There’s no denying that the current pandemic and subsequent turbulent market conditions have made it a challenging time for almost every business around the globe, and Australia is no exception.
But even during a pandemic, remember this: the fundamentals of business remain the same. Customers still have problems, and businesses are still here to help solve those problems.
So, before you give up hope entirely, here are some of the key basics that every business owner needs to keep top of mind during these challenging times.
Customers have specific needs, and it’s a business’ job to identify those needs and provide valuable, timely, helpful information when they need it the most. Once a business becomes a trusted source of information on a particular topic, they, in turn, become a vital part of the wider customer community.
This can be done by personalising your offering, no two clients are the same. PawsEco not only creates a personalised online profile for their pet-store clients, but software that allows for customer and customer pet profiles to be created, too. This strengthens the store’s relationships with their customers, whilst simultaneously strengthening yours too.
Businesses who do this well are able to turn a transactional relationship into one of a trusted advisor.
Feedback doesn’t just have to come through word of mouth or reviews: you can use website, social media and newsletter data as a form of direct feedback from your customers.
Now that we’re online more than ever before, it’s important to keep the digital side of things as perfectly optimised as possible. Keep an eye on your analytics and constantly use that information to improve your offering.
The idea is to be constantly configuring and deploying new updates, instead of simply ‘setting and forgetting’ your offering. With PawsEco, we have designed a system that thrives on all kinds of feedback around the wants and needs of the businesses we work with. In turn, we create solutions that are based on what our customers actually want, instead of what we think they want.
It is about knowing the needs of your clients, often before they do. PawsEco intelligence is built from experience of being a pet store owner themselves. We know that most pet stores are traditionally run, with multiple, complex back-of-house systems, which we have simplified with the platform – to bring everything into one place.
It is also important to recognise when these needs might change, in a pandemic, for example. When the world shifts to purchasing products online, it is about offering suggestions on how to protect their bottom line, such as doggy daycare and grooming services. Identify potential pressure points, and find a way to help them.
When partnering with other platforms, businesses always prefer those that can offer them opportunities to allow their own brand to shine through.
Internal promotion methods can apply in many different areas, from coffee shops that promote the various nut milk brands that they use, to online marketplaces that help boost the brands that they sell. If customers love the brands you promote, you can enjoy a piece of that loyalty, simply by association.
On our own platform, we try to create a real sense of identity for our retailers – even though their products aren’t sitting on their own website, everything on their profile is fully customised to their brand. From customer communications to printed receipts, everything is specific to that store, but is unknowingly managed by PawsEco technology.
While the above point still rings true, it’s also important to only work with those suppliers that you can trust 100 per cent to provide the best value to the end customer.
Constantly assess if your suppliers are working for you, and don’t be afraid to communicate your shifting needs and requirements directly to them. You’ll be surprised how accommodating most will be to feedback and suggestions, especially during the current climate.
Rio Afero, Founder, PawsEco