Since the COVID-19 outbreak, everything has shifted towards digitalization. This also includes the purchase of products and how they’re being purchases — putting pressure on businesses to have a stronger e-commerce presence.
Mentalities change as well. People have started to be more focused on protecting themselves, their families, employees, and customers. But, at the same time, communities have started to stick together to face the crisis. Additionally, since we spend so much of our time at home, there have been major changes in behavioral trends. People are spending more time on social media, looking for new ways to escape and entertain themselves.
However, the need for physical goods puts pressure on businesses — the demand for e-commerce is rising. Even if people still venture out to shop for essentials in stores; the supply is inconsistent.
So many changes have happened so fast in a short amount of time. But slowly, people are moving past the survival mode and this digital-experience is starting to settle. What actions can you take so that your brand grows its customer base and takes care of its people?
Can You Do “Business as Usual” During a Pandemic?
You could. But that might make you come off as insensitive and un-adapted. However, you don’t have to change the entire idea around your branding. But you should be aware that you can focus on a few important things:
1. Don’t Target Fear
The worst thing you can do is take advantage of people’s fear during these times. Sure, manipulation can get you an increase in sales in the short term. However, in the long run, it will damage your business.
Just think about what side you want to be on when this pandemic is over. Do you want people to see you as a toxic, manipulative brand? Or do you want them to remember that you actually did something to help them through tough times?
2. Show Empathy
Everyone is vulnerable in times like these — from business owners to employees. Many companies offer essential services for free. This kind of conduct shows humility and decency in the face of a crisis.
You should use this time to shift your focus and your voice to positive messages around staying safe. Or, give people ways in which they can improve their current situation — be it services or entertainment ideas.
The whole point here is to show that you understand what people are going through — and that you care. The time of being commercially exploitative has passed.
3. Improve Your Digital Presence
If people can’t find you, how will they buy from your store? It’s not as easy as it sounds, though. Before the outbreak, most small businesses generated only a minor part of their profits from e-commerce. This means it will take more effort to generate more online sales.
First of all, aim to grow your website and your blog, if you have one. Use it as an opportunity to add value to people’s lives through your content. Start learning about SEO and link building if you are unfamiliar with these concepts.
If your social media game is not on point, this could be a great moment to work on it. Adapt your promotional messages—combine them with a positive idea or an incentive to stay safe.
You could suggest ways in which the products you sell can help your customers forget their troubles for a moment. Or simply suggest new activities for them to enjoy—with or without your goods.
Another thing you can try is participating in digital events and live streaming. Doing this will help you connect with your customers on a more personal level. People will feel like they resonate with your brand and be more inclined to trust you.
4. Focus on Convenience
If your brand is capable of providing fast service and shipping—let people know. This is a strong selling point to have during these times. If not, it might be a good thing to improve. People have enough to worry about. Try and go out of your way to make it easier for them to buy your products.
Consider offering both delivery and pick up services. In this way, you’re offering your customers a choice of service and convenience.
5. Associate Your Brand with Good
If it’s possible, try to offer your services for free to people that need them most. Or, if you can afford it, make donations. People will see you and remember you as a company that made a stand and made an effort at a time when action was needed.
Also, feel-good content that promotes a positive message will go a long way. Just be sure not to make your efforts solely for commercial reasons. Your clients will acknowledge your contribution and true purpose.
6. Keep an Eye Open
Trends change with the speed of light. Tracking the behavior of your clients can help you gain better insights. In this way, you can adapt your messages or improve your services and keep your customers happy.
If possible, try to plan and build multiple scenarios of what might happen in the future. Even though nobody has answers, it can’t hurt to be prepared, no matter what. This will help you stay one step ahead of your competition.
7. Offer Safety
It should go without saying, but make sure that you follow all health regulations. People need to feel safe in order to do business with you. Offer contactless methods of payment and limit the contact between people at delivery.
Try to find new and safer ways to deliver your products. Like a drop-off point where clients can collect their orders without any human contact. Always consider the safety of both your clients and employees as a priority.
Keep Safe and Adapt
There is a silver lining to this situation—there are ways to improve your branding so that you will come out as a stronger company when this is all over. The methods you use to sell your products must be ethical and actually be of service to your customers. This way, people will remember you as a brand that didn’t take advantage of a bad situation.
The important thing is to constantly adapt and never go dark with your business. Staying in the spotlight—for the right reasons—can help you tremendously.
About Millennium Agency
Millennium Agency is a national, award-winning, digital, creative, content/PR, and video marketing firm. With offices in Boston and New Hampshire, our team unites creative branding and data analytics to accelerate our clients’ growth, while combining our clients’ vision with our marketing expertise to increase sales opportunities and drive brand success. From video advertising and web design to social media and PR, Millennium can guide your marketing efforts every step of the way. Contact the professionals at Millennium Agency to learn more!