You reap what you sow - many wise men and women have said that. Because it is true. If it wasn't evident enough that things were changing rapidly from offline to online world, COVID-19 pandemic has hardly left any options but to get out of the comfort zone of doing an offline business to plan an omnichannel business approach.
Here are ideas where small and family owned businesses can start.
1. Transforming to “Digital First” Mindset, Online and Offline
There is no real definition of “Digital First” mindset. It is a behavioural trait that is now expected of any modern leader. When building a business, thinking about what the digital presence of the business looks like and how it creates value for the business and consumer will not be optional.
Businesses will have to think of how they would like to treat the customers online. In other words, what kind of experience one’s customer should have online when browsing the website or social media pages will become a topic of core strategy no matter how “analogue” (example: a nail salon or a spa) the business is considered.
According to McKinsey Digital’s recent report, in China, online shopping has increased 15 to 20 percentage points, and e-commerce in Italy has increased 81 percent compared with the last week of February. As offline shopping reduces, strategies will need to focus on fortifying their web presence and, in some cases, building an online business from scratch.
Even if this pandemic wasn’t accelerating the pace of digital adoption, as the newer generations that grew up with technology and social media (and who consider Facebook a platform for old people) enter consumer markets, Digital First thinking would be core to attract such consumer base.
In fact, there will be no great difference between online and offline. In some cases, online world will integrate fully with offline world. For instance, today we walk into an airport, type in personal info in a kiosk, which prints boarding pass and you checks you in. You walk over to a bar, place your order with couple of taps on an iPAD, pay and soon enough someone gets you a drink. It’s not going to be too long when consumers will be interacting with touch screens or facial recognition gadgets in grocery stores.
Business owners must ask themselves, not whether they need an e-commerce strategy, but where and how do they start building an e-commerce presence.
2. Emergence of Experience
New and modern designers are changing the way websites are designed. They are combining behavioural psychology to design new workflows, triggers and relationships.
Chatbots are becoming a commonplace apps on websites to interact with consumers. As application like AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) become more sophisticated, chatbots built to facilitate communication between online users and the business will become highly effective in acquiring and retaining customers. Business owners, who will invest time and resource in curating a good website, will see increasingly better business results – increase in new customers and decrease in cost of acquiring them.
Personalized Experiences: Future user will expect a personalized experience on a business’ website or app. As companies like Amazon and Google, the current leaders on world wide web, enhance their game (and they will), users will expect others to keep up. The loyalty will move from brand image to brand experience. This author predicts the emergence of phase 2 of marketplace apps and platforms. Visionary leaders will zoom in on building their niche in different industry verticals. Marketplace platforms built on the solid foundations of technology, psychology, design and data will take away consumers from physical marketplaces. Business owners, who remain up to date with the knowledge of emerging platforms and technologies will continue to get better results from their digital efforts.
3. Re-imagining Marketing Mix with Greater Digital Media Components
Some of the key challenges small business owners have faced in the last few years were related to the constant evolution, sophistication and integration of technology in marketing functions. As consumers’ get more comfortable buying online, small business owners will need to develop omnichannel marketing strategies instead of just relying on old school marketing practices. To exploit the full potential of marketing technologies (or mar-tech) business owners will have to either:
a. Hire a marketing manager or digital agency to drive omnichannel marketing. There are two problems with that
i. Hiring a marketing manager: Adding a new resource means adding additional costs to the business, with no guarantee on Return on Ad Spend (RoAS) or that the digital marketing will be able to compensate for the lost revenue.
ii. Hire a digital agency: A third-party agency, however, doesn’t really have the skin-in-the-game to go out of their way to collaborate and experiment on their clients’ behalf. To evaluate the right agency or renew old contracts, small business owners must train themselves to ask different questions – questions related to data, marketing mix, call-to-actions and so on.
b. Good ol’ DIY - Subscribe to the marketing channels, follow leading marketing firms for updates or enroll in online courses.
The challenges with this approach are:
i. Where does one start? There is so much out there to learn from so many different experts. Businesses will need to actively seek and shortlist information that is relevant to their business based on their business strategy and audience they seek.
ii. Embarking on an educational quest also means that the business owner must invest her time. Given time is a limited entity, and small business owners are heavily involved in the day-to-day of the business, time is as limited as cash flow.
4. Adopting Data-Driven Business Strategies
Digital marketing is all about data. Tools, like Google Analytics, when set up correctly, can provide valuable information for improving the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, streamlining media channels, optimizing website’s content and workflows, and creating lucrative call-to-action triggers.
Your marketing manager or digital agency should be able to provide timely reports, updates, insights and solutions to optimize results. Some of the benefits of data-driven consumer marketing to a business are as follows:
a. Price Optimization is mathematical analysis that helps businesses to determine consumers response to the price of the products or services. How much should one charge for a certain product or a service? A data-driven business will use insights to set prices to maximize profits or remove overstock inventory by providing discounts. Data-driven Pricing strategies can also be used to develop product bundles to increase average value of a transaction. For more info read our blog on Price Optimization.
b. Retargeting: Its is a commonly known fact that retaining existing customer is much more valuable than acquiring a new one. Three important reasons to focus on customer retention are:
i. Cost of acquiring a new customer could be five times more than retaining a customer.
ii. Existing customers are 25% to 95% more profitable that new customers
iii. The success rate of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%
c. Average Basket Value: This analysis, when done right, has done wonders in increasing revenue and profits. Recommending the commonly bought products, bundling combinations of complementary products in an offer and analyzing the abandoned carts are some of the commonly applied tactics by e-commerce businesses.
How Can We Help
ScaleUp42 is digital marketing technology company built on the principles of data science, behavioural insights and design. Our mission is to support the growth and development of small and mid sized businesses. We help our clients with revenue growth and sales by connecting them with the right customer segments.
1. Audit your business' online presence by doing a SWOT analysis
2. Develop a short-term roadmap to get the things fixed or upgraded
3. We will build the website, social media profiles and profiles on business listing sites
4. Do the necessary customer analysis
5. Execute marketing campaign for you
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org