As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold and evolve every day, there is a collective sense of uncertainty that both consumers and businesses are grappling with.

Consumer behavior is shifting to prioritize essential items over non-essential items and their need for transparency is greater than ever. eCommerce businesses are in a particularly unique position – while much of the economy remains in flux, eCommerce is one of the few areas that is still experiencing growth. In fact, as consumers become increasingly reliant on eCommerce to get the goods and services they need, new sectors are starting to see unexpected spikes in sales.

While retailers and brands take on the challenges of trying to manage new customers and retain existing ones during these uncertain times, one thing is certain – communication is key to maintaining customer confidence.

Shift in year over year growth

According to Metapack data, some of the industries that are seeing the biggest growth in volume year over year include Health and Beauty (91%), Sports Retail (63%), and Children’s Toys, Clothing and Equipment (53%). On the other hand, some of the more traditionally strong industries like Fast Fashion remain relatively flat at 5% growth while Fashion Retail has declined by 22%. These numbers will continue to fluctuate as stay-at-home orders remain in place and the availability of goods changes daily.

Make your communications crystal clear

Despite all the uncertainty, there is still an opportunity for retailers and brands to boost confidence and brand loyalty by providing their customers with the clarity and direction they need. Communicating with customers at every stage of their shopping journey is nothing new but during uncertain times, it becomes even more critical for companies to provide insight, particularly at the post-purchase stage. 85% of consumers say if their delivery is delayed or canceled due to COVID-19, they expect to receive proactive and transparent communication directly from the retailer. Further, 78% of consumers said that their perception of a brand won’t be negatively impacted if a company provides the expected information. It’s simple but effective: create messaging for your customer that clearly communicates where their order is in the delivery journey and if there is a disruption, act quickly to let them know.

Look beyond emails to communicate to your customer

Even if you send emails and SMS texts so customers can track their order, given the current climate, you should actually expect an increase in those “where is my order” calls. So, while you can’t completely reduce WISMO calls during this time, you should look beyond the traditional communication methods of email or SMS and create other avenues for your customer to get information on their orders. For instance, you can leverage the “My Account” section on your website and embed tracking information to enable more self-service options.

It’s not understood how long the uncertainty of COVID-19 will go on for, but until then, retailers and brands must step up as a trusted partner for their customers and provide the level of communication and clarity that is necessary to maintain brand confidence.