It’s difficult to estimate just how much disturbance and disruption the COVID-19 has brought into our lives. Especially during this upcoming holiday season, what we used to look forward to such as family gatherings, parties with friends and co-workers would have to be delayed indefinitely until such time that it’s safe for us to meet face-to-face once again.
Being resilient through it all may not be enough. As business owners, we have to do whatever is possible to adjust in order to keep operations running and to prevent laying off more employees. To be fair, the trend in the previous months has been for businesses to make adjustments in terms of their holiday plans. As companies shift towards online shopping and move their marketing efforts online, here’s some more tips on how to prepare for the holiday shopping season during a pandemic.
Create a plan of action early
Even in the previous years pre-pandemic, before the holiday season, businesses traditionally start planning and setting goals early. Now, more than ever, as consumers’ behaviors and preferences have shifted towards online platforms – be ready to offer more Christmas promotions and discounts whether in-store or online. If you’ve planned to move all marketing efforts online, make sure that you have an online channel available for users to view or purchase your products right at the comfort of their own home. If you’ve managed to ride on the Christmas sale dates such as 11.11 or 12.12, make sure that you have enough inventory and are able to plan out the logistics of all online purchases made, and on a timely manner.
Stay flexible during the holidays
As businesses transfer to online selling, being flexible is a must to continue earning. The beauty of e-commerce shopping is that it allows consumers to purchase products anywhere and any time of the day with the trust that the merchant will deliver and fulfill their order on time. But as you continue operations throughout the holidays, consider also your staff. Importantly, set up clear policies outlining how you will handle possible cases of employees testing positive for the virus. Come up with a plan B on how to operate in case of infections or how to move operations remotely in case the need arises.
Improve your online presence
This holiday season is quite different but one thing’s for sure: businesses will now reduce in-store purchases and increase online sales – which means that you need to increase your brand awareness online. Make sure that your website and e-commerce site is updated regularly with the latest promotions and brand updates. Moreover, consider investing in online advertising or social media marketing to reach a wider audience especially during this holiday season when there is traditionally an increase in consumer spending. Ride on the wave of the holiday and reap the benefits of the season.
Consider flexible payment options
As we still follow government protocols in line with the pandemic, physical and traditional payment methods such as cash-on-delivery (COD) or over-the-counter banking are discouraged for the time being. Instead, shift your payments by using online methods such as PayPal, GCash or PayMaya and be more comfortable paying online via credit card. Go cashless and give your customers contactless payment options for safer and smoother transactions.
Keep your customers safe
Aside from making sure your physical stores and office places are safe for your employees, also consider the welfare and safety of your customers. Set up hand sanitizer or alcohol stations at the entrance and exit of your physical store and have clear signages available to direct customers to find what they are looking for faster. Make sure to mark your waiting areas and queues with proper distancing measures and continue to remind your customers to observe social distancing at all times. For customers who are not comfortable with making transactions on your physical store, give them the freedom and choice to purchase your products online. Keep your lines available for clients who have questions about products to lessen the traffic in your physical store and to lower the chances of possible infections.
With more safety protocols to be implemented in the coming weeks, being ready is better than being sorry. At the same time, we’ve entered a new trend of transferring physical stores to online e-commerce. Setting up your online store can be quite a handful but with a digital agency like iManila to help you out – you can rest easy knowing that we have a long term plan to help you continuously grow your business online. What else are you waiting for? Make your move and let iManila maximize your online presence now!