Aside from the staggering loss of life worldwide because of COVID-19, the casualties also include businesses, industries, and entire economies. 2020 so far has been sink or swim for both large and small companies– as of September, almost 100,000 businesses had closed down because of the pandemic.
If you are to survive, you’re going to need to adapt to a massively disputed market. Below, we’ve listed some ways you can reach your customers during the pandemic.
Go online, shift to digital
With people trying to observe social distancing or just generally trying to minimize their exposure, many are now spending time, shopping, and transacting online. Shifting to a digital market is the number one priority for most businesses in 2020. This year alone, e-commerce grew by 20%, a shift that was originally expected to happen in 2025. With that many businesses selling their products and services online, you will need to make sure that 1. You’re also now online, and 2. Your customer base knows you’ve made the shift.
On social media, interacting with customers helps tremendously when it comes to staying connected with them. Provide a few details of what’s been happening and what new business the company has plans for. Reach out and make a connection– people will be glad to hear that you’re still around, and can offer the product or service they got before the pandemic.
Do your market research
As everyone tightens their belts for a recession, companies are looking to cut down on costs. However, be careful that as you cut out the fat from your operations, that you don’t also cut into the meat– marketing and market research are going to be invaluable tools to make sure your business stays afloat. Because this year has basically transformed the way that your customers act (or even who your customers are), it is important to make sure you know what changes they’ve undergone and what kind of new expectations they might have. ;
Even the way that you do your market research will change– your market research has to go digital as well. There are many options that are available to companies making the shift to digital– software for surveys can help you get the voice of your customer, and having them fill out strategically-placed lead capture forms on your website will give you information about your customers who are more likely to buy your product or service.
Pivot, pivot, pivot
When you determine what new needs and expectations your customers now have in these new circumstances, align your product and service delivery along those lines. Focus on their needs. Focusing your marketing and delivery on new needs like these lets you be their problem solver.
For example, in California, Mr. Holmes Bakehouse shifted from selling bread on their premises to making home baking kits and providing baking supplies from their customers during lockdown. They were quick to recognize a need in the new circumstances, and pivoted towards it– and it began by understanding what it is their customers wanted or needed.
By doing your research, connecting with customers, and understanding their situation, you can also derive insight can help you adapt your business model and thrive.
Keep in Touch with Your Customers
One of the most difficult things about navigating this pandemic has been the isolation many have felt as social distancing protocols were put in place, and restrictions on travel, gatherings, and social activities took place.
Human connection is important, so many companies have turned to social media to keep in touch with their customers. And it can’t be just you selling them something all the time, as well– find a way to engage your customers in a way that helps address their need to connect.
Social media is ideal for this, but you can also send emails or do telemarketing if your company has the bandwidth– even just dropping in for a quick chat with customers, a brief hello, and asking how they are, can go a long way to keeping you on top of mind, and creating a relationship with your customers.
Even with a vaccine rolling out, the effects of COVID-19 will be felt through 2021 or even longer. And with the disruptions of 2020, you can be sure that many companies will emerge on the other side of this pandemic transformed. But change and adaptation to market forces are what make a business successful.