As the country slowly assesses the damage done by the current pandemic, one thing is becoming glaringly clear: small businesses have been the hardest hit. According to McKinsey and Company’s recent report, 25 to 36 percent of small businesses could close their doors as a result of the disruptions from Covid-19. The loss of income and increased financial volatility that the pandemic has introduced have proven to be too much for many small business owners. Now, as many small businesses struggle to survive and rebuild, a large part of their strategy will focus on getting customers through the door – both literally and figuratively. For those businesses, employing the right moves to encourage foot traffic again will essentially prove to be the make or break of their future.
Make Customer Communications A Priority
One thing is clear during the pandemic: shoppers want to be reassured. Clear and constant updates with your customer list will keep them updated on your progress and any changes to business operations, such as the new service of curbside pickup, appointment-based systems, or modified opening hours.
Email marketing and social media announcements are also a great cost-effective way for small businesses to communicate the changes they are making to keep customers safe during these uncertain times. By providing detailed, actionable information on your plans post reopening, such as store capacity control and regular deep cleanings, customers can begin to feel safe shopping in-store again, and small businesses can begin to rebuild customer trust.
Invest In A Professional Niche Website Design
Another thing that has been highlighted during the pandemic is the rapid shift to online shopping for customers – and just how important it is for small businesses to have an online presence to survive. In April 2020, eCommerce sales increased 49 percent, while eCommerce grocery sales jumped by 110 percent, according to data released by Adobe Analytics. This preference of shopping online instead of in-store is slated to continue for the foreseeable future.
Therefore, it is now more important than ever that small businesses invest in a professionally designed eCommerce website and platform, particularly since in-person sales continue to be affected. This also aids small businesses to continue trading in times where they may have had to close their store premises, shift to online sales, or are involved in a trade where a physical store is not needed. For instance, independent contractors like roofers can benefit from well-designed roofing websites by using them as a marketing, communication tool, and virtual storefront. Lastly, a business website can also be used to rebuild customer trust – crucial in times where many customers remain skeptical. With the help of testimonials and reviews, a well designed and targeted website can add creditability to your small business.
Re-engage Customers With Personalized Loyalty Discounts And Promotions
Finally, encourage customers and repeat purchases with the use of personalized discounts and offers for returning customers. It is more cost-effective to retain customers than to acquire new ones. Also, past customers are some of the best word-of-mouth marketing tools a small business can have.
In these times when many small businesses find themselves financially challenged, choosing low-cost tactics will be paramount to keeping their finances intact. The pandemic has also affected customer finances negatively in many cases. Therefore, discount offers can resound well with customers who are now looking to save money on their shopping habits.
Also, small businesses should not underestimate the power of social media. During the pandemic and resulting shutdown, the time spent online by consumers has increased tenfold, and with approximately 79 percent of Americans having social media profiles, the chances of connecting with customers on social media are dramatically increased. While it will take some time and adjustment of strategy as time moves on, small businesses can withstand this latest blow, and it all starts with perking consumer interest again.