Needless to say that we are living in a digital world. Though amidst the unfortunate period of COVID – 19, that the world is passing through, digital marketing has emerged as a ray of hope, both for buyers and sellers for multiple reasons. We are now in the process of the evolution of the new normal, which is the only option left to survive. Digital marketing has helped many such small businesses and people depend on them to ensure their livelihood even during and post COVID times. For buyers too, when it is a tough challenge to live with COVID protocols and when the lockdowns are imposed, digital marketing ensures they get what they want at their doorstep and following all safety norms. Let’s understand how all this has happened.
- 1. People are spending more time online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is no escape from the digital world in this post-COVID era, be it studies, office jobs, tackle psychosocial issues, or entertainment, the digital environment is the only respite. Things would have been even worse, had digital support not been there as a tool of survival when you can hardly see or interact with anyone. You can interact with friends and family, do your office work, children can do studies, watching movies and other entertainment avenues, and last but not the least shopping – for survival or for leisure and all this can be and has been done online.
When the whole world has all of a sudden switched over to an online digital environment, obviously there are more possibilities of doing shopping and buying essential and luxury items online. This became a boon for marketers using digital platforms. This gives an opportunity for small business owners to sustain the increase in sales with new offers like free or low-cost shipping, adopting hygiene practices, etc. This will help in their branding and building goodwill to retain customers’ loyalty.
- 2. Reaching more discerning consumers.
Today’s market comprises a mix of impulsive and discerning buyers. The younger generation which spends more time and money on shopping is very smart and calculative. Social media influence and increased use of smartphones have changed the buying pattern and business houses cannot ignore these trends and developments. This is even more important for small businesses for their survival and growth.
Business offers should be based on offering the best value to customers; time and money. Consumers have real-time access to unlimited amounts of information, even when they are on the go, and there is a round-the-clock stream of alerts and updates vying for attention. Digital marketing helps small businesses in reaching out to discerning customers, registering them, placing their products and services, promoting themselves, and getting feedback for their satisfaction and retention.
In this post-COVID era, it is mostly limited to essential buying and this should be well understood by small businesses. They should also try to add essential items to their list of products and services, in addition to the existing product line. While big businesses and shopping malls remained closed for a long during the post-COVID era, it was only through small business and digital marketing that people could buy and survive during the post-COVID era.
- 3. Sustainability with COVID protocols- catering to ‘New Normal’.
The COVID situation has posed a serious threat of survival to everyone – citizens and business – equally. The challenge before small businesses was to survive, to meet the customers’ needs, and also to maintain COVID protocols. For this small businesses need to redefine their goals and strategies and one of the most significant ways could be the use of digital media platforms for marketing and reaching out to the customers.
One of the major concerns is to stay relevant during these times as the requirements are changing and adding new goals to the brand which are in demand shall be kept in mind. “No Contact Delivery”, “Following COVID Protocols”, “Maintaining Full Hygiene from Production to Delivery” are new buzzwords for sustenance and retention of customers and have been widely used by the small and medium businesses during the Post-COVID era. Adding new product lines has also been part of the strategy, followed by small businesses.
- 4. To cater to additional demands generated due to restrictions on the market place.
As we understand the restrictions on the market place have created additional demands in digital markets. Demand for online goods and products mirrored the different facets of life under the lockdown and pandemic.
The opportunities, however, came fraught with new challenges. The nationwide lockdown brought the transportation of goods and the movement of personnel to a grinding halt. There were initial hiccups and e-commerce companies struggled to complete deliveries even as orders piled up.
These digital platforms undertook a series of measures, including hiring thousands of delivery staff to meet the surge in orders, also associated with brands for procuring masks, and made efforts to deliver them safely across the country in the early stages of the lockdown.
- 5. Small businesses face the challenge of survival during the COVID pandemic and digital marketing is offering a solution for their sustenance.
There has been a surge in small businesses on digital platforms where thousands of first-timers who learned to navigate e-Carts through virtual aisles last year, shopping online has quietly shifted from the realm of compulsion to being part of daily life, a comfortable, convenient way to buy what the heart desires, from the comfort and safety of home.
Big business houses can survive for some time even after lockdown imposed by the Government but for small businesses to survive in this post-COVID era has been a challenge. When shops and market places are closed, the only way to connect to and cater to customers’ needs has been through digital platforms and digital marketing and small businesses have largely used digital marketing platforms diligently and sustained during the post-COVID era.