Times have certainly changed in the past few months. The way we socialize, work and shop just to name a few. We are seeing local brick and mortar businesses struggling to stay afloat while online shopping has hit an all time high. What does this mean for your online retail business? With trends of online shopping hitting an all time high in February 2020, there is no indication to suggest that is going to lower any time soon. And with the right buyer engagement and tools, you can see this trend in your online business as well.
I have some tips and tricks to make sure that you are keeping your buyers engaged and returning as repeat customers.
Now is the time to communicate with your customers. Let them know that you are there for them to support them during this unprecedented time. Things are strange for everyone and having any normalcy and contact is a comfort. Online shopping has become a comfort but with individual financial woes on the rise as well, you need to make sure that what you are offering is relevant and poignant.
Now, more than ever, is the time to have a strong online presence and to really engage with your customers. It is the time to have a customized email marketing campaign or to start that YouTube channel. These can be used to proactively communicate how you are handling social distancing as a company and to have your brand stand out against others. It can also provide valuable free content for your clients in a time of financial uncertainty. For that reason, offering free shipping or a discount on large purchases is also good option right now. Having specialized campaigns for repeat customers is also a viable way to make sure that what you are offering them is relevant to their needs.
Community engagement is always pertinent and necessary to any online business but many marketers I know would argue that now it is more important than ever. A good online presence must include community engagement and management. It is how the online community learns how a brand handles customer service and what their brand voice is. With the right messages given to the community, a brand can flourish. With wrong or no community management a brand can crash faster than a meteorite plummets to the earth.
What is community engagement and management? It is all the communication you have with your online community on the various social media channels. It is responding to online comments and thanking for praises. It is tagging and engaging with brands that align with your own. It is responding to and resolving online complaints and concerns. And it is being interested and interesting to those that are taking the time to follow your social media and engage with you. Every person who engages with you has the potential to be a client of your brand even if they have yet to make their first purchase. What you do with your online presence will, in a lot of cases, either bring that person in as a client or push them away forever.
With more free time, people are spending more time online. Now is the time to really tighten that social media game and make sure that you are posting relevant, engaging content on a consistent basis. I use an engagement platform to write, schedule and analyze my online channels. A good option is Hootsuite but if you prefer something more budget friendly, Buffer does the job very well.
I also like to use a content calendar to plan my content and campaigns out ahead of time. It doesn’t need to be fancy. Hubspot offers a free template that works just fine. An excel spreadsheet can do the trick nicely also.
Although working from home is not new to most online retailers, this is still a time of change. And it a time when being vigilant about organization are paramount in remaining productive. I am finding that I have more distractions than normal during my online workday simply because there are more people with free time right now. My phone is ringing more. My texts are buzzing all day and there is so much content, and news being shared around social media it is staggering.
So how do I stay productive? I keep a schedule. I plan my week ahead of time and shut my phone off during work times. I schedule productivity blocks of 2-3 hours in length and I don’t deviate from them. I make sure I have everything I need at hand before I begin so that I minimalize the chances of getting distracted. I make sure I have all the tools I need to make my day run smoothly and I keep a running list of next actions, so that I don’t forget to email that client back or bring that shipment to the post office. And I automate my inventory. This is more important now than ever with merchandise being delivered late and inventory coming and going at such a rapid rate.
To make my inventory management seamless, I use my own online inventory management software, ByteConn. It tracks inventory and returns seamlessly. And the best part? You can try it for free.
In these changing times, it is easy to lose productivity or motivation to keep building your brand. It seems like we are getting one bad news story after another. But with online sales at their all time high, as an online retailer now is the time to boost your brand and sales. With the simple tips I’ve just shown you, it can be fun and lucrative to increase your revenue. And that is peace of mind in an uncertain time.