21 April 2021
The COVID19 pandemic has had a drastic impact on every industry. The retail industry was among those hit the hardest. As venturing outside quite literally became the difference between life and death, retail outlets were forced to shut down as governments across the globe struggled to get a grip on the virus.
Even businesses that had a robust online presence before the pandemic hit struggled. As millions of people lost their jobs and faced economic uncertainty, they significantly cut back on personal spending in an effort to weather the storm.
Small businesses were particularly at a disadvantage. A study conducted by MIT found that small business revenue in the United States dropped by almost 40% in March 2020 compared to a year earlier.
These economic considerations ultimately forced governments to try and strike a balance between the urgent need to support businesses and the public health measures required to control the spread.
A year later, things are finally looking up. Multiple COVID vaccines have been approved by regulators and millions of people, particularly those extremely vulnerable, have already received the jabs. Economic experts are now of the view that rapidly vaccinating the population is key for a return to a more “normal” economy.
This is echoed by health professionals including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ leading authority on infectious diseases who believes that the early stages of herd immunity can be achieved by late spring or the summer if the vaccination drive continues at pace.
The post-COVID business environment is going to be a lot different. Businesses will need to adapt to these changes if they not only want to survive but thrive. These are the five things that every business should be doing right now in order to increase sales as the world gradually opens up again.
#1 Increase brand awareness for your business
After being in quarantine for the better part of an entire year, you’ll need to forgive prospective customers if they no longer remember that your business exists. That is why it’s so crucial to increase brand awareness for your business in the post-COVID environment.
As a result of people staying indoors, customers are spending more time on online platforms than ever before. Leverage this to increase brand awareness by advertising on social media networks and through Google Ads.
Reach your desired audiences through the incredible targeting tools offered by these platforms. Get the word out about your business and increase the chances of getting more prospects in your sales pipeline.
#2 Let sales data guide decisions about new products
The pandemic has changed customers’ spending habits for good. It’s quite possible that some of your products may no longer do as well as they did in the past. Informed decisions will thus need to be made before updating the product lineup.
Take a deep dive into the sales data for the past year and a half. This insight will help you realize what your customers no longer want and what they want to purchase now. Adjust your product lineup accordingly. Use this information to make strategic growth decisions on new products.
#3 Enhance the e-commerce experience
E-Commerce was growing rapidly even before the pandemic hit. Online sales skyrocketed during it. COVID19 has contributed an additional $105 billion in online revenue for businesses in the US last year.
This is only going to grow further in the post-COVID economy. It is vital for businesses that already have an e-commerce strategy to further enhance the experience for their customers. Those that haven’t yet made the switch to e-commerce are quite frankly setting themselves up for failure.
Take initiatives like improving online store layouts and customer service, offer incentives for online purchases, and more to provide an elevated online shopping experience.
#4 Invest in improving SEO
Since people remain apprehensive of going outside unless absolutely necessary, investing in improving the SEO for your online presence will help bring in more sales. A lot more people are searching online for information about the products they want to purchase.
It’s a great way to cater to local customers in particular. Consumers are actively looking to support local businesses and are structuring their search queries accordingly.
This presents a great opportunity for businesses that can quickly capitalize on these changing consumer search behaviors to ensure that their website or online store gets prime position in search results.
#5 Generate goodwill through community support initiatives
Customers want the businesses that they support to have socially conscious values now more than ever before. Launching community support initiatives is a great way to generate goodwill for the business and increase customer trust.
It will go a long way in customer retention and will also stand out as a positive element for prospective customers who may make their purchase decisions contingent on the business holding the same values.
Complacency has no place in the post-COVID world
What worked before for a business is not necessarily going to work as the world recovers from the economic shocks caused by COVID. There will be no room for complacency.
Businesses need to take stock of what has happened and how they need to adapt in order to effectively compete in the future. Otherwise, they risk being left behind.