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How to Write a Solid Crisis Management Plan for Your eCommerce Company

Building a successful eCommerce platform takes dedication, smart marketing, and appealing pricing – elements which take a long time to nail down.

However, no matter how well-optimized your SEO may be or how much revenue the platform might make, a potential crisis is always just around the corner. Based on Fortunly, more than 80% of online shopping carts are abandoned before checkout, and eCommerce businesses lose ~$75 billion yearly due to poor servicing. Also, according to 99 Firms, only 2.86% of eCommerce visits convert into purchases, with slow website load times increasing cart abandonment by 75%.

You can never know how customer expectations might change or what innovation the eCommerce industry might introduce overnight. In order to avoid downtime and loss of precious revenue, writing a crisis management plan can help mitigate those scenarios.

Let’s take a look at what it takes to write a solid crisis management plan for your eCommerce platform in 2020.

 

WHY WRITING A CRISIS MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR ECOMMERCE MATTERS

Crisis management is undoubtedly a delicate subject matter, especially in light of COVID-19, which has upturned the world from its roots. In times like these, having access to a well-written crisis management plan for your eCommerce platform is more than welcome.

That is why careful consideration should be made in regards to possible crisis scenarios, fictional as they may be, to avoid actual loss of revenue. Business leaders who think ahead of the competition are far more likely to survive the storm and come out of a crisis scenario stronger than before.

Some of the main benefits of writing a crisis management plan include but are not limited to:

  • Smart allocation of available resources at a time of crisis
  • Quick identification of bottlenecks and critical errors in the business model
  • More efficient internal communication and coordination for the sake of crisis resolution
  • Increased lifespan of your eCommerce platform due to proactive planning and crisis management

 

PRE-CRISIS CRISIS MANAGEMENT

Before we jump into the process of writing a crisis management plan, we need to discuss how such a plan can be implemented. Keep in mind that a plan is just a plan without real-world people there to implement it.

As such, some precautionary steps should be taken in order to ensure that your plan is able to function as intended:

  • Create a crisis team – assemble a project team made up of like-minded coworkers who will be in charge of putting the crisis management plan in motion
  • Create a login backup – a login backup contains all critical login information present in the company; such a file may be necessary in case of cyber attacks
  • Assemble a tool stack – give your team access to tools, from essay writing help online and cloud-based platforms such as Evernote or Readable, to anti-malware and network management software
  • Test your crisis plans – once different crisis management scenarios are outlined, make sure that your team tests them in a controlled environment as part of the practice and plan refinement

 

WRITING A SOLID CRISIS MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR ECOMMERCE

Set up multiple triggers

Now that we have a rudimentary understanding of crisis management, let’s discuss writing a plan to mitigate potential crisis scenarios. Given that crisis can happen in a number of ways, and unexpectedly, the first thing you should do is settle on your crisis triggers.

As we're talking about eCommerce, we can safely assume several scenarios which we can categorize as “crisis”, such as:

  • Poor delivery pipeline and problems with shipping
  • Added costs of shipping, taxes, fees, and others are too high
  • Too many needed clicks and logins to complete a purchase
  • Public distrust with your eCommerce platform
  • Poor return shipping pipeline

These and similar triggers can be at the center of your crisis management plan. From there, you can break down each point into its “why”, as well as “how” to fix the situation as soon as possible.

The best way to discuss such things is to first refer to pre-crisis crisis management as we’ve outlined it previously and go forward from there.

Ensure your employees’ well being

Handling your staff poorly during the crisis will significantly reduce your brand’s public appeal and make it much harder to attract new talent to your eCommerce. When writing a crisis management plan for your eCommerce business, you should consider what to do with your employees if push comes to shove.

Employees on your payroll should never suffer as a result of poor management or drastic changes in the industry (such as with the COVID-19 situation). Make sure to take their well being and security under consideration in your crisis management plan – more specifically, how will you take care of them?

Cut unnecessary expenditure

When we talk about “unnecessary” expenditure in business development, what do we refer to? Excessive marketing costs such as influencer contracts and PPC should be put on hold during a crisis period. Likewise, any web development changes you’ve been working on can wait until the situation is resolved.

The worst thing about a crisis scenario is that we are never sure of how long it will last. While you may avert your crisis in a matter of hours, it’s good practice to cut unnecessary costs momentarily in favor of business stability.

Address the crisis at hand

Once a crisis hits, it’s pivotal that you address it head on and avoid downtime as much as possible. Writing a crisis management plan is all about preparing for the inevitable – however, the unexpected can still happen.

In case of a unique crisis that is not present in your plan, you should assemble the crisis team and consult on how to proceed. Existing plans can be retrofitted for different scenarios and used to effectively mitigate the loss of revenue for your eCommerce platform.

The worst thing you can do however, is to simply observe the situation and do nothing – make sure to act sooner rather than later.

Make the crisis management plan available

Lastly, in order to mitigate potential crisis scenarios as quickly as possible, you should make the crisis management plan available to all of your employees. The document should include planned scenarios, the contact information on project team members, as well as how office-level employees can contribute in case of emergency.

Potential crisis events are everyone’s responsibility, not just for several chosen employees who are part of the first-response team. Give everyone an opportunity to help out, and your eCommerce business’ internal culture will benefit from it significantly.

Once the crisis has been averted, employees will grow closer in light of working together to solve a large issue – make it a team effort.

 

IN CONCLUSION

No one likes to think about “the worst-case scenario” for their business, but such an event is an unfortunate possibility. Assemble a crisis team, equip them with the tools to react with, and make sure that everyone in the company is aware of the plan.

Be proactive and plan in advance – write a crisis management plan for your eCommerce in order to anticipate problems before they arrive. Having a solid plan in place will help you to increase your profits, safeguard your website and cash flow, and help you to get better valuations if you decide to sell your eCommerce business.

Security Posters

Tags: Business, Continuity, E-Commerce

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