabling you to communicate, collaborate and work simultaneously on instantly synced documents. Watch the video below to find out more.

MS Teams EMBED CODE

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An alternative to Microsoft Teams is ProofHub, another high-quality collaboration tool that provides seamless interaction between team members and comes with a wealth of remote project management features, as well as online proofing, discussions and feedback-sharing chat. And then, of course, there’s the well-known and very popular Slack, a messaging app and collaboration tool combo that easily integrates with all the tools your team uses and has a string of highly useful features.  – Read more

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