In recent months, consumer spending has dropped significantly because of Covid-19, but where is the money is being spent, it is likely to be through online purchases. So a website is essential than ever if a business is to thrive. A survey for the website builder GoDaddy found that lockdown has prompted a fifth of micro-businesses to set up an online presence for the first time and nearly half of such businesses have boosted their digital and social media activity.
A survey found that 53% of consumers had shopped more online during the pandemic and that at least three-quarters expect to continue buying online once lockdown ends. And this could well signal a permanent change in consumer behaviour. While big brands will take a lot of these sales, many customers still want to support their favourite small businesses, whether the local pub, florist, butcher or baker. The GoDaddy survey reports that 63% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with small local businesses during the pandemic and that 67% of these plan to do so once lockdown ends.
Some savvy small businesses are tapping into this trend by using their websites to create additional opportunities for consumers to spend. Online promotions, reward schemes and e-gift cards are just some ways businesses can help keep customers returning.
Promotions like vouchers, discounts and deals are a great way to attract new customers and keep them coming back for more, as are contests, giveaways and flash sales. Meanwhile, free deliveries and automatic replenishment of perishables using a subscription model have become increasingly popular in the e-commerce world. Placing time limits on deals can create a sense of urgency and encourage uptake.
Another way to spur Bigger purchases is to create product or service bundles or to cross-sell complementary items. Multi-buy deals can result in a large shopping basket too. And what about the customer who leaves your website without purchasing the items in their cart? A reminder email might entice them back. Ultimately, it’s crucial to benchmark the results of any promotion against your regular pricing to see which strategy has the most positive impact on the top line. For small businesses, the prospect of running promotions can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be if you know where to look. Our Dev team has created a suite of email marketing tools specifically designed with small businesses in mind. These tools let clients quickly and easily send out notifications about promotions, and even automate them to lighten the load for e-commerce business. And to help you get to know your customers better, we make it simple for clients to create surveys and monitor the results on their website. All of which will help you run your business in a way that bolsters your bottom line.
Reward schemes differ from online promotions in that they encourage repeat purchases over an extended period. The added benefit is that your business can gather data on consumer behaviour and satisfaction so that you can tailor products or services to their needs. Your customers may also spread the word about your loyalty scheme and encourage others to join. For customers, there are many benefits like saving money and time, winning prizes, and early access to products, services or events. Communicating the advantages of a scheme is one of the keys to its success. Typically, customers earn “points” when they buy from you, refer friends or post about your business on social media. You can also award points for anniversaries and business milestones. Shoppers can be automatically enrolled when they make their first purchase or can opt-in via your app, website or social media channels. Customers then redeem their points to get products free or at a discount. Remember to take time periodically reviewing the performance of the programme. You can choose which metrics you measure, whether it’s the number of members, or rewards earned or claimed. But it’s important to understand what worked well, what didn’t, and how to improve the programme.
Digital gift cards
Digital gift cards could be the ultimate guarantor of customer loyalty during the pandemic. They’re not just a source of immediate income but also are an endorsement of your business from the giver and a warranty that you’ll gain a future customer. What’s more, they are a relatively cheap marketing tool that spreads awareness of your brand.
Some businesses combine e-gift cards with promotions offering future discounts, which they hope will encourage recipients of e-gift cards to return and spend more. And this makes sense as the cost of acquiring new customers can be far higher than retaining existing customers. And those existing customers are much more likely to try out new products and to spend more than their trust grows. So this strategy underscores the importance of a loyalty scheme for small businesses.
Developments in technology might be moving at a rate of knots, but small businesses needn’t be left behind. Beyond the bells and whistles of drones and augmented reality, there is a world of opportunity for entrepreneurs. And it all begins with a website.