More likely than not, if you have a business, it has been dramatically affected by the recent Coronavirus pandemic. In order to prevent further spreading of the disease, social distancing and quarantine has become the new norm. This, however, has not been beneficial for many businesses. Without customers walking into their stores, many offlines businesses have seen their revenues drop, and some have even had to close.
Adapt to online marketplace
One way that businesses have learned to cope with such circumstances is through adapting to and embracing a new online marketplace. While in-person shopping and services may be suffering blows right now, online shopping and services are booming like never before. And learning to tap into this market could mean a world of difference for businesses going through troubles. If there has ever been a time for entrepreneurs thinking about growing their online businesses to make it happen, it’s now.
Grow your online sales
First of all, many businesses have begun to use incentives to grow their online sales. Whether it’s through coupons, deals, or free shipping, these incentives can draw a lot of attention to businesses. In fact, one survey found that 56% of customers are interested in the initiatives that brands have put in place during the outbreak. Other businesses have taken the approach of creating offers for free or heavily-discounted services that ease the current situation (like free meditation apps or online yoga instruction) in hopes of increasing brand awareness and of retaining customers after the pandemic and the deal end. However, businesses should always consider the costs of any customer incentives to ensure they don’t outweigh the benefits.
Online meet ups could be helpful
While selling online, businesses can also think about new products or services they can provide their customers. Although the avoidance of close contact might mean fitness classes, restaurant meals, and other in-person activities are no longer possible, these industries have done their best to meet old customer needs through the internet. Exercise classes are being hosted on zoom and restaurants are cooking meals to-go. In this same manner, other businesses that were similarly previously reliant on human interaction should consider what replacements they can offer instead, how they can solve the old customer needs with new methods.
Adapt to the changes by introducing new products!
Another idea to consider is producing something new that caters to new pandemics needs. For example, some businesses have also started selling product bundles that provide at-home entertainment like crafting or cooking kits. While it might mean shifting away from their pre-pandemic mode of operation, businesses should be open to expanding into open niches. And as always, they should feel free to do outreach and simply ask customers what they want.
Everyone is on social media now…
As businesses expand their online practices, social media is one of the top factors to keep in mind. While growing their online practice, businesses should use social media and virtual outreach to engage customers. During the pandemic, reflecting on the current citation (including any struggles) is a way to connect with them. With quality social media handling and interaction, businesses can significantly increase brand awareness, increase consumer trust, and draw in new sales. Some ways stores have taken advantage of social media stores include going live on different platforms to display their wares in lieu of in-person browsing or to show off behind-the-scenes activities and to post on their Instagrams stories with polls and questions. A blog is another means of sharing valuable content with readers, and it can become a reliable, authoritative source of information. Moreover, social media and email are also both very effective ways of marketing.
Optimise your website!
Of course, if their aim is to expand online business, businesses must ensure their website is functional. First, check that the website loads and displays well on both desktop and mobile. Next, make sure it is up-to-date and answers the following questions: Is the business open? If so, at what locations, on what days, and during what hours? Have there been any other changes in pace due to the pandemic? It may even be useful for some businesses to create a Corona FAQ page if the pandemic has created enough uncertainty around their operation. Businesses should also keep their Google Business listing updated with the same important information.
Stay healthy, stay happy
Lastly, aside from concrete changes, business owners should also try to keep within a positive and constructive state of mind to aid themselves, their business, and their community. Although the switch to online business may be abrupt and stressful, taking advantage of new internet shoppers and maximising online sales can result in an expanded market that will last long beyond the pandemic. Additionally, seeing this pandemic as a time to learn a new skill, whether it be related to online business or not, can prove to be useful in both the short and long run. Taking this time as an opportunity to work together with and lean on other businesses within the same industry can provide needed assistance and forge new connections for the future. If a business has the means, a local community or charity focus can also improve brand name, especially as the coronavirus outbreak has created a new sense of responsibility to the community for many people.
All in all, while the shift to online business may have been unexpected, there are still many things businesses can do to make the best out of it and even possibly grow in the proces. Just remember, even small changes matter, meet customer needs, and focus on maintaining building your brand. And, of course, make sure to keep on top of quarantine restrictions as they change and know what they mean for you!