How to Create a Business Continuity Plan for Online Stores

Posted on:
March 20, 2020
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How to Create a Business Continuity Plan for Online Stores
KDCI Outsourcing
September 6, 2023

Since the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous businesses have been struggling to maintain production and come up with their business continuity plan. While lockdowns and quarantines are necessary, you may be worried about the health and livelihood of your employees and your family.

Operations Continuity Plan for Online Businesses

business continuity plan papers and a laptop on a business table

Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, online businesses have a chance to continue operating amidst the pandemic with the help of a business continuity plan. As people are advised to stay at home, this has caused a surge in online shopping, as people took to going online for their needs instead of going out.Even Amazon saw this opportunity and had to hire 100,000 new employees, both part-time and full, just to keep up with the surge of online purchases. Here’s how you can do the same.

Step 1: Evaluate Your Current Business Situation

First step in your continuity plan is the assessment of your business situation. Gather your team — preferably online — check on them and make sure everyone is alright and well. If anyone is showing symptoms, urge them to self-isolate and follow safety measures, especially if they’ve been exposed to an infected person.After being a good leader, it’s time for business.Evaluate the current status of every part of your business. Determine the financial, operational, and physical standing of your company.Check your inventory, confirm that your supply chain is intact (i.e. with manufacturers, etc), coordinate with your shipping carriers to see the status of their operations. Make preparations to ensure that critical business operations are still being met.You should be prepared to make adjustments such as finding alternative suppliers and manufacturers, and other distribution channels as part of your business continuity plan.

Step 2: Determine Your Recovery Priorities

In the midst of a crisis, you have to be keen on where your finances go so you have to determine your recovery priorities. Incorporating your finance management in your business continuity plan will help you minimize further losses and find how you will recover whatever you have already lost.Most experts predict that the economy will rebound later in the year, while others say that the market will bottom out long after the peak of the pandemic. Regardless, it’s important to have a plan of attack on how to keep your business afloat.If things come to a head and you’re considering wage cuts and staff layoffs but can’t afford to lose those positions, you can consider outsourcing to other countries for a cheaper option.

Step 3: Decide on Non-critical Tasks to Outsource

As the pandemic progresses, some of your teams may already be paralyzed or you might have to build another team for other areas of recovery. However, you may not currently have the capacity to expand or hire new people locally, so the best way to tackle this is through outsourcing, where you can take advantage of up to 60% savings on labor costs.As part of your business continuity plan, start determining the tasks that you need to outsource. Most likely, you may need more help with customer service emails, chat support, or social media, but you can also outsource tons of work, including:

  • Product Photo Editing
  • Graphic Design
  • Data Entry
  • QA and testing of website features
  • Content Creation
  • Digital Marketing
  • Website Design and Development
  • Product Information Management

Step 4: Find the Right Outsourcing Partner to Help

Now that you’ve determined the tasks that you want to outsource, you need someone to do it to complete and make your business continuity plan materialize.The best, safest, and easiest way to outsource this is through an outsourcing company. Through them, you can guarantee security and quality of work, as they already have experience and an established structure to handle clients such as yourself.Before choosing an outsourcing company, research their expertise.It’s best to partner with an Ecommerce specialist, as they’re most likely to have all the services you need. Maximizing their services is less of a hassle since you only have to communicate with one company.Contact an Outsourcing Company Today

Step 5: Construct a Detailed Project Brief, Timeline, and Deadline

Before you sign a contract with an outsourcing company, communicate every detail of the work that needs to be done. Schedule a meeting and talk about the offshore team, the project, the quality of work, timelines, and deadlines.This is a crucial stage in your business continuity plan because your outsourcing partner needs to know your expectations. Sometimes, this is also where misunderstandings can arise, so you have to be clear with your terms and conditions.Outsourcing companies like ours will provide you with flexible terms and customized solutions. We want to know your goals and objectives, and with that, we recommend actions on how we’ll get you there.Before you read through the proceeding steps, you can contact us right now for inquiries and we’ll get to you as soon as possible.

Step 6: Review Order Fulfillment Process

Once you’ve settled with all the tasks you can outsource and already have someone to fulfill them, you can easily focus your business continuity plan on on-the-ground procedures like your order fulfillment process.Here are the points you need to review:

  • Inventory Receiving
  • Inventory Storage
  • Order Processing
  • Delivery
  • Returns Handling

If you have a third-party shipping partner or fulfillment warehouse to assist you, it’s best if you communicate with them to know their strategies regarding the pandemic.

Step 7: Arrange Safety Measures for Delivery Process

You can skip this step in your business continuity plan if you have a shipping partner since they will have separate terms or strategies for shipping.However, if you have a warehouse and a delivery team, you have to arrange safety measures for them in your business continuity plan, such as social distancing and enhanced cleaning and sanitation. Find ways on how to keep your employees safe; you can’t afford the coronavirus to spread in your company as you might be forced to stop operations entirely.

Step 8: Schedule Web Conferences

While executing your business continuity plan, schedule web conferences with your teams — both internal and outsourced — for updates or further strategies.Having scheduled web conferences is a good way to manage your teams if you have them working remotely. Moreover, it helps boost remote employee morale as conferences make them feel they’re part of the team.

Step 9: Make an Announcement

There wouldn’t be a business to continue if your customers don’t know you’re still running. Therefore, you have to inform them that you’re still active and ready to serve them.In your business continuity plan, you can choose to write an article or press release that talks about your business continuity strategies or adjustments that will occur in light of the pandemic. Additionally, you can also create a social post or a simple banner in your mobile store app for a brief announcement.Here’s how we did ours: KDCI’s Full Production Gameplan Amidst COVID-19

Step 10: Setup Progress Reports

Finally, to streamline your business continuity plan efforts as you move forward, you will need to set up progress reports, especially since almost everyone is working remotely.You can choose to have weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly reports, depending on the team and what you need from them. More often, our Ecommerce clients opt for weekly progress reports, since a lot of them outsource their data processing and management to us.

Your Online Business Can Survive COVID-19

an outsourced asian business continuity manager smiling at the camera

Through business continuity plan and management, your online store can survive this pandemic. As long as you put your priorities in line and have a good team to back you up, everything should run smoothly.If you’re looking for an outsourcing partner to help you build an effective business continuity plan, don’t hesitate to contact us! We’d be more than happy to help you keep your online store running during and after COVID-19.

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