COVID-19 changed the digital landscape for local businesses around the world and the long term economic impacts are starting to shake out. More than one in five of the US’s 30 million small businesses say they could close permanently in the next two months because of the coronavirus pandemic, retail being hit harder than most industries. But it’s not all bad news and the future is optimistic for small businesses.
Watch the broadcast of our latest Search Sessions here, or read on for some of the key takeaways from Vendasta‘s Jeff Tomlin.
SMBs are Adopting E-commerce
E-commerce has grown substantially since March 2020. In just eight weeks, we have seen unprecedented acceleration in e-commerce, more than in the last 10 years. Google also saw an increase in trends for users searching “e-commerce.” As shopping migrated online, it triggered a surge in delivery. Housewares, home furnishing, food, and sporting goods are leading the sales surge. Small businesses are evolving and surviving. We are seeing an increase in businesses adopting e-commerce as they adapt to the changes.
The Way We Work is Evolving
Businesses are shifting their work environment and their processes. The effects of the pandemic will continue to change our work habits. More frequent and less formal communication will become the norm. We are creating new habits with more employees working remotely than ever before, and when done well, remote works. As businesses move online, we are seeing an accelerating of our digital lives.
Freemium Products and Customer Retention
Companies need to find new ways to help their business clients with their digital acceleration. You need to build trust with your customers. Offering free solutions is critical so that wary business owners can move beyond the fear of lost revenues. Local businesses can’t afford to buy before they try new products and they don’t have the time to waste on sales calls. Offering “freemium” products helps your clients see a path forward and you will retain more customers. The traditional acquisition model of driving down the funnel to a sale is no longer effective in the post-COVID age. And although recovery for businesses will be slow, we can lessen the long-term blow.
The Digital Acceleration is Here
We can sell online and anyone can do it. Start by putting your inventory on your website. Adopt e-commerce as a B2B and as a consumer. Make it easy for your customers to contact you. Consumers are adapting to these new buying habits brought on by COVID-19. Make sure you have an efficient path for the entire customer journey. Trust and strength are returning to local economies.