Although most shopping cart systems are up virtually all the time, stuff still happens. Maybe the credit card processor is down…maybe your employee messed things up and now your cart isn’t functioning properly.
First, don’t panic. In the internet world, things go down. Customers understand – as long as they have an alternate means of communicating with you. Is your phone number and e-mail address clearly posted on your website? If not, make sure it is. Often, customers will e-mail you letting you know that they’d like to place an order, and then you can take their credit card number over the phone and not lose the sale.
Have a back-up page ready in case you go down. Prepare a page that can be quickly uploaded in case your shopping cart is down. It should say something like, “We’re sorry, but our shopping cart is currently down. Please e-mail us your order at firstname.lastname@example.org and include your phone number and a representative will contact you shortly to take your order. You may also call us at 1-800-555-5555 to place your order. We apologize for this inconvenience and are currently working to resolve this matter.”
If this page is prepared ahead of time (now is a good time), then it can be uploaded immediately, so you don’t lose orders while the issue is being resolved. This is also a great back-up to have in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster, disgruntled employee mess-up or any other business interruption.