With the current global pandemic, racial discussions, and political turmoil, brick and mortar small businesses are suffering most. Sadly, many have closed their doors forever, restaurants, salons, service industries, and many retail shops. Our heart aches for the businesses that were forced into bankruptcy. While Samson Virtual Marketing luckily has survived, it has suffered loss as well. When you think about the events centers that were canceled, logistics companies that came to a halt, and retail shops that couldn’t sell their items or they were deemed “non-essential”, it trickled down to us.
Although we are technologically adjusted and adaptable to the digital realm, many small and large businesses have mastered face-to-face interactions, with relationships solidly built on communication and customer loyalty. One thing that technology can never replace is the human aspect and relationships. How can you achieve both during this partial-lockdown in most parts of the country and help sustain your business?
Announce on all Platforms Effect of COVID-19 on Your Industry
It is essential to maintain business continuity during this unpredictable time. Companies that already had an online presence online and authority ranking and e-commerce abilities can keep their businesses afloat. We see that the majority of industries impacted are customer-facing, with lots of restaurants and retail shops, bars, and events center temporarily shutting doors. This time is necessary to announce the effects that COVID-19 and be transparent with the current state of your business and offer solutions or updates on operations. Posting updates online, a banner at the top of your website, or an email would help alleviate panic and provide comfort to your customers. Please don’t leave them hanging, be as open as possible; they will want to support your business during this time. Being proactive and informing your customer of changes before the customer visits your location will provide excellent customer service, and keep the customer informed.
Start Using Facebook Marketplace to Sell Your Products
Since the pandemic, most businesses had to close their doors; there has been a drastic increase in user activity and engagement on all relevant social media platforms. All of those products that you have sitting on the shelf act now, start taking pictures and working on product descriptions and sell on Facebook Marketplace. Putting your inventory on your website in tandem will help you with your sales, then utilizing Facebook Marketplace, adding the link to your website, will help you get traffic and organically build SEO.
Call your Past and Previous Clients and Offer a Mobile or Virtual Option
Any good small business has a loyalty program or records of customer information. The customers that are loyal patrons are happy to provide that without a blink of an eye, and with proper legal consent. Having your products online and Facebook Marketplace, be sure to call your customer and announce it, especially knowing that most customers who shop at your brick and mortar tend to have the “old-fashioned” approach to the shopping experience. Offer the new website and Facebook buying option and let them know you are adapting to the changes as well. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and let them know you are struggling; your most loyal customers will want to share your links on their social media pages or via texting. Learning how to use Zoom, you can also sell your products from your location, offering the customer a virtual shopping experience, where they get to choose the items as you walk their items to the register and ring them up. Offering a delivery service, or curbside pick-up option, you now empowered your customer to shop using yourself or a staff member to handle the retail experience. The customer feels like they have their normal shopping experience, can ask questions along the way, and can upsell if you want (you won’t have to, though, the customer will want to support you, rest assured!). Win/win.
Start Recording Videos of Your Products and Post Online
Not all of us are gifted in selling or feeling confident on video; most of us dread it…..Now is the time to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something creative. What do you have to lose? EVERYTHING! As blunt as it may seem, this is true. If you don’t try something new, you have the unfortunate high chance of bankruptcy now more than ever, this pandemic is lasting longer than we thought, and it seems like it will be a long road to some level of normalcy. After you have gotten a website and social media platforms, start using your cell phone or if you have the budget for it, a professional videographer, to make videos of you announcing your products. Each video should be less than 1 minute in duration, with a strong call to action to purchase using your website or direct link to a payment option. Above all, don’t lose hope, we are in this together, and Samson Virtual Marketing has your back! If you need marketing consulting, we are offering a free 30-minute professional marketing consulting session for struggling businesses. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.