COVID-19 showed up with adverse effects on human health. Businesses, especially smaller businesses like physical stores, also went into losses and closures. Business owners couldn’t transition smoothly and in time to meet the requirements of running a business in such conditions. However, things have become much better comparatively, and some proven methods have stabilized various physical stores and businesses to work in a pandemic-ridden world.
Innovation and adapting to the situations make a business stable and nourishing. Every time a problem presents itself, you have to study it, and develop a solution. After the pandemic, there is an imminent need to switch to an online mode of business, where applicable. You can also hire the appropriate help to smoothen the transition and develop user-friendly and efficient systems.
With this transition, the demand-supply chain comes into play. You need to switch to online data collection methods to correctly analyze and predict the supply chain methods. There are people in the market who specialize in these fields and have been working for a long time. Another alternate to hiring these professionals is investing in one of the various management courses offered online, considering their immense benefits.
This article will discuss some methods that can help physical stores compete and grow in current conditions.
The main problem faced by the physical stores is to develop an online presence which is not easy, but also not impossible.
Physical stores need to develop an online presence to compete with the eCommerce stores in the modern world. There are multiple areas, and the different methods work together to cover all consumers’ online platforms. Steps also need to be taken on-ground to ensure the physical stores stay relevant in the communities. Building an effective online presence depends on the following factors, and it can help you stay afloat during this pandemic.
- eCommerce Stores
- Ads and Brand-Building
- Consumer-Oriented Service
- Innovative Ideas
1. eCommerce Stores
Since the pandemic, eCommerce has become the go-to for anything consumer-related. The mode of ordering something and getting it delivered to your home is being used a lot more compared to pre-pandemic times. It is evident by a 33.6% growth in the eCommerce industry in 2020. There is a choice from several online stores like Amazon, Shopify and Etsy. Building your eCommerce website is another feasible option. It requires some extra time and investments, but it is worth it in the long run.
2. Ads and Brand-Building
One pre-pandemic advantage of physical stores was loyal and returning customers. Companies rely on customer loyalty for word-of-mouth marketing that generates new potential customers. But this method couldn’t work during the pandemic. Further, its efficiency was reduced post-pandemic even more due to changes in consumer behavior.
That’s where your online presence comes in.
If you want to catch up with online businesses, you need to invest in the consumer platforms like Facebook and Instagram. According to research, the highest eCommerce websites traffic was generated by Google (2.1%) followed by Facebook (1.5%). Investment in such ads will help the physical stores build up an online presence. It is necessary to stay in the market and keep in touch with the community.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It has become a necessary tool for building an online presence. A good SEO strategy will lead to more people finding your business online, resulting in increased potential customers and a higher reach.
According to a 2017 study, almost 38% of the retailer traffic came from organic searches—a result of implementing a proper SEO strategy. Online shopping was not as trendy as it is now; this should highlight the importance of SEO for developing an online presence.
3. Consumer-Oriented Services
The working model of physical stores is very different compared to online stores. With the shift to online mediums, consumers have grown used to that system and its efficiency. To attract customers and compete with the online stores, traditional businesses need to adjust. Data collection and analysis are necessary to keep up with the latest trends. The results can be used to offer the relevant deals and incentives to the consumers to choose physical stores over shopping online. Other consumer-oriented services can be
- Ease of billing
- Easy payment plans
4. Innovative Ideas
Human beings tend to experiment and try different things. Consumers get curious about anything that stands out from the crowd and catches their eye. The same is the case with businesses, especially physical stores, which heavily rely on aesthetics, the décor, and the appeal to attract potential customers.
Depending on their experiences, one-time customers can become regular customers. Now that things are going back to normal gradually, innovation in the business industry is important. Any ideas that can make your business stand out from the rest will be useful in getting the target audience inside your store.
One such method is to get community recognition for your business by helping out the community, which can be done in multiple ways.
- Involving different businesses in setting up discounted items for communities in need is one way.
- Taking care of financially depressed people through easy payment plans is also a good method.
- Various NGOs are working in different communities and taking care of their needs. You can partner up with them and use their platforms to help the community.
COVID-19 has changed the behavioral and shopping patterns of consumers drastically. Pre-pandemic, online shopping was mainly used for luxury or leisure items. Now, even the groceries are being delivered to doorsteps in pandemic-stricken countries. Consumers are more oriented towards eCommerce stores now and to get their attention, you need to change strategies.
The purpose of going online is to remain relevant and attract customers to the physical stores. This also includes being involved in the communities. Different organizations and NGOs are helping the communities, and you can join them to retain the community loyalties and help them get back on their feet. You also need to stay with the latest trends using the online data available on consumer behavior.