It would be quicker to name the things that haven’t been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic than to name those that have. Even in the parts of the world that are making serious strides in emerging from the necessary lockdown measures, life won’t resume its previous pace in the near future.
With plenty of countries still suffering greatly, it’s clear that we’ll be dealing with the repercussions for years.
The early dream that this would quickly blow over was soon shown to be just that: a dream. Therefore, it’s important for small businesses to pay close attention to how customer behavior has changed in recent months. If you’re running a business in these difficult times, don't expect things to go back to normal. Adaptation is essential.
In this post, we’re going to look at how COVID-19 has affected buying habits and consider how you can tweak your operation to take advantage of the changes. Let’s begin.
When the news broke that people would need to stay at home most of the time, even working from home if possible, it radically changed how they approached their free time. The absence of lengthy commutes left them with shorter workdays, but they couldn’t socialize in conventional ways.
To fill that time, many turned to home-improvement projects. They looked to overhaul their gardens, paint their walls, refit their bathrooms—anything practical to stay occupied and make their homes better places in which to quarantine.
This had mixed results for companies providing such services. On the negative side, the desire to take up DIY has meant that many people have been attempting small tasks themselves instead of outsourcing them.
On the positive side, though, there are plenty of home-improvement projects that no amount of amateur effort can get through—and demand for services ranging from grass-cutting to window installations has been very consistent, even going up significantly in some areas.
If your business offers a service that isn't DIY-friendly, you may want to consider this as a marketing angle as people seek to improve their homes. One thing that has certainly changed is how people find your services, as we’ll see next.
The ecommerce world has done extremely well during the COVID-19 outbreak, as people stuck at home have turned to online retail to cover all their needs.
Non-essential stores closed and grocery stores became somewhat risky (particularly to those in vulnerable groups). But online business in general has boomed, with businesses of all kinds turning to the internet to get attention because shopping behaviors have moved online so heavily.
If you run a small business and don’t have a business website—or at least a dedicated page like a Facebook Business Page—then you’re leaving money on the table.
Even customer referrals have changed. Instead of one of your previous customers passing your number to their friend, they’re far more likely to write you mention you through social media or write a positive online review on Google or Facebook.
If you’re not using social media to market your business, that’s even more left on the table. Social media marketing for small companies is huge because of its opportunities to get your business noticed.
You can still use newspaper ads and other offline options if they’re competitively priced, but be aware that business is primarily routed through the internet now.
As for how to get customer reviews, using a reputation marketing software is critical in this increasingly online world. More customer reviews from a positive customer experience will mean more business for your company.
Due to the ever-present risk of infection, customers want to feel safe when paying for services, and this is something you have to take into account.
Let’s say you run a one-person plumbing business, for instance. To do your job, you’ll need to visit people’s homes and potentially spend significant amounts of time there.
A home-service business must therefore practice the utmost safety procedures.hat will mean communicating how your business has adapted to the crisis, wearing a high-quality mask, maintaining as much distance as you can, washing your hands frequently and generally making every effort to minimize the risk you pose.
In addition to this, we’re seeing a welcome trend of sustainability investments. This pandemic has reminded us that life is fragile and we need to be more responsible. That means doing what we can to protect the environment and encourage businesses to operate in sensible ways.
If you source your parts and equipment sustainably, or employ green protocol, be sure to mention it when marketing your business—and if you don’t, then it’s a good idea to make the change now. Customers will want to see this.
Although COVID-19 may be with us for some time to come, and shopper habits have adjusted accordingly, there are ways for your business to adapt to these changing behaviors.
For your business to thrive during this time, market to people looking to improve their home since they’ll be spending more time in their bubble.
Furthermore, consider building your online reputation through your website, reviews and social media marketing. And lastly, market your business to those customers seeking safe and sustainable options right now.