During this COVID-19 crisis, small ecommerce businesses are suffering major losses. Customers respond to the state of the economy, so when it is down, they are more likely to save rather than spend. In addition, with everyone staying at home, there aren’t nearly as many options for shopping or reasons to shop. Why buy a dress when you will be at home for the next month? The bottom line: keeping customers happy is not just a challenge, it is an uphill battle.
It’s important to keep in mind that it’s easier to sell to people during a crisis when they already trust you. Purchasing from an unknown website in the midst of a pandemic is just not something a lot of people will do. For this reason, it makes sense to focus on your existing audience, keeping them constantly updated on your business and making them feel at ease.
Below, discover five strategies to generate customer interest online and boost sales during this and other difficult times.
Focus on Community
Instead of focusing on sales, take a more organic approach and work on building the community around your brand. The digital marketing experts at Taktical suggest focusing on social media to keep your existing customers engaged.
Create a hashtag and encourage people to use it in photos of your products. Highlight people wearing or using your products on social media. Offer free classes, tutorials, advice, or recommendations on Instagram and Facebook stories. Create a fun quiz for your customers to see what they have been up to and what their preferences are for future products. This is a good time to reach out to influencers who may be able to help market your brand to their audience who already has their trust.
Offer Free Shipping
This is an easy one. Offering free shipping will not have a huge impact on your profits as shipping costs are relatively low. Customers love the idea of getting something for free, often not because it makes a huge difference in cost, but because it makes them feel like a savvy shopper.
Host a Sale
It may not yet be time for your yearly summer sale, but when the economy isn’t doing well and customers aren’t buying as much, you should take it as a sign that a sale might be needed. Offering 20 or 30% off of certain items may be the incentive customers need to bite the bullet during a crisis and purchase something they believe is a good deal that won’t come around again soon. You have to make some sacrifices to engage people during difficult times because their concerns are generally on more important things than shopping.
Start a Loyalty Program
If you don’t already have a loyalty program with points earned for purchases, this is a great time to get one to engage your customers. You can offer more points for purchases during this period, which can then be redeemed for discounts and other rewards.
Give to a Charity
Another way to boost customer interest and give back to those in need at the same time is to offer to donate a portion of sales to a local charity. Choose one that your brand and customers identify with and make a goal to reach a certain number that you will give to them. Customers will feel good about their purchase, knowing that they have made a difference.
However you choose to approach this difficult time when it comes to your business, remember that customers are people just like you. It’s ok to let them know that this period has been difficult and that you will get through it together. With a little bit of creativity and a lot of determination, you can grow your brand during this time and come out stronger than ever!
Guest Post: Ilan Nass is an experienced performance marketer with 9 years experience helping B2B and B2C companies grow. He spent 6 years running Taktical Digital, a direct response/performance marketing agency where clients have included WeWork, Ellen Degeneres, BarkBox, Bustle, Casper, MoviePass, Rachel Zoe, Univision, Chase Manhattan and others. Skills include SEO, SEM, Content Marketing, Paid Social Ads and more.