Oftentimes in the business world, change is forced by necessity. The havoc wreaked by COVID-19 has sent shockwaves throughout world economies and the coming months look set to bring a recession that will dwarf the 2008 financial crisis.
European markets will be among the hardest hit by financial hardship in the coming months. As the continent that’s been significantly affected by the COVID pandemic, international trading and production have largely ground to a hal–leaving brick-and-mortar businesses hamstrung by the circumstances.
It’s imperative that businesses continue to find revenue in spite of the restrictive climate. So it’s perhaps no surprise that 20 percent of micro-businesses in the UK have already set themselves up with an online presence for the first time in a bid to innovate their way to survival. According to Business Matters, a further 45 percent have turned to social media, and almost half have stated that they’ve improved their online capabilities.
As Europe faces up to a period of sustained hardship, an already competitive retail landscape will see widespread losses. The importance of businesses making a successful and productive transition into eCommerce is vital–but it’s also full of hurdles to overcome from both a mechanical and marketing point of view.
Recreating digital rapports.
Taking the step of transitioning into a solely digital business isn’t limited to micro-businesses. The Financial Times has reported on a number of prestigious brands attempting to recreate in-store customer experiences online.
Brands and retailers have taken different approaches to maintain contact with customers despite the interruption of lockdown measures. Many brands have looked to social media platforms, where companies have the potential to engage directly with their target audiences and generate interest digitally.
Omega and Zenith have both utilized Instagram Live to hold ‘Speedy Tuesday Live’ and ‘On Air’ events respectively that help consumers interact directly with brand ambassadors and partners as if they were in a brick-and-mortar store.
Elsewhere, brands like Cartier launched a new website for the purpose of showcasing their new designs, while Breitling live-streamed a presentation fronted by Mr Kern, who explained: “We had huge visibility from it – in the hundreds of thousands. Our server imploded and we had to move to YouTube.”
Indeed, visibility has become essential in the online practices of all companies across Europe and beyond at a time where physical locations will remain largely closed and austerity may soon occur.
Building appeal in wider markets.
Europe is facing its worst-ever recession, reports the New York Times. With forecasts of a 7.4 percent economic collapse, it’s inevitable that there will be widespread bankruptcy and unemployment. With borders remaining closed to visitors, businesses can find new customers by developing a digital presence that can cater to wider markets.
Strategising a transition toward digital marketing can be tricky for small businesses, and it’s important to pay attention to data before attempting to connect with customers. Given the level of competition that’s arriving online for many similar businesses, it’s imperative to work on an online strategy that can help to identify and cater to target markets.
With the physical closure of marketplaces, many businesses’ online visibility will hinge on the content they create and their categorisation by search engines like Google. Creating eye-catching and engaging content can make a significant difference to the marketing efforts of an online business. The use of keywords can help Google to categorise content and display topics that are relevant directly to customers in order to attract them to the right website to make a purchase before they’re drawn to that of a competitor.
Making your social presence felt.
The appeal of social media for businesses looking to grow their presence online is vast. In the first half of 2020, as many as 3.5 billion people have been clocked logging into social media platforms on a daily or weekly basis. Such mind-boggling figures show that it’s essential for businesses to utilise these platforms in the time of recession.
Once again, organic presence can play a significant role in positioning a business directly in front of the right customers at the right time. This is because searchable, keyworded content can work wonders in drawing in audiences, while hashtagging and social sharing are both excellent ways for helping a company to go viral.
An emerging trope for modern companies is to enlist the support of “influencers” who will actively promote products or services to their huge network of followers, at a cost. The more organic approach of actively engaging with customers and upholding their satisfaction levels can be optimised through social media, too.
Adapting to survive.
Europe is faced with a testing series of months and years before a full recovery can be achieved if it’s at all possible.
The survival of businesses will hinge on their adaptability in stepping away from traditional brick and mortar stores and transitioning into digital markets that can interact and sell to customers around Europe and the rest of the world.
Building an online presence is key, and enlisting some SEO tactics can go a long way in making a company more visible online. In a hyper-competitive marketplace, it’s never been more important to evolve and adapt to keep ahead of the competition.
By: Dmytro Spilka