How Small Businesses Can Remain Relevant After COVID-19
The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic quickly evolved from a temporary arrangement into a long-term reality. From households to businesses, no party was untouched by the virus’s overwhelming effects.
Small businesses, in particular, struggled to cope. 88% of small business owners in the U.S.exhausted their Paycheck Protection Program loan, according to the10,000 Small Businessesreport by Goldman Sachs.
With vaccinations paving the way for economic recovery, small businesses are also set to experience improved conditions as the year progresses. The pace of economic growth, however, remainshinged on the speed of the rollout.
Keeping these in mind, it is apparent that small businesses still have opportunities to expand during this season. Like the previous year, growth will rely on making strategic moves relevant to the post-pandemic consumer.
Improve Your eCommerce Processes
The pandemic has further emphasized the importance of going online in reaching consumers. Businesses that give way for accessible and efficient online transactions are at an advantage.
Payment options also matter to customers. Cater to the varying preferences of each customer by making card and cash payments available. Consider options for gift giving by allowing customers to pay viacash remittance services, especially if the buyer is overseas.
Pay attention to product packaging, too. Design them in such a way that reflects the core of your business while keeping in mind that consumers are growing morepartial toward eco-friendly products. Wrap products well and work with reliable shipping services to ensure orders do not become damaged in transit.
In addition to versatile payment options, improving eCommerce processes also includes having an easily navigable user interface for your website. Have a clean, straightforward design that shows all pertinent information about a product. Go further by including customer ratings and reviews and further recommendations when visitors are viewing particular products.
Ramp up Your Digital Marketing
Aside from having a strong eCommerce site, your business should also be visible to consumers on social media. Facebook is the most popular social media platform, with upwards of two billion active users monthly. Your small business can reach a larger audience through this channel.
When choosing the platforms where you want to promote your business, go with those that your consumers use often. Once you have determined these, tailor your content to fit each channel. For instance, Instagram is heavy on visuals, so you need to prepare appealing photos and videos for posting on your feed and as stories.
Advertising on these channels will also help your business reach the particular audiences that you want to reach. Review the kinds of content that receive significantly more engagement on your pages and base your future boosted posts on these. High-performing content reveals what your audience prefers to see from your page.
Be Available for Your Customers
Hand in hand with marketing efforts is proactively making your availability known to customers. This includes supplying quick responses to customer queries from your communication channels. Chatbots are helpful for these, as they can provide responses to simple questions while giving more time for customer representatives to reach out.
It also pays to be sensitive to their concerns. Make a habit of studying the behavior of your customers and taking comments and suggestions from them. Knowing these allows your business to reassess its product quality, relevance, and accessibility and respond accordingly.
Despite vaccinations, customers will remain conscious of their safety in the future. Show and explain your COVID-19 guidelines and protocols to your customer base to reassure them of your products’ quality and cleanliness.
Take Care of Your Employees
Small businesses should not only gear themselves toward capturing a wider consumer base. Extend your efforts from external matters to internal concerns, too, to operate efficiently during an economic crisis. Afterward, employees must remain productive.
Research from SaÃ¯d Business School of Oxford University shows that employees who arehappy are 13% more productivethan those who are not. In their study, satisfied workers made more calls and were able to make more sales.
It showed, then, that productivity is not tied to increased work hours. Rather, workers who are content can accomplish more within the time frame provided to them.
Businesses that want to perform well must not only focus their efforts on their customers. They must also ensure employee satisfaction.
Have Realistic Expectations
While businesses are always seeking to innovate and grow, times of crisis have interrupted these goals temporarily. Having a big long-term vision does not have to change. For the time being, however, working within an adjusted budget and empathizing with customers and employees come first.