The ensuing pandemic has changed business approaches and methods. It is now critical for small business owners, severely impacted by the lockdowns, to reinvent themselves.
The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)[i] reported that the number of active business owners in the U.S. fell by 3.3 million—or 22 percent—from February to April 2020. That was the most significant decline on record, and it affected nearly all industries.
While our trusted stores struggled in the first wave, they also had to be prompt to look for alternative ways to reinvent. One of the ways which helped them was digital, be it adopting marketing tactics or payment avenues or any other digital methods.
Small businesses are not only making minor adjustments but rethinking their entire business model; some strategies being:
1. Making their services available through contactless deliveries.
2. Focusing on new safety measures to make sure customers feel safe during interactions.
3. Communicate changes to business through all channels, primarily digital.
4. Adopting new revenue streams, such as converting production lines to make hand sanitizer.
5. Accepting/dopting digital payments.
Going digital to stay relevant
The key for local businesses is to adapt and reopen using new digital marketing strategies and no-contact methods. Some digital marketing techniques to rebuild their local customer base and revenue are:
1. Building a website for your business: A website becomes the face of a company and a portal for client services and resources. It is essential to add vital tools to the website such as e-com functionality, chat, contact, etc.
2. Social media campaign: Creating social media pages to share your journey, updates about your business, and creating an engaging audience through the content building.
3. Email outreach: Email is essential when rebuilding a customer base after an interruption like the recent lockdown. Let each of your customers know that your doors are open and your team is back in business after a brief lull. Make sure to inform them of updated safety protocols designed to ensure both theirs and your staff’s safety.
4. Online business listings: Using all online listings platforms to gain more traction for your business and update new COVID guidelines. Fill out every data form and optimize your entry so that it is ready to convert. List your current hours to get recommendations when you are open. If customers can schedule appointments or services, integrate the booking widget accordingly.
5. Online advertisement through digital channels: Investing in online advertisements to build awareness for your brand is crucial even if you do not have products to sell right now. Focus ad spends on branded terms due to the higher quality traffic they naturally receive. For those SMBs with tight annual budgets, the reallocation of ad spend toward more effective marketing periods could be essential to their success.
One of the best examples of this is a young Indian start-up brand dealing in organic baby food products who had to reinvent their business model when the pandemic struck. They moved to a completely online model but soon realized that labor shortage made e-commerce deliveries difficult and had to rethink their model again to find the right partner to sell through their website. Social media played a massive role in this to promote the shift in their business model. And now the company’s revenues are double their pre-COVID-19 peak while they are launching new products and expanding to new countries.
Wipro has been working with small business owners through our clients to help them grow through the adoption of digital platforms, resolving queries, and increasing their digital commerce capabilities quickly to survive now and succeed in the future as the economy recovers.
If you are interested in learning how Wipro is helping our clients transform their businesses, we should talk.
Deputy Manager, New Age Media, Wipro
Saumya has over seven years of experience in Digital Marketing, Media and Advertising. Her experience spans across leading global organizations and advertising agencies with focus on digital consumer journey for business and creating media solutions and strategy for global brands.