As of January 2020, the world had a digital population of almost 4.54 billion people, with about 59% of everyone on earth recorded as active internet users. These stats prove just how vital it is for your business to not only have an online presence, but also to use this presence wisely.
Given the recent temporary closure of many brick and mortar stores and restaurants, a number of businesses have creatively adapted their offerings to suit an online clientele, in order to continue trading. In this article, we’ll take a look at both why and how you should consider looking into making your services online-friendly, as well as highlighting a few good examples.
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Many businesses rely on face to face customer contact to carry out their services or to present their products, so this current period of social distancing has proved to be a real challenge to daily business. Be it fitness instructors and gyms or make up artists and beauty salons, these customer facing companies are starting to shift their services to suit the online world to ultimately allow them to continue transacting.
Additionally, stores, restaurants and bars have of course also seen a drop in the number of customers due to their locations being shut. With the rules currently in place, many of these businesses are adapting to the challenge and offering virtual services instead.
Also, with the limitations on people leaving their homes, there’s ultimately less chance that potential customers can walk past your storefront so having an online presence is one of the only ways to promote your services and to stay in touch with your customers during this time.
When it comes to moving your services online there’s plenty of scope for creativity and experimentation. Depending on the nature of your business, you can adapt your offerings into internet-friendly services. For example, gyms can offer online workouts to continue working and motivating customers from the comfort of their homes.
In fact, video tutorials are a great way to ensure that your products are shown to a wide audience. Jewelry stores or furniture shops could look into offering advice webinars and play-along guides on how to craft a necklace using a product kit sold by the store, or showing the best products to clean and polish certain pieces.
Restaurants and cafes can also get in on the action. As well as incorporating deliveries to their services, a number of gastronomy businesses have streamed cook-along videos on their websites and social media channels. Some have also offered downloadable versions of their most popular dishes or recipes. These can be distributed with an email campaign to engage existing house-bound customers and keep them aware and up-to-date with news about your business. Posting about these initiatives on social media is also a great way to encourage new people to take an interest in your services.
Look into the best video tools for your specific purposes. Maybe a Facebook or Instagram Live story would work best and encourage interaction and participation from viewers if you’re showing quick tips or plan to run a series of tutorials. Or, perhaps using a platform like YouTube or Zoom would suit the situation better if you are planning to record the video and distribute it via an email campaign and store for a longer period of time.
A business which has adapted to the current challenge with an innovative response is Bottega Verde. In normal circumstances, a sales representative hosts a physical sales party in a customer’s home to showcase Bottega Verde’s health and beauty products.
Given the nature of the business, the current situation posed a real question; with the halt on these physical sales parties how would the sales representatives still be able to sell their products?
With this in mind, some of Bottega Verde’s sales representatives, like Thomas Peter, got creative. When the outbreak hit, Thomas decided to experiment with video recordings of himself showcasing the products.
“I overcame my own insecurities and scepticism and recorded videos of myself and the awesome Bottega Verde products. In the videos I tested the products, demonstrated how to apply them and then put the videos on Facebook and Instagram. I still wasn’t convinced but I decided to see what happened.”
To his surprise, Thomas’s videos were a great success with lots of customers ordering brochures and placing orders. And, armed with a new sense of motivation, he decided to post a new video every day to highlight the company’s different products.
At the end of March, Thomas even held his first Whatsapp Bottega Verde selling party to keen customers.
Even in these uncertain times, his new initiatives and creative ideas ensured that March was Thomas’s best month in terms of revenue and he’s now encouraging others to experiment too.
“Try different things, put yourself out there, be creative and don’t be scared.”
Another great example of a SumUp merchant adapting their business to an online clientele is LüttLiv. The Hamburg restaurant has turned to Instagram Live to engage with their customers via a weekly virtual pub quiz.
“Before the outbreak, we held a pub quiz called “Fox meets Owl” once a week where our guests could get together for a cosy evening and quiz. We loved these evenings very much, so it was no question for us to try to continue running the quiz online. Now, we hold a slightly shorter quiz every Sunday via Instagram Live where we run 3 rounds and offer great prizes, including ones for teams who send us in photos of themselves playing at home.”
LüttLiv also got creative with their delivery service, making their pub quiz evenings even more interactive for participants.
“During the quiz, our guests can also order food and drinks from us via our delivery service which we then cycle to them.
“It’s nice for us to see that our guests continue to have fun with the quizzes and it’s a great opportunity for us to stay in touch with them. It’s really nice to see how our guests are supporting us at the moment.”
There are loads of inspiring ways that businesses are adapting to the hurdles that this period is throwing them. From virtual classes to social media forums, making your products and services online-friendly can help to make sure that your business can continue to transact during this time.
It can also provide a great opportunity to expand your customer base and to experiment with initiatives that would be harder to execute in a physical store.
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