We may have laughed in the beginning at the memes circulating online about toilet paper shortages, but as more cases of COVID-19 are reported closer to home, those small shifts in consumer behaviour are continuing to impact businesses. Regardless of what you believe about the media and the virus, if you are in business or an entrepreneur you should be observing and planning for the changing market.
Consumer behaviour has changed, even if just for the short term, and so should your business strategy. The public will, in some instances, buy less of something; while in other cases, like the inexplicable purchases of toilet paper, more of others. A rapidly changing market may close some doors or opportunities as consumers are unpredictable when faced with uncertainty; however, if you’re planning and adjusting instead of hoping and hiding, you’re more likely to stay on the winning side.
Here are my tips for what you can do.
1. Review your marketing plan. Right. Now. It is important to keep your foot on the marketing gas pedal to drive leads as consumer spending may continue to shift. Look at your marketing plan and adjust based on what new opportunities have emerged from these shifts, then act quickly – but not without careful thought.
2. Look at things from your customer’s point of view. It is equally important to make sure you are communicating with our customers on the topic so they know you’re pro-active. If you’re a business with a physical location, for example, or if you’re facing event cancellations – what does this mean for your customers? Communication is key to connecting with your consumers, and it is never more true than in times of change.
3. If you’re not sure what to do – find an expert! You might be scared to do or say the wrong thing to your customers. Find an expert who can advise you. Of course, we can help – but even if it isn’t us, find someone! Don’t hide.
4. Continue to push to drive sales. You may need to increase activity to drive the same amount of sales. Depending on the impact to your business, you may need to consider more cost effective ways to do this. Turning to digital channels can often be more cost-effective than traditional channels and yield better, more measurable results.
5. Embrace digital delivery. Use virtual meeting tools. There are plenty of freebies out there like Zoom, webinar tools, and other amazing technologies that you can substitute for meeting in person or gathering in physical spaces. Perhaps now is a good opportunity to explore selling products online, or expanding your online presence, as fewer people are inclined to visit physical locations.
6. Take care of yourself. Seriously, as business owners and managers we ‘go-go-go’, but the best safeguards are taking care of ourselves – eat well, sleep well, and exercise.
I ride horses and my coach’s favourite saying when something unexpected happens was always “heels down and carry on.” In other words, stay centred and follow your plan.
If you need help, we are just a call, click or comment away.
Written by Lauren Rigato, President of Superior Digital.