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Coronavirus, Is your Website Ready for the Coronavirus?

IS YOUR WEBSITE READY FOR THE CORONAVIRUS?

Coronavirus, Is your Website Ready for the Coronavirus?

With the upcoming national lockdown looming over every South African’s head, many businesses are facing the uncertainty of how the next three weeks will affect their financial year’s performance. As customers ready themselves for self-isolation, the majority brick and mortar businesses are expected to be the worst affected as they close their doors on Thursday, 26 March. However, not all business will share the same fate – and no I am not referring to the businesses that have been given the thumbs up by President Cyril Ramaphosa to trade as per normal. In actual fact, I’m referring to businesses who have a website, albeit an online shop or not.

Bain & Company reported that countries, which have recently gone through a lockdown situation have an unexpected boom in website traffic and online shopping. I’d predict that the same will happen on our shores as self-isolated customers will idle their time away browsing online, uninterrupted by distractions over the next 3 weeks.

 If my prediction is correct, I’d encourage any South African business to adapt their strategy and reach into the online space to find their customers. When done proactively and correctly, you’ll find your customers waiting expectantly on the other side of the screen with their credit card in hand! I’m glad you asked. Here are my 5 strategies to make your website ready for the Coronavirus.

01: Make it easier to buy online

02: Launch an online-to-offline service!

03: Monetise your service!

04: Add artificial intelligence

05: [Most importantly] Keep customers updated

Coronavirus, Is your Website Ready for the Coronavirus?

01: Make it easier to buy online?

If you currently have an online store, make sure that it is set up to accommodate a larger amount of traffic as more and more customers will turn to the world wide web for solutions to their needs and wants.

Hire a professional web designer to correctly configure your online store settings to ensure that customers have a seamless online shopping experience. This is not the time to risk a website crash when analysts are predicting the next 3 weeks to offer the best eCommerce spike for 2020, similar to that of Black Friday 2019.

02: Launch an online-to-offline service!

Offline business who don’t sell their wares online can also get in on the action by adapting their business strategy to offer an online-to-offline (O2O) service. In simple terms, O2O identifies, correctly matches and then targets high-converting customers online to entice them into a physical store.

It is projected that more than 80% of retail sales will still happen at physical locations within several days after the lockdown is completed. How well you communicate with and market to your customers online while they are tucked away at home will greatly affect how well your business will land on its feet when the lockdown dust settles. If you aren’t sure how to hit the ground running with an O2O strategy, the best would be to not waste time and rather hire a professional web designer.

03: Monetise your service!

When you hear or read the phrase, “selling services,” you may not see how it applies to you. Perhaps you associate it with subscription services, or the service industry itself. But you don’t need to be a Netflix executive or a sommelier to sell services. That’s because when your skillset is a product of its own, it’s a service. Coaching, consulting and designing are all services.

Make it easier for your customers to still enjoy your services by setting up an online interface on your website where potential customers can essentially buy your time and skill set. For example, I’ve heard of a music teacher who sells piano lessons by the hour to her students on her website and then practices with them via Skype, Zoom or the like. Now is the time to get creative as customers propensity to experiment and trial new ways of purchasing your services via alternative means will be at a welcome high! Hire a website designer to help you set up the best way to monetise your service.

04: Add artificial intelligence

Even while all your staff are at home, you still have one salesperson who will be hard at work during the lockdown. So, give it some artificial intelligence and improve its ability to interact and engage with your customers online.

One way to do this is through a chatbot that answers simple questions posed by customers visiting your page. The beauty of a chatbot is that it will improve overtime as it becomes accustomed to your audience. Hire a professional web designer and build a chatbot for your site.

Read more about how to use chatbots here.

05: [Most importantly] Keep customers updated

With so many false stories making the rounds on social media, make sure that you own your business news by staying at the forefront. Be proactive and make an effort to keep your customers up to date about your business operations through your website.

Hire an experienced web designer to develop a newsroom page for your website where you can share news as and when it happens with your customers. Alternatively, have a web designer create a pop-up alert for your website that offers to the point updates with the option to subscribe to a company newsletter for uninterrupted updates.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Remember that a lockdown doesn’t mean a showdown! So, sit down and evaluate your business and identify ways that you can reach the self-isolated customer with oodles of time to spare with innovative out-of-the-box website strategies.

Oh, and one more thing, if you want to hire a professional web designer to help, click here.

How are you preparing for the looming lockdown? Will your website  serve you well when you close your doors?

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