The COVID-19 outbreak is turning out of control, with new updates flying in every minute. The situations are turning chaotic and worrisome for every sector of life. Even businesses didn’t saw this crisis coming at such a scale, so they couldn’t prepare for it. The pandemic effect on the business world has already begun to appear. The rising curves of the infected and death rates with each passing day are giving rise to the number of challenges for the businesses.
Several states have imposed mandatory business shutdowns and advised people to maintain social distancing. Approximately, 30% of value-added activities are being stopped and if the same is continued for three months, 7.5% of GDP will disappear this year.
Another report by the National Federation of Independent Business Research Center stated that only one-quarter of small business owners said that pandemic has affected them. However, most of them are worried about future disruptions during this escalating crisis. In these uncertain times, we’re doing everything in our power to help and offer guidance to businesses around the world.
In the same queue, we have come forward with some of the best strategies businesses can adapt to combat COVID-19. While some of these ideas will help you inject cash flow, there are others to improve your sales online. Overall, ensuring your business stays immune to the pandemic.
1. Offer discounts to clear the stock
Customers being confined to four walls are in no mood to buy non-essential items very soon. The decline in demand for such items will lead to increase of deadstock. To avoid this challenge, plan right now. You can either sell stock at a heavy discount or give it away as a gift with purchase. The other way could be to donate the same to charity, in exchange for a tax write-off. Ultimately, this will help to clear the deadstock, bring in some cash flow, and make room for essential products that are in-demand.
2. Use technology to its best
The pandemic has caused severe disruptions. Today customers seek a sense of normalcy and it is vital for businesses to help try catering the same. One thing brick and mortar businesses can do for the same purpose is switching offline to online. Having your online presence through business apps and website gives you customers an easy way to reach you. Customers can easily order whatever they need that too without stepping out of their home. Also with your own delivery solution, you will be able to serve them right at their doorstep. In all, it keeps your business going well and prevents the spread of the deadly virus, giving you a win-win solution.
3. Look for government assistance
Governments across the globe are doing their best to help people and businesses, altogether. Hence, you can seek help from the authorities to get cash back into your business, through some new plans or low-interest loans. In fact, you can benefit from the emergency funding for business loan deferment and protection from eviction.
4. Create gift cards
If you are running a business with thin margins, then this strategy comes to your rescue. By selling gift cards you can expect an immediate infusion of cash, as these ensure that a customer will return in the future. You can also collaborate with other local businesses and plan for co-marketing opportunities to acquire new customers.
Pro Tip: You must consider a digital gift card program to reduce the risk of human contact. Plus, you can easily use it for your social media and email marketing campaigns.
5. Plan a pre-order scheme
The world has taken a hit due to coronavirus. However, the good thing is that people are standing in solidarity with each other. While many offline businesses are turning online to serve their customers at doorstep, customers to understand that it’s a challenging time for retailers as well. There are different community-based initiatives being taken to support small businesses. Amid this, a simple approach can be to directly ask customers to pre-order some of the popular products. And they can help to maintain the cash flow by either by paying a deposit or upfront. You can convey this scheme to all your customers through a broadcast message.
6. Focus on sensitive marketing
The time is crucial for everyone and it is definitely going to take a longer for things to be back on track. Therefore, brands need to adapt more sensitive messaging to keep their consumers buying. You might have to rethink on your advertising plan and put a pause to certain campaigns. Try to adjust the ads in a way to speak on the realities of the pandemic and the ways to deal with the same. This post from Zomato Gold is one such example to go ahead.
7. Implement a longer return & exchange
Customers don’t want to spend much on the things they could survive without for the time being. But businesses can encourage them to buy making them more comfortable with extended return and exchange policy. This will help boost loyalty for your brand and incentivize online sales.
8. Bring social media to rescue
While most of your customers have opted for self-isolation, they are investing most of their time on social media channels. You can stay connected and communicate your sale message through social media. Build empathetic and creative experiences to sustain your loyal customers today and forever. These posts from Swiggy serve to be a nice example.
9. Reach out your high-value customers
The Pareto Principle, also known as 80-20 business rule, states that maximum of your revenue comes from the 20% of your customers. It is the right time to connect with these high-value customers and generate more sales for your business. You can send the text message or email, with some personalized recommendations and lookbooks having some links to purchase online. In fact, you can also use live chat to replicate the 1:1 personalized experience.
10. Make shipping free (or allow local pickup and delivery)
Next, you can make lives easier and encourage online shopping by removing the shipping costs. Customers are taking every step to save money during this economic downturn. Providing free shopping or giving local customers an option to buy online and pick up in-store (if it is allowed) can help. Majority of brands have brought this into practice, including Doordash and Postmates.
We understand business owners are having a hard time to adjust with the disruption caused due to coronavirus spread. Besides the different strategies listed above, we are working 24/7 to come up with the solutions to help you navigate through this time. Whether you need an expert’s advice or want to launch your business online, get in touch right away.
April 11, 2020