This is branded content.
On the first anniversary of the country's COVID-19 lockdown, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released a report about the pandemic's effects on businesses.
Within a month of closing its borders, companies reported a 66 per cent drop in turnovers and a 64 per cent drop in demand. Over several months, 7 out of 10 companies saw their revenue take a nosedive. (1)
While things are starting to look up, the pandemic is anything but over. The more contagious Delta variant is forcing many cities back into lockdown.
Local authorities understand just how dangerous the disease's siblings can be-Brisbane, for instance, entered a three-day lockdown in early July after recording two Delta cases.
If you want your business to stay afloat amid these hard times, you'll have to take a page from The Art of War: "Plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small."
Any strategy, especially sales, must take the ongoing health crisis into account. Here are a few ways how to do just that.
Determine new trends
The statistics mentioned earlier, however grim, shouldn't discourage you from finding new ways to prosper.
While people could no longer go to shops and stores as freely as before the pandemic, business owners responded by bringing their shops and stores to the people through e-commerce.
A recent GlobalData report posts a bullish forecast for Australia's e-commerce market, posting an estimated 14 per cent growth rate in 2020.
Quarantines and social distancing mean customers will take to their desktop or mobile devices for online shopping. This rising trend also marks the rise of cashless payment methods for the same reasons. (2)
Predicting where and how the market will move in the following years is more crucial than ever.
Business experts recommend taking a close look at your business model and thinking of ways to change it to suit the needs of the new normal.
However indispensable they have been before the pandemic, sticking to the old ways is an excellent way to kill your business.
One way of getting accurate forecast data is with forecasting software tools. Of course, nothing is guaranteed in a volatile market, but state-of-the-art algorithms and deep analysis can nail the numbers close to home.
Such results are good enough to make informed decisions among your staff, maximising revenue and mitigating losses.
Harness social Media
According to a survey of 1,600 Australians, social media use across all mainstream platforms has increased by 20 per cent since the pandemic. (TikTok registered at 57 per cent)
After all, it's their primary, if not only, source of entertainment in a time when malls and arcades were closed. It's also a good way of keeping in touch with friends and relatives while maintaining social distancing. (3)
The survey showed not only the increasing reliance on social media but also the advisable plan of action for business owners.
If it was king before all this, content is now the almighty; people look for brands with relevant messaging more than ever. Producing the right content helps foster trust, which two out of five Aussies in the study agree is essential. (3)
However, experts also advise caution in what they call 'covid-vertising' or posting messages of empathy amid the pandemic.
Business owners can still show their support to the general public by offering ways to make purchasing easier or maintaining a proper channel for any concerns or issues. A personalised approach is also preferable.
Consider affiliate marketing
If you're just starting your business, affiliate marketing is a great way to earn some exposure and capital for growth.
The set-up involves promoting another company's products and services for a share of the revenue or commission. Think of it like the arrangement that popular YouTubers do with their sponsors, making extra for every sale in exchange for 'thanking today's sponsor'.
Affiliate marketing is in an advantageous position to help pull companies back from the brink of collapse.
Experts say COVID has made brand promotions more challenging, as most businesses' tried-and-true sales strategies aren't reaching as many people as they hoped. The banking and financial services sector is taking the worst of the pandemic. (4)
Analysts believe that a company and its affiliate can benefit from this set-up. As the company extends its reach to more groups, the affiliate builds its capital portfolio and competitiveness.
It's unlikely that the pandemic will end anytime soon. Even if it does, the doctrine of doing business can never go back to the way it was before.
Business owners must change or update their approaches while the disease can still be brought under control.
- "One year of COVID-19: Aussie jobs, business and the economy"
- "COVID-19 to drive e-commerce growth in Australia at 10.3% CAGR through 2024, forecasts GlobalData"
- "How the coronavirus crisis brought a new meaning to social media for brands"
- "During COVID, Affiliate Marketing Is Emerging As a Cost-effective Channel For Brands"