Valentine’s Day is here and it is a time when people show feelings of love, affection and friendship. The new normal presents change that is inevitable for people everywhere, including small business owners. People are looking for places to get gifts for their loved ones. Others are looking for places to go to for the celebration. It is a major sales date for businesses such as florists, salons, restaurants, hotels and gift shops due to the increased demand that comes with the season. Below are some tips for these businesses to help them make the best out of Valentine’s Day during this COVID-19 period.
By Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade
– Communications and Public Affairs Manager for Google West Africa
Get an online presence
In today’s world, customers are deciding where to order food not only based on the menu, but also on how easy it is to pick up safely and reviews given by other users about the vendor. They choose where to buy from depending on the information they get online. This justifies why creating an online presence has become critical to business success. Businesses can get online through Google My Business. Businesses with Google My Business Account can easily manage how their businesses appear on Google Search and Maps and connect with their customers across these platforms. Businesses can post photos and offers to their profiles and showcase what makes them unique, and give customers reasons to choose them every time.
The eConomy Africa 2020 report showed that Africa’s Internet economy has the potential to reach $180 billion by 2025, accounting for 5.2% of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP). Online presence has evolved into creating digital spaces and virtual connections that work alongside the physical world. Gift shops such as Purpink Gifts and Flowers and Simona Flowers and Gift Shop have created business profiles that help their customers easily contact them for their products.
Find the right business opportunities
Valentines presents a great opportunity for businesses selling gifts, florists, salons, hotels, and restaurants. The demand for their products increases during this season, both locally and globally. With tools like Market Finder, businesses are able to identify new potential markets, discover helpful operational information and start selling to customers at home and around the world. Today’s customers are not concerned where a business is based as long as they are happy with the product or service they receive. The internet has broken down international trading barriers to bring potential customers to your door at lower risk and lower costs. It’s quicker and easier than ever to leap into new markets and expand exponentially. Florists, for example, can use this tool to find export markets and optimise their investment and marketing strategy to serve their customers’ demand.
Keep your customers posted
Keeping them informed means you are keeping the focus on them. That shows them that you value them as a customer and you will do what it takes to keep them with your business. If done right, keeping your customers informed can make them feel special and they will reward your business for it. This can be done by sharing the latest updates and highlights about your business. Marketing Kit tool helps these businesses create custom posters, social posts, videos, and more from reviews and updates on their Business Profiles on Google.
Stay on top of the latest trends
Market Research helps to remove the guesswork from business decisions. Traditional marketing research techniques like focus groups can be costly for small businesses with limited marketing budgets. Google Trends is a free tool that is easily accessible and shows trending topics on Google Search. Businesses can use this tool to discover what their target audience is searching for online and analyse the information to gain insights on their customers. This helps them stock well and get ready for the demand.