Despite how much you may have loved that little coffee shop in the centre of town, it may have been near impossible for it to survive the effects of COVID-19. Small businesses who were once reliant on in-person shopping have been hit extremely hard. This can be due to an absence of an online site or mobile app, knowledge on ways of promoting themselves, or even efficient methods of catering to their customers in digital ways.
That being said, an array of industries including hospitality, retail, entertainment, and FMCG have all reported a decline in employment by 50% as well as sales being down by 52%. So, how exactly should small companies deal with the aftermath of a crisis? A helpful solution would be to adapt and learn to pivot their businesses in accordance with the pandemic.
Ways to Improve Business Strategy During Crisis
As a small business, you may be questioning: How do I pivot my business? Or what exactly does it mean for businesses pivoting during COVID? A boutique company during these times has the best chance of survival by readjusting their business strategies, ways of reaching consumers, and prioritising the use of all things digital. Below is a list of 9 possible solutions for struggling businesses:
Cater to Consumer Needs – Despite what industry your brand operates within, your business should pivot to meet customer needs during this crisis. Brands such as Steve Madden, once strictly selling shoes, have added masks to the list of available retail products to buy. With everyone needing a mask now, Steve Madden has successfully added a desired product, potentially enticing people to shop their store with the bonus of purchasing a necessity.
Retail Curbside Pickup – Retail stores offering curbside pickup has offered a safe and functional method of customers picking up packages and their newly bought purchases. Many consumers are still wary of shopping in-person, therefore being able to shop online and drive to the nearest store location has significantly reduced the risk of infection and is free in comparison to home delivery methods. As for your own business, this is a great feature to highlight and promote to your consumers to help attract sales by providing safe circumstances for all.
Utilise Manufacturing Buildings – Regardless of the size of your building and its place of manufacture, renting out space for producing essential items such as masks, scrubs, and gowns has been a highly successful business approach to keep revenue flowing. Not only are businesses pivoting during COVID but they’re helping communities and health workers stay safe from the dangers of the pandemic.
Create an Online Shop or App – Many small, local shops don’t have any form of online store or little experience with social media platforms to help promote their products and services. This is why taking the time to create these platforms could potentially help with increasing visibility and make it easier for customers to shop during COVID-19. Especially relating to smaller businesses, utilising free services such as Appypie, Wix, or WordPress, can offer you a free step-by-step process to making your own mobile app or website.
Promote Your Business – Consumers have been turning to the internet for all their shopping needs and it’s important to heavily promote your business online due to this increased usage. For example, reaching out to your local community whether it be through Facebook groups or local group pages and posting about your company can attract people to your shop, products, or services. Simply stating that you are open for business may be enough to pull your locals together and help support your business.
Sales and Offerings – A great way to build sales and entice consumers to shop your site could be through offerings and sales. Customers that may have been on the fence when it came to buying a couple of new things could solidify the deal with offerings such as free shipping or a good discount.
Collaborate – By collaborating with other brands, it can create successful results by bringing two different audiences together as one. By collaborating with others, this can essentially double your traffic and audience, in turn creating a larger overall potential customer base. This method could even be approached by joining forces with an influencer that fits within your own brand’s messaging and promotes products to a target group likely already interested in your specific products.
Deepen Loyalty – Through different platforms, showing consumers that you support them and stand behind them during the pandemic can create a transparent and trustworthy relationship between both parties. Working on deepening loyalty can also lead to the constant support of customers even amidst the hardships of COVID-19.
Experiment With Your Brand – This is a time where your small business can redefine itself and potentially create something great. Whether it’s rebranding yourself or upgrading your online presence, the pandemic has opened new doors for businesses to explore and reposition themselves. Despite the worries of failing, being able to test out different strategies to see what is and isn’t working will help establish your business more effectively.
From all these points, the one common factor that all small businesses should adhere to is the swiftness of taking on each approach and pivoting. The Coronavirus has brought about rapid changes in consumer behaviour, meaning that your business will have to tackle each strategy head-on to achieve the best results.
Times are changing and businesses of all sizes will need to adapt and reconstruct themselves accordingly. At a quick pace, pivoting a company’s business strategy can help save a brand battling Covid’s effects, as well as set up smart practices that will remain effective once the world begins to return to a state of somewhat normality.
Originally published here