During a global pandemic, the concept of normalcy goes out the window. When or if we will ever be able to take “business as usual” for granted again is an open question. In the meantime, the only way for your company to rise above these crazy times is by proactively taking steps to promote adaptability and agility.
Take another look at who you are marketing to.
In recent months, economic constraints (combined with health and family concerns) have brought about significant changes in both who is shopping, and which products and services they are interested in buying. In other words, the people you marketed to pre-pandemic may not be the same ones you need to reach now. Therefore, it is imperative that you take action to understand your customers and their changing needs.
Luckily, you can leverage sales and marketing analytics to gain an updated picture of which products are flying off your shelves and who is buying them. Don’t forget about social media either, since it can give you important info about what your customers love, what they want more of, and what they are no longer interested in spending their precious dollars to buy.
Implement changes in line with the pandemic.
Health and safety have never been more important, particularly if a business is to continue receiving foot traffic. To that end, revamp your physical space as much as possible to promote social distancing. Provide hand sanitizer throughout your shop, and be sure to align yourself with the face covering mandates of your local area.
Another effective way to cater to customers during the pandemic is to upgrade the way you accept payments. If you’re like most small business owners, you probably already take credit and debit cards and have a modern point-of-sale (POS) system that also assists you with inventory, bookkeeping, and customer relations. Now might be the time to further enhance that solution by incorporating contactless payments into your operation.
By doing so, you will quickly recognize several benefits. Most important, touchless payments allow customers to buy items without the danger of spreading contaminants via touching equipment or handling cash. The process is also faster than fumbling for coins and bills. Thanks to tokenization and encryption technology, customers’ sensitive credit card data remains safe from hackers.
Don’t forget about your employees.
Of all the things that the coronavirus has revolutionized, the way people do their jobs may be the most profound. Even if your retail business formerly only served customers on an in-person basis, that may need to change if you are to survive. For some workers, this might involve pivoting to taking orders by phone. For others, it may involve working remotely from home.
You might also consider accommodating health-conscious customers by providing curbside pickup and even home delivery. This may require you to make modifications in the job descriptions of your staff and could be logistically tricky in the beginning. However, if there is anything that these times have taught us, it’s that flexibility is a crucial trait for businesses to have. If you can demonstrate it, your chances of surviving, and even thriving are magnified.
As a business owner, you are already accustomed to rolling with the unexpected. Although you may never have dreamed that conditions would be as unpredictable as they may appear right now, there is no time like the present to rely on your creativity and resilience. Be nimble now, and you stand a good chance of flourishing long after COVID-19 is in our rearview mirror.