These past few months have been a nightmare for local businesses and marketing during pandemic becomes an essential aspect for these businesses to retain customers as people are venturing out but only to buy essential items from the stores closest to them or the ones that are open.
Most countries have also enabled online deliveries, furthering the impact of the pandemic on mom and pop shops and brick and mortar stores.
Consumer behaviour was already evolving rapidly prior to the pandemic, but now, it’s changed altogether.
From fast, easy, and convenient, global brand communications have shifted to contactless, safe, and hygienic just in a couple of months.
And you as a local business owner need to understand what that means.
According to a survey by EY, consumer behaviour in India is changing radically due to the coronavirus. Almost 60% of buyers in the country believe that the pandemic would alter the way they shop.
Most local stores had shut down. The ones that were open had limited their hours and the number of customers that went in at a time. E-commerce, although restricted for 2 months, has swiftly picked back up post lockdown.
Consumer focus is increasingly shifting towards online shopping as people believe online shopping is a safer option than stepping out.
Ecommerce payments are set to record a steep increase of 25.9% in 2020 (Source: Global Data).
Through digital media and millions in marketing funds, online brands have the capability to communicate and regain the trust of their consumers. They are prioritizing sanitation, zero contact deliveries, and much more to maintain the understanding with their audiences whereas local businesses just don’t have the spending to do that.
According to McKinsey & Company, most Indians believe the impact of COVID-19 on their routines and finances will last for more than two to six months. This tells you that people are aware and they are already expecting the change to last for more than a couple of months.
During these challenging times, local businesses need to amp up efforts to survive the slowdown caused by the impact of COVID19. Here are a few ways of how local businesses can leverage marketing during pandemic:
1. The Bulk-Buy Strategy
People at their local stores are lined up for hours to stock products for weeks (or even months). This is because they realize that there is an extreme need to buy this much mostly because of the risk of scarcity. Even though the government has ensured the supply of essential goods, these bulk-buyers are not ready to take any chance.
They are the ones that can be your saviors during a time like this.
You, as a local business owner, should encourage your customers to buy more products in one session. Why?
While they will get benefits of buying in bulk, it can also help you in increasing sales.
So how can you motivate your customers to buy more?
Do that by offering them discounts. For example, 10% off if the order contains more than 15 items.
You can also provide different hunks of prices for such bulk shoppers.
For example, offer a pack of 4 instant noodles for 10% off; a pack of 5 for 15% off; 6 for 20% off, and so on.
2. Incorporate Contactless Delivery
Delivery is no more just a convenience – but a necessity.
Many businesses have now started offering innovative methods of delivering essential items, medicines, and medical equipment to ensure safety and security. This method is called contactless delivery.
For example, Brocklebys is a bakery shop in Melton Mowbray, United Kingdom. They sell a range of handmade artisan savory and sweet pies. Their new PieDrop delivery service is currently offering free delivery in all the nearby counties. The delivery will be made by the doorstep with payment being taken using a selfie-stick. Yes, you read that right.
Incorporating contactless delivery is much more hygienic and safe than all the traditional delivery methods. If not handing out payment at the time of delivery, you can ask them to pay via online banking. This way you’re not only resuming your business during this time but also fulfilling the requirement of social distancing.
Letting your customers know about your contactless delivery methods through various marketing and communication channels can help you regain their trust.
3. Change The Way You Communicate With Your Customers
The time that we are living in currently, it’s hard to expect any personal interactions with your customers – which most local businesses rely on.
One of the main challenges for most of the local businesses now is to maintain consistent and proper communication between them and their customers. Here are some ways you can do that:
- Send Out Emails
When thinking about marketing during pandemic situation, Emails become an important aspect. They help you connect with your current or potential customers, persuading them to engage with your business. Chances are currently, they are thrashed by a wave of these emails from businesses explaining how they are going through with the pandemic.
Most of them remain un-opened because the consumers who are staying at home are less likely to sympathize or want to read about what’s going on with your business.
Currently, they are looking to kill time. See how you can help them with this. For example, if you own a local coffee shop you can send out an email sharing recipe of how to make coffee pudding with just 4 ingredients. Your customers will love to hear that.
- Start using social media
Another important aspect of marketing during pandemic situation is social media. With companies of all sizes under threat of coronavirus, various social media platforms have announced several new features to back them up.
These include “Shops” by Facebook, where you can create your own digital store-front on the platform displaying your products and services. The feature is different from the already existing “Facebook Marketplace” as it aims at businesses to completely establish their online retail store.
Instagram too, released stickers to help local businesses make sales during a time like this. These come in different forms including, gift-cards, food-orders, and fundraisers which users can share on their stories.
- Try out Different Offline Messaging
You can also connect with your customers offline via flyers or notices around the store-front to show them that you’re still within reach.
These are the times where we should stand united and help one another in whatever way we can while also ensuring safety and security. You as a consumer can also participate by supporting your favourite coffee shop, or dressing boutique so that they don’t go out of business.
Like all difficult situations, this too shall pass! It has to.
So here’s how local businesses can leverage marketing during pandemic situation. Any local business owners in your network that have been trying other ways? Help out, mention them in the comments below!
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