When it was clear that the COVID-19 pandemic was a serious threat, brick-and-mortar stores across the globe closed to in-person traffic. Only essential businesses remained open and even then, offered modified shopping options. One way that many small business owners in the retail industry coped with these circumstances was to expand their online offerings. From online ordering with curbside pickup to enhanced online stores, these options were vital in staying afloat.
As the pandemic has eased, many of these businesses have kept the features they worked so quickly and diligently to develop. However, the needs of customers are changing once again, and it is becoming critical to reassess and adapt. If you’ve been in search of ways to keep your online offerings profitable in this new chapter, explore expert advice from Treva Graves, CEO of Bloom Personal Branding.
Survey your customers
Not sure how your customers feel about the shopping experience you currently provide (both online and in person)? If so, surveying them about various aspects of your business can be an incredibly valuable initiative. Regionally, and across industries, individual shopping patterns can vary significantly. Some people still appreciate curbside pickup, while others no longer desire certain online options.
Start by creating a survey with meaningful and targeted questions that identify what is working and what isn’t. Ask your customers what they want and what they no longer find valuable. Encourage participation by providing an incentive (such as a discount or entry to win a prize) for all customers who complete your shopping experience survey. If you need assistance with creating and distributing a quality survey, work with a marketing agency or marketing professional.
Up your social media strategy
Being innovative with your marketing efforts is arguably more important than ever before. Using social media to enhance relationships and boost sales is still key in reaching and exceeding your revenue goals.
While people have gotten back to in-person activities, they are still using social media in many of the same ways. However, they seek timely, valuable, and positive content far more than they did before the pandemic. That’s why improving your social media marketing strategy right now is key to staying profitable. Instead of posting generic content, deliver an experience. Use video to showcase your products and to demonstrate how desirable and beneficial they are. Post videos to YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram for maximum effect. Also, hosting live online events on social media is another great tool to connect with customers.
Reframe language around online ordering benefits
If you are still using outdated, pandemic-related phrases (such as “contact free” and “social distancing”) on your website, update this language immediately. Most of the services that people sought out during the height of the pandemic are no longer in demand. Their concerns have shifted, and they are now looking ahead to post-pandemic living.
Keep your expanded services relevant (such as curbside delivery) by changing the language you use. Talk about the core benefits these now have, such as saving time and effort — rather than safety. Switching how you talk about your services can generate positive feelings for your customers, and it lets them know that you are aware of their needs and preferences.
Use logistics solutions to continue scaling
Businesses who are continuing to use expanded online offerings may find that there is still a substantial demand. If your online orders continue to grow, creating a plan to scale is a wise move. You can also get help with tasks such as order fulfillment, returns management, packaging, and more when you work with a logistics solutions provider.
Use additional online apps and platforms for added efficiency
Managing a small business is becoming easier than ever before thanks to user-friendly apps and platforms. From your smartphone, you can now update the products on your website, hire staff members and freelancers, create social media graphics, edit product photos, and so much more. The time savings that amounts from the use of these apps and platforms can cut down on hours worked, which leads to even higher profits.
Productivity tip: track your time efficiently by using an online payroll system. Not only does a simplified system for timesheets, issuing paychecks, real-time reporting, and employee tracking make your life less stressful, but it also saves you hours of time.
Rather than overhauling everything you built over the last year, make simple yet intentional changes to how you do business online. Small shifts in language, marketing, and your processes can help your company grow profits as the pandemic begins to ease.
If your leadership style could use a refresh, or if you need some personal brand or digital brand coaching, connect with Treva at Bloom Personal Branding today!