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How retailers can make the most of COVID-19 downtime

by OnDeck Australia,   Mar 31, 2020

No one needs to be reminded of the horrendous impact COVID-19 is having on our economy. Across the country, retailers are closing shop as rolling shutdowns and growing safety concerns mount.


While there’s no denying this period is likely going to be one of the most challenging any business owner will face in their career, the downtime comes with it an opportunity to stop, take stock and prepare for business in a new, post-pandemic world. Here’s how to make the most of your downtime and to keep your sales flowing.


Do a deep dive into your product sales


You know the analysis and reports you either skim over or don’t have time to do thoroughly? Now is the time to pull out the big guns and do a deep dive into your sales history.


Keep an eye out for:

–          Trends overtime periods, or unexpected cycles of sales

–          High-profit margin products

–          Refunds – what items are being returned regularly due to fault or dissatisfaction

–          Steady-sellers


When you’re able to open your doors again you want to have your stock optimised for sales and having a clear overview of what you need to get rid of, what you need to order and what to promote online is going to stand you in good stead.


There are lots of professionals out of work right now who are looking for work, so if you have cash reserves it’s worth using an analyst to do the hard work and give you some solid, actionable insights.


Do a deep clean of your email databases


Again, data. But it’s worth it and it all ties together. Spend some time really getting into your database. Start with a scrub of your email lists. Inactive emails clog your list, skew open rates and can cost money, so get rid of emails that aren’t active.


Segment your lists

Once your lists are clean it’s time to segment, if you haven’t already. If you’ve already got an online shop your database will likely already be segmented somewhat. Before you segment your lists have a good think about what your business objectives are, and how you plan to market to your lists.


Common ways to segment include demographics such as

  • Life Stage – where they are in their life. Factors can include demographics such as age, sex, marital status
  • Life Style – what type of products does the customer buy? What are their interests
  • Customer lifecycle – or RMF segmentation
    • Recency – how recently did they purchase from you
    • Frequency – how frequently do they purchase from you
    • Monetary – what value do they purchase


Invest in your online sales experience


Without a brick-and-mortar shop to build rapport with your customers, you’ll be falling back on your online experience to create customer relationships. If you don’t already have an online sales portal, it’s time to set one up asap. If you do have one (which you should) start auditing your customer experience.


Go through the full online sales process and audit your website user experience, payment portal usability and post-sales communications.


Identify where you can improve the user experience; whether it’s through upgrades to your platform, payment plugins or in your communications and branding. The aim here is to make the full customer journey from click, to cart to delivery and post-purchase communications consistent.


Put money behind digital marketing


For most retailers, this is going to be the only form of marketing you can do. By now you should have a crystal clear overview of your best sellers and high earners from your sales analysis. Put the insights into action with a digital campaign.


Organic Social

Depending on your situation you may not have any cash to put behind advertising, and that’s ok. Utilise your social media channels to promote your best sellers and let your customers know you’re open for business. It’s also a great opportunity to start engaging with your online community as you’ll likely have a bit more time up your sleeve. Reply to comments, repost testimonials and reviews, and reply to messages, it all adds up!


Paid Social Media

Time spent on social media is skyrocketing right now so it’s the perfect time to put money into a paid social media campaign. You don’t need to spend a fortune, and with your sales insight, you can do some campaigns with a high conversion product. Again, if you have cash reserves or dedicated marketing spend it’s a good idea to work with a professional to create a high-value campaign.


Email Marketing

You have your sales data and you have your email segments – it’s time to put them to use. Create targeted emails for each segment, ensuring your message and product is tailored to their interests/ segment indicators so you deliver value to your customer, and get a higher return for your dollar.


To find out if a flexible, short-term small business loan can help you make the most of your downtime talk to our team. Call 1800 676 652 or fill out an enquiry form and our team will contact you shortly.


Prepared by OnDeck Capital Australia Pty Ltd ABN 28 603 753 215 (“OnDeck”) for general information purposes only. Content may belong to or have originated from third parties and OnDeck takes no responsibility for the accuracy, validity, reliability or completeness of any information. Information current as at March 2020. You should not rely upon the material or information as a basis for making any business, financial or any other decisions. Loans issued in Australia are subject to the terms of a loan agreement issued by OnDeck. Loans are subject to lender approval. OnDeck® is a Registered Trademark. All rights reserved.


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