The coronavirus pandemic has affected markets everywhere, and many companies have been forced to suspend their activities in order to prevent the spread of the disease. According to data from Portal Cielo, retail in Brazil has dropped by 29%, impacting mainly small retailers. Large companies are adapting and strengthening their presence in e-commerce, offering discounts on their products through digital media and learning how to increase sales.
In addition to value, quality of products and terms of payment, another factor has had a major influence on Brazilians’ purchasing behaviour in recent years: the security of e-commerce retail platforms. If you are wondering how to increase sales, this is unavoidable. 6 out of 10 marketing leaders believe that the most critical requirement for today’s customer is privacy and responsible data handling, according to a recent survey in the Chief Marketing Officer Council’s Report.
Three years ago, e-commerce made up around 10% of global retail sales. Last year, that number rose to 14%. The forecast for 2020 was 16%, but with physical stores closing due to the pandemic, the number is expected to be higher still. In this recent e-commerce boom, ensuring a virtual environment that is impervious to leaks, fraud and other cybercrimes is vital to increasing sales.
This means that the performance of websites today is even more important than in the past. When a digital experience is not as fast or as secure as the customer expects, they will simply turn to another website to purchase a particular product. Though the timeline is unclear, the COVID-19 lockdown will eventually end and, to maintain the increase in sales, companies will need to stand out from the competition.
It’s safe to say that a lot will have to change in a post-COVID world, and we’ll all have to get used to the new reality. Even with the virus under control, the situation inside stores won’t exactly go back to normal. Retailers need to redouble their efforts to bring sales back up again, but how should they go about it?
Investing in alternative ideas to complement your product or service is key when considering how to increase sales. These could range from a partnership with another brand that is complementary to yours, to a personalised experience or offer to consumers. This can help gain the confidence of people looking for unconventional products on which to pin their loyalty. If customers are not going into your stores, take your products to them by advertising, and making your product irresistible. While shoppers will eventually go back to buying in-store, they will want to maintain social distance, shorter shopping trips and less friction during the journey – so implementing new and faster strategies is the order of the day.
Anytime and anywhere
Develop new ways for your product or service to be reached by consumers. Whether it’s in-store, on your website, through WhatsApp, social media, call centre or over the phone, increase sales by making it possible for the customer to choose the best channel to reach your brand, where they feel most comfortable making the purchase. Making yourself available to your clients will make all the difference – and so will making yourself unforgettable. One of the best ways to “be everywhere” is through PR efforts and social media engagement. Creating brand awareness within the media is a surefire way to get your business’ message out there.
Safety of customers and store staff
Take care of your customers by protecting their data, both online and offline. This period of social isolation has drawn the attention of hackers and fraudsters, opening doors for increasingly sophisticated attacks and posing a real challenge for virtual retailers. Make sure that your website is protected and that your e-commerce is delivering as promised. In the ‘offline world’, make sure that your store follows WHO guidelines. Show off everything that your brand does to earn consumer’s trust, and turn it into actions, tools and applications.
Be socially responsible
People want to feel empathy and protection from brands in the face of the crisis, and they will question how genuine a company’s support is when facing this moment together. The new “corporate role” is to show the humanitarian side of a company behind the brand – not only in the context of the pandemic, but of other sensitive matters as well. A recent global study by Teads and Global Web Index (GWI) points out that digital transformation and new technologies are radically altering the behaviour of consumers, with 45% saying their purchases are ecologically conscious, for example. Consumers value socially responsible companies, and their preferences are swayed towards products that show respect for society and the environment.
Learning how to increase sales during difficult times is not easy, but it is possible. Update your messaging, content strategies and customer service tactics to best support your customers through this period, and start to look ahead. Even though things will be different for a long time, people will start going out and consuming again — and businesses need to be ready for when that happens. Keep in mind that every business has its particularities and challenges, so pay attention to your consumer, listen to what they have to say, and be honest in your promotions and offers. Keep it simple and consistent and above all, understand your customers’ needs.
<<< 101 Tip #14: How to measure the results of a PR Campaign
101 Tip #16: How does technology affect public relations professionals’ life? >>>