Small business tips: The importance of back up systems on your eCommerce website

As a small business (I’m assuming here that the big guys have this thing covered off) every sale is important and in particular the customer experience and customer journey through every sale.

So imagine your beautiful shiny eCommerce store suddenly can’t take payments and you have customers emailing, sending messages via social media, and phoning up trying to place orders and can’t because there’s a problem with your payment gateway.

Unless you commit to daily tests, it’s unlikely you’ll know there is a problem until your customers start shouting, and also imagine how many just didn’t bother, because they got fed up with the issue on your website and quite simply just (understandable) left and went to purchase elsewhere?

This is exactly what happened to us this week. Monday was a real slump in sales and we’d almost expected it due to the actual physical shops opening after lockdown and in some ways, although it’s always a bit worrying, I thought great, it’s time to catch up on some admin. Then by lunchtime, we’re getting phone calls. emails and messages on Instagram from some super-patient customers (so grateful) who sent very detailed emails about how they’d been trying for ages to purchase and were being sent round in circles.

Here steps in the backup system, which comes in the form of a) having three options for payment on our site (Paypal and Stripe and Sagepay) b) and two over the telephone payment systems, Stripe and Square.

Although time-consuming and a bit frustrating for our customers, we managed to take orders manually over the phone and make a secure payment using either Stripe or Square.

I remember a time when we didn’t have back up systems in place and definitely lost sales, lost customers, in fact, I’m sure we did lose some sales yesterday looking at analytics, but in the short time it took for our tech team to locate and resolve the problem, we were at least able to operate in a semi-professional capacity and bonus, we got to speak to a few of our lovely customers too!

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