Recent statistics show that 75% of BC residents, 60% of all Canadians and 44% of United States citizens have had at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. Restrictions are easing and many of us are very much looking forward to long-awaited visits with family and friends. While the pandemic situation is abating, pretty much all prognosticators agree that there is no going back to what we used to call “normal.”
Big events in our lives change us. Big global events change us all. While we expect a lot of social activity over the summer months, and with that a boost to those who cater to road-trippers and outdoor enthusiasts, by fall the “new normal” is going to set in. What does that look like? Here’s what we predict.
Convenience will Rule
While no one was very happy about being basically under house arrest, the conveniences we discovered are going to stick. Particularly in the fall and winter, consumers are going to continue to take advantage of conveniences like ordering groceries online and having medical appointments by phone. If you started offering a more convenient way to buy your products or services, you’re going to want to plan for that to become long-term. If you haven’t yet changed your ways, you might want to consider doing so soon.
Bubbles will Include “Go-To” Businesses
The notion of “bubbles” of people initiated as a safety measure against spreading the virus will stay in people’s minds. This is a great opportunity to build the kind of customer loyalty that pays off time and time again, over years to come. Stay in touch with any clients or customers you’ve had over the past year like they were your mother. Send them birthday cards, great discount offers, a newsletter, or whatever else is appropriate for your company – but stay in touch, and stay top of mind. This is particularly important if you provide a service or deliver directly to someone’s home.
Volume Sales will Trump Price Hikes
A lot of businesses have been significantly set-back by the pandemic and now that folks are out and about again, it’s tempting to raise prices to offset those losses. Our advice is don’t. The cost of living has risen for all of the basics and things like rent increases that have been put off are going to hit hard. Take a look at your financial situation to see if you can avoid charging more by attracting more customers instead. Then get your existing customers involved in adding to your base. Use your email and social platforms to “make a deal” with them; e.g., help you gain a 20% increase in customers and you won’t raise prices for at least a year.
Local will Work, if…
The shop-local sentiment will remain valuable, but you’ll have to offer value to take advantage of it. If I can buy it on Amazon cheaper and have it delivered to my door for free, I’m not going to buy it locally. But, if I know who you are; know that you support the community; know that you offer quality products for only a few cents more, then I will buy from you. Get yourself into the local newspaper. Tell your story on social media. Post pictures of your staff (and if they’re family, all the better!) Sponsor a popular fundraiser for a local charity. Advertise as a locally owned and operated business.
Remote and Flexible Work Hours are Here to Stay
There are benefits to embracing work-from-home and flexible work schedules, so don’t be too anxious to get everyone back around the same table. Once a week in-person meetings might be beneficial to keep everyone moving in the same direction, but being too stringent about when and where work gets done may well decrease productivity and morale.
If you need help to offer more online services, stay in touch with customers, or design and implement a promotional campaign, just give us a call!