Economists are predicting that the next several quarters will consist largely of negative growth across every industry, which could hurt small business owners the most. Sole proprietorships are often among those hardest hit because they tend to have the smallest cash reserves.
It’s important not to lose heart no matter how desperate the situation looks, however. Around 30.2 million small businesses continue to operate in the United States alone. There are a number of ways that your company can copy at least some of their success and draw in more customers.
Perhaps the biggest source of new revenue could come from people who already do business with your organization.
Leveraging Existing Customer Relationships
Chances are that you have a long list of existing customers who only buy from your organization on an infrequent basis. By staying in touch with your customers regularly, you may be able to bring more traffic to your site. That could translate into increased sales without having to market to clients that you don’t know anything about. If you want to try this tactic, then make sure to send out professionally targeted eCommerce mail messages that make sense for your existing client base.
You know them better than anyone, so you can judge for yourself whether they’d actually respond well to a certain type of sales message. Keep in mind that people receive countless emails and SMS text messages every day. If you’re sending out something that isn’t valuable to them, then it probably won’t even get opened.
Don’t forget to grow your mailing list. By offering incentives for those who signup, you can grow your email list relatively quickly. If you have a physical store, then you’ll want to consider using a tablet or other mobile device to sign people up as they check out. You could even offer a certain percentage off to those who sign up when they make a purchase.
Offering Flexible Payment Options
Businesses that continue to offer only one or two payment options for their customers might be seriously hurting themselves when it comes to attracting new customers. Offer as many different types of payment options as you possibly can. Some consumers are increasingly uncomfortable with using traditional payment methods. This is in part due to convenience and also a result from an increased emphasis on privacy. Security-minded consumers may want to use more exotic payment methods, which might be difficult for typical retailers to accommodate.
Contactless payment methods have also received a healthy amount of publicity in the last few months. Now that consumers are used to them, they’ve become part of a trend that shows no sign of slowing down. Fortunately, there are prepackaged software solutions that can help you accept payments from a wide variety of services. Those in the restaurant sector might want to consider a self-contained food truck POS system that takes care of everything for them.
This software can automatically accept a number of different types of payments without prompting the cashier for much in the way of input. That’s especially important for food truck operators, since they’re already working in relatively cramped conditions. Retailers might want to consider virtual cash register systems that can deal with multiple types of mobile payments, since there’s a good chance that retail shoppers will want to use contactless payment systems.
Some people might insist on using cryptocurrency, especially if you’re involved in a market sector that has a tendency to attract those interested in privacy issues. If that’s the case, then you might be surprised to learn that many POS applications actually support most of the popular tokens. If your customers want to use Ethereum or Bitcoin, then they shouldn’t have much difficulty doing so. Those who have the budget to do so may want to hire a digital ad agency to help promote the fact that they accept a much wider array of payment options than competitors do.
Certain segments of your customer base might be more interested in your firm’s values. That means you won’t want to focus exclusively on payment processing when it comes time to improve your business.
Attracting Value-based Consumers in a Recession
Members of Generation Z have never known a time without the Internet, so they might not even believe many marketing claims that aren’t verifiable with a quick search. At the same time, quite a few mature consumers are increasingly concerned about environmental issues and health-related problems. If you want to attract these kinds of shoppers, then you’ll want to make sure any claims about your products are completely honest.
Online retailers that sell organic goods should make sure that everything they sell are certified by an outside product auditor. A number of organizations are now accredited to perform this kind of service. Those who market fashion items will want to verify that everything they carry is free of low-quality counterfeit merchandise.
Building a trustworthy brand in this way can help you to not only attract customers that are interested in these issues, but also show that you’re serious about offering a fair deal to everyone who buys from you. By delivering consumers what they want, you can be sure that your business will grow even if competition gets extremely stiff.