One silver lining to this dark cloud is the community support SMEs are currently experiencing: Pinterest, for example, recorded an increase of 351% in support of small businesses.
To capitalise on that support, German respondents have recommended ways to remodel customer journeys:
Customer acquisition: using social media
With more of us staying inside, social media usage has seen a 40% increase. To take advantage of this, use the free tools and assistance social media is now offering – helping reach customers, when customers can’t reach businesses:
Purchasing: replace your footfall
Even though shops, bars and restaurants are open in Germany, customers are still avoiding physically visiting businesses. Since regulations were lifted, visitor count has only increased by 29%.
Back in the UK, footfall is unlikely to see a dramatic increase anytime soon – even with the economy starting to open up again. How can businesses capture the support for SMEs without physical customers?
Beyond social media, the use of video call platforms has skyrocketed, with the founder of Zoom seeing his net work increase by $4B.
One business that was surveyed is using video calls to walk customers around their shop, picking up and sending the products customers decide to buy. This is a great idea if you have elderly customers, less accustomed to online shopping.
Receiving the product: deliver, deliver, deliver
In the UK, home deliveries have now increased by more than 100%. Itis vital for every SME possible(that has notalready done so) to offer home delivery, advertise as much on their socialmedia and offer various purchasing alternatives – such as a video-call shopping experience – to boost physical sales.
One way to deliver faster, or make more customer appointments in one day, is by optimising your fleet.
Deliveries are already a focus for many SMEs around the UK at themoment. But whatabout thework behind home deliveries? Can fleet vehicles perform deliveries better and cheaper?
Absolutely. (The impact on business is probably more than you would expect!)
To deal with the demand for deliveries – demand thathas now far eclipsed that of recent Christmas periods – businesses are paying more to hire extra drivers (sometimes without proper training) and asking them to go beyond the permitted driving times, spending more and more money on fuel.
On the other hand, some of the SMEs interviewed are looking for ways to streamlineand optimise their existing fleet. They are managing this while cutting costs, keeping employees safe and their customer deliveries on time.
Of course, this applies to any business on the road, whether it be with deliveries, inventory pick ups or customer appointments.
Employers can save 20% on all fleet-related costs by using a fleet software, for example. Software specialising in the needs of SMEs, like Vimcar, offer products thatoptimise existing fleets, the routes they take, and therefore, conserve fuel and employee related-costs.
The experts surveyed are also recommending turning ‘company cars’ (which can only be used by one employee) into ‘pool cars’ (which can be used by multiple drivers). This not only prevents a fleetvehicle from being under-utilised, but can also save thousands of pounds in tax. The savings here can total an additional 20%-30%.
Of course, having a more efficient fleet means you can deliver more in one day, keeping your all-important customers happy.
Customer growth is a huge challenge at the moment; consumer confidence in the UK is currently at a new decade low and this is not set to change anytime soon. In Germany, where the economy has been open for some time now, economic confidence remains stubbornly low (stuck at around 15% for several months).
Now, more than ever, customer retention is key.
In the aforementioned survey, German SMEs named two main objectives to overcome this challenge: reduce churn (to minimise negative growth) and upsell to existing customers (to compensate for any lack of new customers). Here’s how:
Not knowing when pre-Corona conditions might be re-established, respondents to the survey suggest “to expect a New Normal and adapt long-term business models around newly emerging opportunities.”
Indeed, COVID has been a catalyst for transformation. Now is the time to think about whatchanges have been for thebetter – here are a few to start you off:
This pandemic has left an indelible mark on the way we work. For those able to adapt fast and digitise their core business, there are certainly opportunities out there to succeed – and even excel – throughout and beyond this crisis.
These tips are based on the results of a survey conducted by Vimcar in June 2020.