COVID-19 continues to disrupt the economy and is probably having a big impact on your business. The rolling lockdowns and ever-changing restrictions and guidelines make it hard to manage day-to day and even harder to think about planning for the future, so we put together our top tips for how to use technology to keep your customers coming in, grow your customer base and keep your cash flow steady.
In Part One, we cover small digital interventions that make it possible for you to do business anytime and anywhere, regardless of whether you’re under lockdown or not. In Part Two, coming out next week, we will cover easy tech interventions that will improve your business operations and efficiency.
Here are our top tips on how to leverage technology to keep your business going during the pandemic.
Accept Digital Payments to Maintain a Healthy Cash Inflow
Information about how COVID-19 spreads changes day-to-day. Since the start of the pandemic, there has been greater hesitancy amongst customers towards exchanging physical money. In 2020, the percentage of Indians who used cash as their main mode of transactions fell by 50%!
As a business, how do you adapt to this drastic change in customer behaviour? By also offering your customers digital payment options, of course!
In addition to accepting debit and credit card payments on a POS, accepting payments that occur digitally or online via a UPI-based app makes it easier for your customers to do business with you. The most popular UPI apps, in terms of the number of transactions, are PayTM, Google Pay (Tez), PhonePe, BHIM App, and Amazon Pay.
Integrating digital payments into your business also improves your attractiveness to lenders. Having access to verifiable data that lenders can analyse to assess your real-time sales transactions, and therefore, the health of your business, increases your chances of getting a business loan. That’s because this data makes your business a less risky investment for them.
If you are in the market for a business loan, you can use our 100% digital loan process to get your business’ needs in front of our 20+ lender partners in less than 2 minutes! We do a soft pull of your credit report, which doesn’t have any negative impact on your credit score, and match you with the most appropriate loan product and lender. Our entire process is digital, from submitting your application and supporting documents to the customer and business KYC. Especially during lockdown, having a record of digital business transactions also makes it easier and faster for lenders to assess your business and disburse your loan!
Start a WhatsApp Business Account
Almost everyone you know probably uses WhatsApp. For both iOS and Android users alike, it is the preferred mode of communication because it is free to use, encrypted, and user-friendly. So, if all your customers are already using WhatsApp, why aren’t you?
WhatsApp Business is a tool designed specifically for small businesses to increase the ease and efficiency with which you can communicate with your customers. It allows you to automate, sort and quickly respond to customer messages. Each WhatsApp Business account also has an associated Business Profile, which shares your key information like company address, email and website with customers. The best part: the WhatsApp Business app is free to download and use! You can send your customers a Welcome Message, set up template messages for frequently asked questions, and you can tag and track orders for free!
For bigger businesses, there is also a paid WhatsApp Business API through which you can send your customers notifications, introduce a chatbot for customer service, and much more!
Here’s how you can get started with WhatsApp Business.
Use Social Media to Generate Buzz
This is one of the simplest and most low-cost ways for you to reach more customers. Creating a business profile on Instagram and Facebook lets you reach customers in your locality and beyond with only a few clicks and word of mouth! with only a few clicks and word of mouth!
Making eye-catching creatives using free services like Canva, sharing videos of your products and business, and asking customers to do the same is an easy way to engage with your followers and naturally grow your customer base.
You can also explore Facebook groups to get the word out about your products. Facebook has thousands of sectors and location-specific business-only groups where industry members engage with one another and generate business. Identify the right ones for your business and get started easily by asking to join. Membership approval is generally free and quick if your business is relevant to the group.
Digital Marketing to Reach the Right Customers
If you can afford to create a small budget for marketing, you can advertise your business using Facebook, Instagram and Google Ads, and boost your profile posts on Facebook and LinkedIn to advertise to your target audience based on their interests, past behaviour, and habits.
Marketing on Facebook, Instagram and Google is an inexpensive and sure way to draw more attention to your business or service. It is also a more effective way than organic social media posting to reach the right type of customer who is willing to spend money on your product.
We hope these small interventions help you run your business remotely, so you can continue operations even during lockdown. After lockdown, your WhatsApp Business account will allow you to continue delivering excellent customer service, so you keep your competition on their toes!
If you need a business loan to integrate technology into your business, we are here to help. Our award-winning matching algorithms accurately assess your business health and patterns to match you with a specialized SME loan product that best fits your needs! Just tell us what you need, and we do all the work for you!
In Part Two of this series, we’ll discuss how you can use digital interventions to improve your business operations and efficiency.
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