The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more digital world and triggered changes in business operations. While the majority of retailers were forced to stop their in-store sales, the emergency of switching to online sales occurred. However, quite a big number of unsatisfied Georgian customers proves that many Georgian companies have failed to switch to online operations. BMG has looked at the main mistakes of Georgian retailers while running a business remotely.
“I ordered a Canon photo camera, worth GEL 2, 000 from Elit Electronics as a New Year gift on Dec 26. The order should have been delivered within 2-3 days. However, the company has broken a deadline. I received feedback from them only on Dec 31 and was told that my order would be delivered only after the holidays,” says Nini Sanikidze, 34.
Sanikidze has immediately canceled her order, the confirmation of which has been sent to her only on Jan 2. “I was not even sure that the cancelation was put into force, since I did not have an official notification and was still worried not to receive this order,” she told, adding that the refund of the payment took several days.
Online shopping of Georgian companies has been a subject of criticism by Georgian PM, Giorgi Gakharia, who said: “Unfortunately, in many cases, it is easier to order any item from another continent in Georgia than to order it from a store on a neighboring street and easily receive a purchased item”.
Founded in 2006, one of the leading flower sales companies, flowers.ge launched its online store in 2007. While the majority of companies were complaining about sales drop during the pandemic, flowers.ge managed to increase its sales via an online store. BMG asked Flowers,ge to share its experience of building a successful online business.
“The global pandemic has caused significant challenges to businesses. Our company also almost completely switched to online sales and improved this service even more. In our experience, amid excessive demands, it is necessary to mobilize more couriers to fulfill orders smoothly. We have several couriers in regular staff and a number of supernumeraries. Consequently, by adding reserve couriers we deliver the ordered goods to the customer as soon as possible. Timely delivery service along with quality product has led to our success in terms of online sales,” said Tamaz Imnadze, Marketing Director at Flowers.ge.
In order to succeed in online business, Imnadze suggests to other companies to “develop courier services, to have a quick response and to strictly control the quality and timely delivery of the product”.
The five biggest mistakes of running a delivery service - has been recently sorted out by Founder’s Guide, an entrepreneurial hub fostering the increase of startups, which incorporated: a. not having enough drivers - to make certain that you can deliver any item requested by a customer within a guaranteed time limit, you must employ enough drivers. Too many delivery companies make the mistake of not hiring enough because they can’t afford the payrolls. But you’ll lose business in the long-term and be unable to grow if you don’t invest in enough drivers from the offset. b. Not using proof-of-delivery (PoD) apps - with a PoD app, your delivery drivers can perform two key things: they can capture a signature for the delivery, and they can capture a photograph of where the item has been left; c. Not securing items in transit – a delivery service transports items of all kinds, and many items will be fragile. It is, therefore, imperative that your staff and drivers handle every parcel with the utmost care; d. Not Insuring Properly - premises and liability insurance, and also drivers insurance are recommended; e. Not training staff correctly - you will need to teach them things like handling parcels correctly and handling situations with unhappy customers. If you don’t train your staff correctly, you’ll be making a big mistake.