As customers begin to recover from the shutdowns, keep these tips in mind to maximize your company's turnaround.
Brought to you by Entrepreneur Partner Studio Staff
Because of social distancing, quarantines, and slow re-opening processes, people have had more time and more reason to shop online. Turns out, online shopping has increased 25 percent since the start of the health crisis.
Whether your business had to shut its doors or was limited to curbside pickup, one way to increase cash flow is to take advantage of more consumers who are willing to do business online. If you didn’t have the time or incentive to experiment with selling and shipping products online before COVID-19, or you tried but didn’t pursue the opportunity, now might be the best time to double down on ecommerce.
Once your online store is set up, consider these tips and strategies for maximizing sales amid these uncertain times.
Leverage the power of online video.
Less time commuting and working in a traditional workplace means people have more time and are watching video online. Since the start of the health crisis, more than half of the Gen Z population, 44 percent of millennials, and 35 percent of Gen X say they are watching video online.
According to recent surveys, 84 percent of consumers were convinced to buy a product after watching a brand’s video, and 97 of video marketers reported that video increased customer understanding of a product. For business owners, this creates a prime opportunity to communicate with customers in a timely way.
Recording a video can be as easy as turning on your smartphone and hitting record. In your videos, you could explain the steps you’re taking to keep your staff and customers safe, unbox a product while explaining its features and uses, or talk about your businesses’ plans for later in the year. You can find 10 great tips for creating marketing videos here.
Be mindful of your tone.
Whether you’re reaching out to customers on your website, over social media, newsletters, etc., remember to project a cautious tone with informed optimism.
It’s OK to be optimistic and have a positive attitude about the reopening of businesses and the months to come. However, projecting overconfidence in your recovery messaging can rub some customers the wrong way. Many people are worried, and no one knows for sure how the crisis will eventually shake out. Predicting the future in absolutes can undermine your brand’s credibility and erode trust with customers.
Get smart about shipping.
In the midst of the pandemic, owners of traditional brick-and-mortar stores aren’t only starting to receive more orders online—they’re learning about shipping products. Some business owners may even be shipping products from home.
Thanks to Pitney Bowes, the learning curve isn’t an issue at all. SendPro Online from Pitney Bowes makes shipping simple and efficient, which means business owners have more time to do what they do best: sell.
With SendPro Online, you can print a full address label with a tracking barcode, select the best rates between different carriers, and schedule a date and time for the carrier to pick up the package. And with address verification, you can minimize the number of unnecessary returns. People who ship using SendPro Online can save as much as 9 percent on first-class mail and up to 40 percent on priority mail.
Have the right tools.
When it comes to selling online, your usual point-of-sale device obviously isn’t going to cut it. Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar retailer that’s newly accepting digital payments, or a restaurant enabling contactless purchases and deliveries, digital payment solutions are an important part of your selling process, and there are a number of solid options to choose from.
In regard to mailing, perhaps one of the most valuable tools a business owner working from an office or store or even from home can have is a scale. The ability to accurately weigh what you mail means you won’t overpay for postage. With SendPro Mailstation, you get a 5-lb scale that’s digitally connected and easy to use. It’s ideal for mailing first class letters, large envelopes, and postcards. When used with SendPro Online, business owners don’t have to leave their house or place of business to mail something—the carrier will come to you to pick it up.
Don’t assume every customer will recover at the same time.
Whether you specialize in business-to-business or business-to-consumer, remember that every business and individual will begin recovering at different paces. Depending on where they live, what kind of business they are in, the nature of their employment and family situation, everyone will react in their own way. Now is the time to listen harder to clients and communicate more, with transparency and frequency.
Smart tools, strategies, and a healthy dose of patience should set your business on a path to recovery.
Click here to learn more about how Pitney Bowes and SendPro Online can help your business shipping practices.
Read more from Entrepreneur