How to Navigate the New Normal
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. No one could have anticipated how much our lives would change in such a short period of time. We were all going about our daily routines without a worry in the world, not once stopping to think about the germs we were sharing. Fast forward through almost four months of quarantine, we are still living our lives, only now smiling behind masks and waving freshly sanitized hands. COVID-19 has changed so much at home — now it is time to change how we do business.
Due to this unexpected turn of events, the whole world was put on pause. Students were sent home to finish their school year online. Businesses closed and employees started working remotely. Now that a little time has passed, we are slowly trying to get back to work & navigate our new normal. Everyone is making adjustments, whether that means implementing new ways of maintaining store cleanliness or moving your business online to better serve those who aren’t ready to be in close quarters with strangers.
Whether you’re running a new start-up or have been around for 20 years, almost every business has taken a hit as a result of COVID-19. Those who’ve been able to thrive in the wake of the pandemic have done so because of their ability to pivot their business models to maintain relevance in this new world. To help you better navigate this new normal we have gathered some tips that you should keep in mind when moving your business forward.
Capitalize on Ecommerce
When company doors were forced to close, COVID-19 showed us how important it is to have your business both in-person and online. For months, customers were not able to visit stores in-person, so they took their money to the internet. Over time we have seen a natural increase in ecommerce, but COVID-19 gave online businesses the upper hand in the blink of an eye. Being comfortable with ecommerce became key to keeping your business afloat.
A big part of ecommerce is staying on top of trends. An easy way to do that is by keeping the mindset of a start-up business owner — being willing to change and adapt to what works best for you and your customers. The internet is an easy place to transform in a short period of time. As a business owner you should constantly be checking in on the competition and what is or isn’t working for them and you. You should be putting a significant amount of time and resources toward maintaining a quality online experience for your customers. Customers want to be able to shop your website with minimal thinking involved.
As a business owner, you must ensure you are correctly using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. This requires inputting keywords on your website to increase the likelihood that your site comes up first on the page when a customer uses the search engine to locate a certain product or service. SEO is a great way to increase the potential of bringing new customers to your site.
If you are new to online business, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The whole world is currently trying to navigate uncharted territory and we all have plenty to learn. Don’t get down if your online store doesn’t have great success right away. Constantly work on improving your site so it is easy for customers to use and for you to run.
We are living in a time of uncertainty & it can be scary. As a business owner, you must empathize with your buyers & adapt to the new ways of running your business. In order to perform at a high level, you need to put yourself in your customers’ shoes & understand what motivates them to purchase an item. You can explore creative ways of selling & getting the word out about your products while maintaining a consistent & authentic brand identity.
Customers want you to be authentic with your story and your business. During the past few months, every one of us could have been found on the couch with yesterday’s sweats on. Conference calls included children playing in the background or your dog running away with a pair of your shoes — maybe both, we’re not judging. These types of interactions makes us human and connect us on a deeper level. Sharing the ways in which you’ve been affected by this pandemic can make your company more relatable.
Reassurance is so important during a time like this when you never know what’s going to happen next. Your business should be open and honest about how things are being handled. Your posts and comments should be clear of any words that might come off as insensitive — customers don’t want to feel as if you are using COVID as an opportunity to make more money. Be respectful of your employees & your customers. Understand that each person’s situation is different & they should be treated with respect whether you’re interacting online or in-person. We are all human and are navigating this pandemic together.
Use Social Media
As a business owner or employee, you should learn how to use each social media platform correctly & to your advantage. This means you need to spend time learning about how each platform is used & the features it offers. Since the onset of COVID-19, many people have been spending a large amount of their time on social media. This is a perfect time to take your business to each platform in order to capitalize on your customer reach.
Linking your website on your social media posts is a great way for customers to stumble upon your store. It is also easy for them to share your page or products with their friends and family. You are not only providing access to the page where they can make a purchase, you’re putting the customer in a position where they can do some organic advertising for you.
You should be posting regularly on your business social media pages — don’t give your customers the opportunity to forget about you! The more content you put out, the more followers you will gain, which increases visibility, & the likelihood of new business. Posting regularly also gives your customers a chance to stay updated on new products, sales, or giveaways, while deepening their understanding of your brand’s personality. Many start-up businesses use giveaways as a way to advertise for free. It is as simple as deciding on a fun, exciting product to give away to a customer if they like the post, follow your page, & share it to their story. In return, you are gaining exposure to thousands of potential clients! The return is so much greater than the cost.
Each account should also consistently be responding to comments on every social media platform. Interacting with customers builds relationships & makes them feel valued. It is also a great way to get feedback & hear constructive criticism. As you’ve always heard, the customer is always right. If one customer is having an issue, it is most likely occurring with multiple. Improvement is never ending & you should always be looking for ways to make the buying experience easier & more enjoyable.
Offer Educational Training
Offering education-based training for your customers is a great way to gain & retain long-term users. Why not get ahead of the game & lead them down the path to success?
Offering training for your customers focuses on building customer experience. The customer is able to learn about your company and your products while being taught how to use your website to their advantage. It is a great way to help your customers become more comfortable with your page & products. If your platform isn’t easy for first time users, a great idea would be to create a video or step-by-step guide on how to set up an account or how to make their first purchase.
Customer training also builds loyalty. You are investing your time to help build their success. Customers are more likely to come back to a business when they know how to use your tools easily & correctly. There may be many different resources on your website that would be helpful to customers if they only knew about them. Training also creates fewer customer service issues because they can refer to an already-made tutorial on your page rather than reaching out to you with issues. You should continuously be creating content for your website to limit customers going to other pages for help. This gives them the opportunity to find an easier to use site, and no one wants to lose business.
We understand how hard it has been for businesses to navigate such a confusing & uncertain time, especially if ecommerce is new to you. Everyone has had to make adjustments with how they take care of their customers & bring in new sales in 2020. COVID-19 has shown us all the areas in which we were lacking in & given us the opportunity to improve. These tips can help your business grow to come back stronger than ever.