The stage 4 restriction was imposed on last Sunday, starting a further restriction from now to mid-September within metropolitan Victoria. In this new stage, residents are limited in their reasons to go out. In each household per day, only one person can go out to do groceries and two people can do exercise outside, travelling no more than 5km from their home.
With this 6-week restriction, many businesses are forced to close and the majority of Australian workforce is now working from home. Many businesses, including restaurants and retail stores are closed due to the reason that going shopping and eating out is not an essential need.
This was a considerable decision for authorities since this could affect negatively in the economy now and in the future. Businesses are struggling with their operation, because consumers are buying less. A large portion of Australian will lose their job due to this difficult time.
At this tough time, businesses should act on their marketing strategies to maintain and grow during and after the pandemic. I understand that running a comprehensive marketing strategy at this time is expensive and overburden. Here are some “affordable” strategies you can apply to maintain the operation of your business at this time.
Build Ecommerce Website
People can’t go out shopping, but they can buy online.
In fact, online shopping is becoming the dominant now because of its convenience. People are busier. They don’t spend much time in a store to try on clothes or put the lipstick on. They browse products on the internet, through their phone, during lunch or when they are in public transport.
With the development of technology, shopping online is easier than ever. The online shopping website interface is becoming more mobile-friendly and user-friendly, while the check out process is becoming more simple. The good thing is, you don’t need to queue a long line waiting to pay.
For these reasons, it would be a big miss if your retail business doesn't have a website or an app to let users purchase online. Imagine that when people don’t want or can’t shop in your store, how many customers will you lose?
This is the time to make a move. You should invest in your own online store now.
Building an ecommerce website is not quite as expensive as you thought. For a big corporation selling thousands of products, this is a big investment. However, for a local business selling a limited number of products, building a website is a worthy investment. You can either build a website by yourself or you can hire a professional to do the job for you.
If you have some website building background, creating an e-commerce website using a website builder (WordPress, Shopify, ect.) is an easy task. Otherwise, there are many web design agencies that can help you build a custom and user-friendly e-commerce website.
Improve Customer Experience
What if you have an ecommerce website but won’t convert many sales? One explanation can be that your user experience on the website is performing poorly.
You have so much traffic to your site and many visitors view your products, but only few sales are converted. One thing for sure, you need to improve the interface of the website and simplify the purchase process.
Once you have an online store, now is the time to actively promote your website. While in the past, your sales was contributed by both in store sales and online sales; your sales now is relied on online purchase. That means, if your ecommerce website experience is just acceptable, you need to make improvements. Re-organize your website to create a good user interface and user experience will help you stay ahead in this competitive game.
Run Online Advertising
During this social distancing time, people spend more time on social media and the Internet to keep them updated with news. Moreover, they have to switch to online shopping since the stores are closed because of the health concern.
This is a great move to boost your online sales by advertising your products online. When you have a fully functional website, this is the time to expand your online reputation. Advertising will make it easier for customers to reach you.
Advertising is not expensive unless you understand what your customers want and where they are. A good advertising campaign is a campaign that targets the right audience, at the right place and addresses the pain point of customers.
For example, a Facebook advertising campaign promoting gardening tools for urban people who have small space to do gardening. In this situation, people have more time staying at home, they tend to find some activities to do, like building a little garden within their apartment. By giving the right message to the right people who are in need to build a garden, the sales will increase significantly.
One consideration is that audiences are spending less time searching on Google, but that doesn’t mean they’re not online. You should adjust your pay-per-click campaigns on other non-SERP networks, such as Google Display Network and YouTube. Changing conditions means that you should change your online advertising strategy respectively.
Content Marketing on Social Media
An alternative to increase your online presence is regularly posting on social media. This is a good option at this time because social media is free and people spend more time on social media than before.
Regularly posting on social media is an effective way to interact with your customers. You can take advantage of this situation to build brand impressions and increase brand awareness.
There are many kinds of content to be posted on social media, but the most suitable one for this time is engaging content. Engaging content is the content that entices the audience to take some actions, such as share, like, click, comment, ect.
You can create a challenge for your audience and ask them to mention you when they take this challenge. Or, you can run a giveaway and get more comments and tags from social media users. There are so many ways to interact with your audience, the important consideration here is you should “put your feet on your customers’ shoes”. Posting the right content needs you to understand what customers are looking for. When you provide the right message, you can build trust and loyalty from your customers.
Do remember to plan your social media content strategy. A successful social media marketing campaign requires a lot of work involved. That’s why you need to plan ahead to follow the right direction from the beginning and gain success later. A strategic social media plan will help you overcome this difficult time!