This week meant a lot of things for South Africa. A national state of disaster was declared, travel bans were implemented, schools were closed and many people being forced to work from home. The main theme around though – social distancing. It’s a phrase that is becoming more important and the days go on, with it becoming the best way to flatten the curve. This also means that you need to rethink how you market your business to your customers. If you are a small business that sells products or services, here are some tips to help during the COVID-19 novel coronavirus outbreak:
1. Keep product information up-to-date, accurate and relevant
During this time, people might still be visiting your site if they are in need of your products or services. Giving them false information about delivery times or your stock levels have a detrimental effect on your brand’s loyalty and trustworthiness. If orders are going to an extra month to arrive, or even not at all, this needs to be stated upfront on your site. The same goes with the service industry. If your business means clients coming to or you going to them, you need to state upfront if this time will be reduced to accommodate the social distancing guidelines.
It’s also very important to show if your product or service is safe to use during this time.
2. Be fair with your pricing
Just because there is now a shortage of products are services, doesn’t mean you get to raise your prices. Price gauging in South Africa is a serious offense. If your goods are now in high demand, then that’s good for you, but don’t take advantage of it. If you are supplying critical supplies, such as masks or hygiene equipment, it might even be beneficial to lower your prices in order to give more people access to these products.
3. Keep your customers informed
Does the outbreak mean delays in receiving stock? Does social distancing mean you won’t be able to visit many clients? If the outbreak is going to cause any type of inconvenience to your customers – they need to know. Rather be honest, as even though you will lose sales, at least it will aid your brand’s trust and loyalty. Lying or staying quiet will only lead to disgruntled customers.
Our advice – send all your clients an email, SMS or even call them to let them know how your business will be affected.
4. Help promote community aid
Healthcare and other social services may soon become overwhelmed due to the outbreak. There may be ways you can help your communities cope with supplies, technology, expertise, donations, or even logistics support. Call or email places that might be in short supply of goods (such as masks or hand sanitisers) and see if there is any way you can assist. It’s a win-win, as you are helping your community directly, but also showing your customers that you are taking this outbreak seriously. This, in turn, can help improve your brand’s recognition. For example, COVID-19: Perfume giants Louis Vuitton are planning to make hand sanitisers in factories for the French government. However, simple techniques, such as promoting the Government’s WhatsApp contact for any COVID-19 queries is a good start.
In the end, we really want everyone to stay safe during this time, as well as to stay educated. Our hearts go out to those people and businesses who are currently struggling during this tough time.