Adverse weather is easily dealt with in some countries. Unfortunately, Britain is not on that list. Snow and ice or even just heavy rainfall can cause chaos on the roads, stopping people getting to work, school or wherever they need to be.
For your business, that means days of reduced productivity – or even no productivity at all. It doesn’t have to be that way though. Read on as we explore how to prepare your store for adverse weather in future.
The Beast from the East
Late February and early March 2018 saw storm Emma combine with the “Beast from the East” – a jet stream of freezing Arctic air. The result? Mayhem across Britain, with some of the worst weather we’ve seen in years. Thousands of schools were closed, with many businesses suffering the same fate.
While some children – and even adults – were delighted with the prospect of multiple ‘snow days’, the impact was harsh for business owners. Production was halted at a number of manufacturing plants, while retail stores suffered from a lack of staff making it in – not to mention customers choosing to stay at home.
Ecommerce feels the chill
Despite having no physical retail outlet, the effect extended to ecommerce businesses too. Many were left with no staff to monitor sales and organise deliveries. On top of that, the dangerous icy roads made delivery almost impossible in most parts of the UK. Once the bad weather has hit, there’s little businesses can do to stop themselves missing out on business or leaving customers frustrated by delay.
But with a bit of forward thinking, they can prepare to minimise the impact of bad weather.
Preparing for adverse weather
The one upside of Britain’s late-winter snow storm was foresight. We knew the storm was coming and, based on the reaction to other bad weather, could predict that we’d suffer from some form of disruption. This kind of foresight can help you and your business, even in the smallest of ways.
If you know bad weather is coming, consider a notice on your website warning customers of potential disruption. Whether it’s alerting them of longer production, dispatch and delivery times, or warning of less accessibility to customer service, it’s always better to warn customers beforehand.
Where possible, you should look to increase the number of staff available for customer enquiries. There’s not much you can do about icy roads preventing deliveries or slowing the production process. That’s when customer service is essential. If customers can get through to someone, via webchat, phone or email, who can explain the situation to them, you have a much better chance of avoiding complaints and negative reviews.
How about remote access? A lack of staff in the office can spell disaster for ecommerce businesses, for both order processing and customer service. But what if those staff could access their work from home? Being equipped with remote working software could be a huge boost to your business on days where people can’t make it into the office.
Stay ahead in ecommerce
Preparation is key in ecommerce, whether it’s for bad weather or peak sales periods.
At Fluid Digital, we build powerful Magento ecommerce sites that keep your business ready for anything. Our team of certified Magento developers get to know you, your business and your brand to create the perfect website that reflects your values, your vision and your target audience. Get in touch today to discuss your ecommerce business and find out how we can help.