Without a doubt, 2020 has been a year for the record books. As if historic elections, devastating wildfires, and murder hornets were not enough, along came a global pandemic that caused fear and isolation and hit businesses of all kinds directly in the pocketbook. If you're running a business during these challenging times, you need to take action to ensure that your endeavor remains solvent and relevant for the long haul.
Communicate with your customers.
Even if your company does not accept online payments, you most likely have a website. That’s because even before COVID-19 came into our lives, most retailers had recognized the value of establishing and maintaining an internet presence that potential customers could access via their computers and smartphones. In addition to other marketing strategies, your site is probably one of the chief ways that you are advertising your products and services and letting prospective buyers know that you’re still out there.
These days, your online site should perform an additional function by means of an easily installed COVID-related pop-up. In an era when no one is quite sure what has changed and what has stayed the same, an updated message can inform your site’s visitors about any pandemic-related news having to do with your business. Information may include modified business hours, additional health and safety precautions that you have taken, contactless payment and delivery options, and so forth. Even if your business model and services remain ostensibly unchanged, a small pop-up plugin on your site will reassure customers that you continue to be a stable and reliable beacon in this environment of uncertainty.
Find your social media identity.
Just as your website has probably been a point of contact between your company and your customers for longer than the coronavirus has existed, you probably also made yourself known on social media sites such as Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. In doing so, you were likely able to carry on a continuous dialogue with customers, share product demos, read reviews, and answer questions. Now, during the pandemic, your social media posts can do even more.
Use your tweets, posts, and videos to alert people about the steps you have taken to ensure safety and convenience. Make it a point to also incentivize potential customers to buy your products or ask questions about the services you provide. The key is to use these interactive vehicles to remain at the top of your clients’ minds at a time when distractions abound and competition remains fierce.
To bolster your social media presence:
- Take time to customize content for each social media sites you post on.
- Engage your audience by providing frequent, personalized updates.
- Encourage dialogues, testimonials, and reviews.
- Make your page into a fun place that potential customers will want to visit frequently.
Don’t forget about Google.
Although much seems to have turned upside-down in recent months, one fact remains: People visit Google Business pages to access facts about your store such as location, hours of operation, and appointment protocols. All you need to do is to log in to business.google.com and update your details on the “info” tab. Best of all, it will only take you a few minutes to do this!
Look into accepting contactless payments.
One reality of the coronavirus is that it can be transmitted from one person to another with relative ease. Although exposure to infected aerosol droplets seems to be the easiest way to catch COVID-19, evidence also exists that points toward becoming exposed by touching contaminated materials, including surfaces, and even cash.
For that reason, many businesses have embraced NFC (Near-field communications) contactless technology. This innovative technology uses the merchant’s modern point of sale system to access a customer’s payment information from either the chip embedded in a “smart” credit card, or a mobile phone’s digital wallet. As the name suggests, this method of paying for items is conducted from start to finish without there ever being any direct contact between the seller’s reader and the buyer’s smartphone or credit card.
Contactless payments have additional benefits as well. For one thing, they occur quickly and efficiently, usually in less time than it would take to swipe or dip an old-school credit card. Furthermore, the sensitive personal payment information that is communicated is encrypted and tokenized, ensuring that none of the data can be hijacked by criminals looking to steal a customer’s identity.
As the ramifications of the coronavirus continue to affect every man, woman, and child in this country, running a business can seem difficult at best and impossible at worst. Technological advances that allow for targeted communication between you and your customers, as well as innovations that make deliveries and payments safe and effective, can go a long way toward helping you remain a go-to source of products and services. Combine these with the excellent customer service and product support you have built your business upon and you will be well-positioned to remain successful no matter what 2020 and beyond throw your way.