How can you sell and market online if you rely on foot traffic sales?

As we traverse through this changing world, one thing is clear: business is not the same as usual. Even as businesses begin to reopen, operations won’t look as they once did. Whether you have to function at reduced capacity, or customers are staying closer to home, this pandemic will impact your revenue projections for 2020.

If you operate a traditional brick-and-mortar business that relies on customers coming to your location for sales, what can you do? How can you sell to customers that aren’t coming through the door? How can you continue to see the same volumes that you saw pre-pandemic? One word: Online.

This virus has changed the way we use the internet, but it is also going to change the way we do business. As work, schools, and families transitioned home, they made many changes to their lifestyle and doing business online became the new normal.

If you’re feeling underprepared or overwhelmed, it’s okay. Here are five easy tips that will impact the transformation of your business into the digital world.

1. Social Media Selling

Do you have a social media presence? Are you selling online through social networks? Whether you are utilizing a specific inventory shop or simply posting items for sale, this is a great strategy. Customers may not be browsing in your store, but they are browsing online.

We have seen many businesses use social media to develop creative sales methods during this pandemic. Consider having a live auction on Facebook Live for selling overstock, a weekly special that requires an entry to win, or a “deal of the day” that can only be purchased through Instagram. The possibilities are endless!

2. Make Supporting You Convenient

Do you have gift cards available? Can customers easily buy them online? While we are “all in this together” and many want to #BuyLocal and #SupportLocal, your customers may not feel ready to engage as they once did. Make it easy for the community to support your business by purchasing gift cards. Why do you think Amazon gift cards are such a popular gift? They are easy to buy and easy to give.

If you don’t have gift cards yet, you are just a few clicks away from being able to sell them in-store and online.

3. Google My Business

Google is doing its best to help all organizations during this time and has made several changes to help maximize their online presence.

  • You can solicit donations as part of your Google listing
  • You can promote gift cards purchases as part of your Google listing
  • New search options to help support local businesses
  • Merchants who are certified on Google My Business will be able to add attributes like online appointments, online classes, or online estimates.

4. Create a Community

Staying connected while staying apart has proven to be one of the biggest challenges for organizations during this pandemic. How can you connect with your customers virtually and create the same environment when you aren’t in all one location? It’s time to create your own community.

Start a Facebook Group for VIP Insiders. Host virtual Zoom parties or Google Hangouts. Having a live event at your establishment? Steam it online and offer “event kits” that viewers can order ahead of time to participate at home. The important thing is to stay connected with customers and stay front-of-mind so when it is safe to reopen, you are fully booked.

5. Strategic Selections

As you get back to business, think about what you can do differently. People are bored. People are tired. What can you offer them that will make this situation a little more bearable (and make you a profit at the same time)? Here are a few examples others have done:

  • Free shipping on orders over a certain dollar amount
  • Curbside pick-up
  • “Family packs” with special meals large enough to feed an entire family
  • Subscription boxes
  • Curated packages around a theme

This isn’t a complete list, but it’s a great place to start. It is easy enough to accomplish in one weekend, it doesn’t take a technology expert to implement, and it is something your business will need to survive.

If this feels overwhelming to you, you aren’t alone! Outsourcing some or all of this work is an option and may end up saving you time and money in the long run.

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