The coronavirus outbreak is still underway, but it won’t be long before small businesses are opening their doors once again. However, it won’t be business as usual. Between a push for online sales and demand for improved health and safety measures, businesses will have to adapt if they’re going to meet consumers’ needs in the wake of the coronavirus.
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What do post-coronavirus customers want from small businesses?
As stay-at-home orders are lifted and businesses reopen, businesses will have to show they’re putting safety first in order to win the favor of customers. Here’s what customers can expect in a post-coronavirus world.
- Touchless transactions will be key during and after the coronavirus outbreak. Businesses have two options for accepting contactless payments: Adding an NFC-enabled card reader to their existing point-of-sale system or upgrading to a fully integrated system.
- Customers also want the option to buy online. Whether that’s buying products to be shipped to their door or ordering ahead for curbside pickup, customers expect to be able to find what they need while shopping online.
- When customers do shop in-store, they’ll expect high standards of cleanliness and a space that promotes social distancing. That may mean limiting the number of customers and increasing space around checkout stands to allow for a six-foot distance.
How businesses can generate revenue despite decreased foot traffic
Unfortunately, following these measures can make it difficult for businesses to serve as many customers as they used to. In addition, many people will be reluctant to spend time in public even as communities reopen. To make up for lost brick-and-mortar sales, turn to creative strategies like these.
- Adding curbside pickup is a great way to capture customers who want their products quickly but prefer to shop online, especially for local businesses that aren’t ready to serve customers beyond their community’s borders.
- Businesses should also look for ways to expand traditional online sales. For most small businesses, shipping costs are the biggest hurdle to making e-commerce profitable. However, there are a number of things businesses can do to shrink shipping costs.
- Service-based businesses can take an alternative approach to e-commerce, using live streaming and video calling to reach customers who continue to stay home for social distancing.
- Even with these steps, businesses are likely to see fewer customers in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic. To keep sales high, businesses need ways to increase revenue per customer. That means turning to strategies like cross-selling and up-selling.
How to get help reaching customers at home and online
Most small businesses operate with a lean staff. As a result, you may lack the expertise you need to pull these money-making strategies off. When you need outside help, turn to pros like these:
- While website builders make it possible to build an online store without outside help, achieving professional-quality results is hard to do alone. If you need to build an e-commerce website from the ground up, hire a web team that can develop both the back end and appearance of your store.
- Before businesses can make sales online, their online stores need to be found. When an e-commerce store lacks web traffic, a freelance SEO backlinking expert can help improve the site’s ranking in search results.
- Customer engagement is also key. Capturing customers’ attention online is an art, and businesses without a marketing expert on staff benefit from hiring someone well-versed in digital marketing channels like social media, email newsletters, and content marketing.
- Freelancers and agencies are great options for hiring help, but businesses that hire permanent staff should make certain their payroll is in order. Working with Payroll Setup spares businesses major headaches and can increase productivity.
While there are steps businesses can take to help customers feel safe in-store, small businesses that take their operations online will find the greatest success in the post-coronavirus marketplace. Whether that’s letting customers pay online and pick up in-store or opening up an e-commerce division, online sales let customers patronize businesses in the way that’s safest and most convenient for them. And by making it easy for customers to shop, small businesses make it easy to keep their doors — virtual or otherwise — open.