Have down time? 13 ways to stay productive and keep selling.

May 11 2020 | Alice Wong, PayPal Editorial Staff

New challenges due to this environment can also mean new opportunities. Now’s the time to get creative. Finding new sales channels and shifting to alternative business models can help protect your bottom line and keep your customers engaged. 
Think of how customer behaviors have shifted in just these few weeks. Customers probably want to purchase things online versus in-person. They’re likely spending a lot more time at home than before and are looking for ways to stay entertained. They’re much more concerned about hygiene practices. And they’re more focused on purchasing essential versus non-essential items.  
 
Here are some ideas to meet customers where they are today so you can keep business going. 
 
1. Update your website.  
Add messaging to your site that tells your customers what measures your business has taken to help stem the COVID-19 spread. If your brick-and-mortar business has started taking orders online or over the phone, make sure to display that information clearly on your homepage. If you’ve temporarily closed your doors, include a form so visitors can submit their email address and be notified when you’re open again. Or if you’re running  a campaign to help your local community, make sure customers know.  

2. Expand to more online marketplaces. 
Whatever you sell, there are plenty of marketplaces to help you get your product in front of more eyes. Sell men’s fashion? Try Grailed. For electronics, check out Swappa. Or if you’re looking for more general marketplaces, explore Bonanza and Wish. Businesses with a PayPal account can get: 
 
 
3. Offer home deliveries.  
If you can (and if allowed by local government), consider utilizing your employees to hand-deliver items purchased online. For restaurants this has been a logical shift as waitstaff have been redeployed to take food to customers’ homes. 

4. For store pickups, keep payments contactless with a QR code 
For a true end-to-end contactless experience, try using a QR code. You can print one out and affix it to your storefront or even on the outside of packages, so people can pay without having to touch anything.  

5. Introduce new products or services. 
Changing customer needs may present an opportunity to change up your product mix or introduce new products. For example, social distancing is leading to more people cooking at home, so restaurants or catering companies might consider creating and selling semi-prepared meals or meal-prep kits that can be delivered or picked up by customers. 

6. Sell gift cards. 
Just about any business could add gift cards to its product lineup. Gift cards can provide an immediate source of cash while creating future opportunities to serve customers.  

7. Spread your knowledge and get paid. 
If you’re a subject matter expert in your industry – or even just really enthusiastic about a particular topic – try your hand at creating online video classes and selling them to people around the world, utilizing an app like Udemy 

8. Try live-streaming your services 
Exercise studios are live-streaming classes for reduced fees in order to keep their customers engaged (and in shape). Gym trainers are developing one-to-many fitness programs and one-to-one video training sessions. Consultants are meeting online with customers. Dentists and primary care physicians are utilizing apps like Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime for video appointments.  
 
See if live-streaming your services can work for you too.  

9. Help your sales reps sell using a digital platform.  
Try digital platforms like WeChat to engage customers virtually. A cosmetics company in China, for example, was forced to close 40% of its stores during the crisis. The company redeployed its 100+ beauty advisors to leverage WeChat to engage customers virtually and drive online sales.1 

10. Get employees to spread the word. 
With more and more people sheltering in place, social media has become even more central to people’s lives than it has been. Ask employees to tap into their social circles to promote your business via social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, etc.). Support their efforts with “friends and family” discounts that they can share.  

11. Offer customers an incentive for referrals. 
Now’s the time to use that email list you’ve been building. Offer discounts to your customer list. Ask your customers to promote your business, as well, giving them bonuses or incentives to refer new customers or clients. 

12. Support your community. 
Take an active role in helping other businesses and individuals in your community. Whether you’re lending a hand through your business or on your own time, the neighbors you support now could come back as new customers to support you later on. 
 
Speaking of community, make sure you’re staying connected with other businesses. Connect with local neighborhoods using apps such as Nextdoor. Most have sections for local businesses.  

13. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  
Appeal to your customers—without their help you might not be able to continue. Ask for the sale giving them an incentive to buy from you.  
 
Anticipate continually changing needs. 
Remember your customers’ pain points today might change completely one month from now. Try to anticipate what those needs might be and then get your business set up to address them as they happen. 
 
Let’s use this challenge as an opportunity not only to keep customers engaged but also to innovate your business: perhaps to rethink your business model, your sales channels, and/or your product lines. 
 
Stay safe. Keep innovating.

The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent business, tax, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision. 

 

1 The billing cycle for your Bonanza Gold membership will begin automatically at the conclusion of the 30-day trial. Bonanza will automatically bill the card on file at the end of the trial period. If you have multiple cards on file, you can select which one should be used for membership payments. 

 

The trial can be canceled automatically at any time from the account settings or by contacting our support team at support@bonanza.com. If the membership is canceled, benefits will remain active for the duration of the current billing cycle. Sellers who have previously had a premium membership on Bonanza are ineligible for this trial. 

PayPal is not a sponsor of or responsible for this offer. 

 

2 Terms of Revenue Share bonus offer: This offer is available for new Wish merchants who sign up by clicking Get Started. Your Revenue Share rate will be 5% for your first three months. Your standard Revenue Share rate of 15% will apply beginning with month four. Subscriber can cancel at any time. Offer is valid for one-time use only. Offer not valid for prior purchases. Other restrictions may apply. PayPal is not a sponsor of, or responsible for, this offer. 

 

3 Terms of ProductBoost credits offer: This offer is available for new Wish merchants who sign up by clicking Get Started. The credits will be added to your Wish account automatically after you upload at least 10 products. You can apply the credits to a ProductBoost campaign before they expire in 30 days. Offer is valid for one-time use only. Offer not valid for prior purchases. Other restrictions may apply. PayPal is not a sponsor of, or responsible for, this offer. 

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