Attention New Zealand retailers: Is your business ready for Alert Level 3?
Businesses all over New Zealand are preparing to open shop again as the country gets ready to move from Alert Level 4 lockdown to Alert Level 3 at 11:59pm on Monday 27th April.
But for many retailers, business will look very different for the immediate future. At Alert Level 3, most retailers can only sell goods to customers online or over the phone, while customers can only receive their orders via contactless delivery or pick-up, like Click & Collect.
These restrictions don’t just impact retailers that are used to face-to-face interaction with their customers, though. For online retailers who have continued to accept orders throughout Alert Level 4 but have not been able to dispatch them, they now face a backlog with the arrival of Alert Level 3.
So, what do New Zealand retailers need to consider before Alert Level 3 arrives?
Managing a backlog of orders
For retailers that have been accepting orders during Alert Level 4, Alert Level 3 is the time to get them out as fast possible. Keep in mind that many other retailers are in the same boat, so demand on couriers may be higher than normal.
The best way to stay on top of a backlog of orders is to use the remainder of Alert Level 4 to get as organised as possible. Using safe precautions, businesses have been granted permission to access their business premises if they need to in the final days of Alert Level 4, for the purpose of preparing to operate when Alert Level 3 kicks in.
While maintaining Alert Level 4 restrictions and safe distancing, use this time to thoroughly clean your premises, organise stock, and pack orders so you’re ready to hit the ground running on Tuesday morning.
Managing an influx of new orders
If your business usually interacts with customers face-to-face, you may not be used to the fulfilment process. Similarly, if you are an online retailer but you haven’t been operating during Alert Level 4, you may experience a surge in demand as customers discover that you’re open for business again.
Be prepared. Organise stock and implement efficient processes in your warehouse or stock room, so when orders come in it’s easy to fulfil them.
Establish and maintain great relationships with your courier companies to quickly get new orders out, although remember that there will likely be delays at first. Consider offering Click & Collect or contactless pickup options as an alternative to delivery, so that customers can receive their orders faster. Update your website with different delivery options too, so customers have choice based on price and convenience.
Communicate any delays (expected or actual) to your customers via website banners and social media channels to manage their expectations. Once orders have left your warehouse, keep customers informed with branded tracking pages and delivery notifications.
Preparing for Alert Level 2
Alert Level 2 will bring with it much more freedom for businesses. However, there will still be a lot of restrictions that haven’t been definitively outlined by the government yet. During Alert Level 3, retailers will want to prepare as much as they can for Alert Level 2, without dropping focus on the ‘now’.
The more time you can save on manual tasks, the more time you’ll have to plan ahead. Teach and empower staff to manage your day-to-day operations so you can spend more time strategizing how to smash the effects of COVID-19 head-on.
How Starshipit could help
Fulfilment automation software system like Starshipit streamlines the shipping and fulfilment process. It integrates with the eCommerce and online platforms, and courier companies that you’re already using so everything talks to each other at the same time, making it faster and easier to allocate orders to couriers and get them out quickly and efficiently.
Starshipit saves retailers hours of time and hassle, so they can focus their human resource on other things. Bulk-print shipping labels, packing slips and documentation; automatically correct invalid addresses so even if your customer entered the wrong details they’ll still get their order; automatically assign parcels to couriers depending on rules you’ve set; and automatically send your customers notifications at every step of the delivery journey.
Start your FREE 30-day trial today
Alert Level 3 is only a few days away and retailers need to hit the ground running.
Interested in finding out how fulfilment automation could add value to your business, especially during Alert Level 3? Sign up for a FREE 30-day trial with Starshipit and make life much easier as you navigate a new way of trading.