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COVID-19 Business Trends and 4 Different Ways to Take Your Business Online (Infographic)

Adapt to COVID-19, Not Just React

It is clear now that the economic landscape has probably changed and shifted forever because of the COVID-19 pandemic and correlated business shutdowns. Many businesses have chosen the resiliency to adapt quickly, and we want to support with as much guidance as possible on all the ways we can make it through this difficult time, even thrive with some new opportunities. 

Here are some immediate steps: 

1. Craft appropriate messaging 

Make sure you are clear on how your business is operating and if you are open, during the crisis. Customers want to hear an acknowledgement of the crisis and an awareness of health policies so they are protected. Are you offering curbside delivery? Are you lowering delivery costs? Are your staff instructed to maintain physical distance? Be clear, and get the message across all your channels. 

2. Demonstrate how your business can help

Customers will remember how your business chooses to act or not act, to the extent it can, during the crisis. As a community, we will celebrate those that shut down appropriately, those who retooled operations to support the crisis and those in support of front line workers.  

3. Plan for long term shutdown 

No one has an exact answer how long shut downs will last, and for which industries. Consider worst case scenarios of a year or longer. If your products and services are still needed by customers, plan for a future where it can be offered. Likely these operations will involve some kind of digitalization, so see what tools are options are available for your business.

Current Consumer Trends to Consider

No doubt, consumer behavior predictions are out the door. During these unprecedented times, what people are buying and how they’re conserving limited funds is completely novel. Here are some trends to consider. 

Source: Visual Capitalist

1. Stay at home activities 

From dumbbells to paint sets, people are investing in products that enhance their stay at home living situations. New hobby trends are evolving to reflect what can be done from home. Small businesses like art studios are finding innovative ways of offering DIY kits to provide activities for people to do at home.

2. Cooking accessories 

With time on their hands, many people are turning to DIY cooking. Bread makers are now sold out across Amazon. Appliances, accessories and kits that help these activities have seen a surge of demand.

3. Self development 

As schools and higher education institutions close for the school year, self improvement inclined individuals continue to look for avenues to stay productive. Most bigger software companies offering a marketplace of courses are expensive, meaning there is opportunity in smaller, niche courses especially if the teacher already has an online audience. 

4. Online shopping

Existing online shops and delivery apps have seen surges in usage. Business experts are speculating that this might have been the push a lot of late adopters needed to finally embrace technology as a means for purchasing products, meaning that a wider audience will either have had experience with online shopping or are a frequent online shopper. 

5. Local delivery apps

Instacart saw an 150% increase in recent weeks. Food and other local delivery apps have been relied on now more than ever. Their convenience clear, they set the bar for fast, efficient, contactless delivery for consumers. 

4 Ways to Take Your Business Online

1. Ecommerce websites

DIY Skill Level: 7/10
Cost: $$$

Offer your merchandise, menu items or food products as ecommerce products. Try to offer free shipping options and offer discounts once in a while, a lot of customers visit websites like Raise every day in order to find the best coupon codes. Take payments online with a payment processor like Stripe. Make sure you answer as many questions upfront as possible like size, contents, ingredients and any other questions from customers you usually get. In order to do this you need to consider looking for a good internet provider that will boost your business to the next level. Eatel business announced that with an extensive high-speed fiber network your business will do more in less time,

DIY: Use Shopify or Squarespace to create an online shop. Keep it simple, include good quality photos, pricing and descriptions.

Ecommerce Website Design: $3200-$6800 (depending on number of products)

Tips for Specific Industries: 

  • Restaurants & Food
    • Offer curbside pickup and fast delivery options
    • Try to keep costs of delivery low
    • Consider frozen or reheat-able meal options
    • Get photos with good lighting
    • Clarify ingredients and menu item contents
    • Avoid high delivery app fees 
  • Retail 
    • Offer curbside pickup and fast delivery options
    • Offer free delivery with minimum purchase requirements
    • Offer financing options for more expensive productions with financial partners
    • Make sure photos are high quality, show multiple angels if relevant

2. Booking/Order Form Websites

DIY Skill Level: 4/10
Cost: $

Have a simple order form on your website with custom fields for customers to choose from. Offer pickup or delivery options. Try to take payments online if possible to streamline the process. If you’re creating something from scratch, keep it a simple landing page to link people to.   

DIY: Use WIX or Squarespace to create a simple landing form with a menu and photos. Have the form at the bottom of the page.

Landing Page Cost: $2200-$4000 (depending on number of pages)

Tips for Specific Industries:

  • Caterers
    • Great for bulk order dinner options 
    • Allow input of specific options (type of meat, etc)
  • Retail
    • Fast, flexible alternative to shop
    • Great for custom products, add fields for customization aspects
  • Services
    • Book free online consultations 
    • Use forms to collect deposits

3. Video Conference Sales

DIY Skill Level: 4/10
Cost: $

Most classes such as tutoring, workouts, coaching, etc. can be offered online through video conferencing. Create custom links through Zoom, Go-To Meeting, Google Hangouts and make them available on payments through a website. Many existing instructors already have existing customers that  know and love them. Simply offer an easy way to pay online and a virtual delivery. To optimize profits, offer an ongoing subscription for continuous clientele.  

DIY: Use Shopify or Squarespace to make a landing page where you use Stripe or to accept one-time and ongoing payments.

Payment Website: $2800-$4000 

Tips for Specific Industries: 

  • Education
    • Emphasize value adds for students no longer in school
    • Enforce turning on video for a in-classroom like experience
    • Create community through engagement encouragement
  • Fitness Instruction
    • Offer no equipment and apartment friendly exercise options 
    • Create scheduled live class for optimal participation
    • Charge a similar amount to in class exercises 

4. Digital Downloads/Membership Portal

DIY Skill Level: 9/10
Cost: $$$

Have videos, ebooks and worksheets that could be available for download? Create an online portal where students can login and access it after making a one time or ongoing subscription payment. You can create different tiers of memberships, support chats and even discussion boards for your special niche. 

DIY: WordPress membership plugins are available but require some knowledge to implement and customize.

Calgary Website Development: $6000+

Tips for Specific Industries: 

  • Professional training
    • Offer certification in area of expertise
    • Create timed digital assessments
  • Community forum
    • Allow social profiles and forum discussion to share resources
    • Build free platform, then offer premium memberships
  • Tutoring
    • Premium worksheets, materials 
    • Cater to parents looking to fill up free student time