2020 was a year like no other and one that many of us small businesses would prefer to forget.
Yes, we saw panic buying sweep supermarkets where aisles of toilet paper and food staples were emptied, but this wasn’t the case for most other non-essential businesses.
Many lost business, were forced to adhere to trading restrictions and dealt with supply issues. Social distancing and self-isolation saw the closure of bricks and mortar stores and meant online shopping became the only way to get non-essential items.
In Australia, we saw online shopping increase by 31% to 5.2 million households in April 2020, compared to the average in 2019. Online purchases continue to grow across the country, and many predict that the longer the pandemic goes on, these new consumer buying habits are likely to stick.
According to the ASBFEO Smaller Business Counts 2020, just 54.5% of small business had an online presence, 47.8% had a social media presence and 41.4% of those businesses received orders online.
This means roughly 50% of small business were, and potentially still are, missing out on this huge online market and an opportunity to thrive.
Being a creative comms agency, we had the privilege of helping many businesses transform their online presence and digital experience in 2020. We thought we’d share some of the positive outcomes and hopefully give you some helpful tips on how you can also adapt and thrive.
The Morn Pen’s most iconic and loved attraction
During the pandemic, Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm had to close their café and u-pick, indefinitely. Although they had some of their products available online, there was an immediate need to spread awareness of their online store and drive more sales.
While Sunny Ridge has had an online store for some time, it wasn’t actively promoted and they had limited products available. When the peak of the pandemic hit, they identified a need to increase the products available and to include many of the well-known goods they stock from local suppliers on-site. Oraco helped Sunny Ridge add over 100 additional products, update their eCommerce filtering system and add new delivery options, including click and collect and local delivery.
A touch-free, drive-through click and collect bay was set up at the farm and local delivery was offered for fresh fruit and frozen items 2 days a week.
For a brief period of time, Sunny Ridge also added their café menu online and enabled people to order takeaway options for pickup. This way they could continue to provide their famous treats to the local community.
We actively used social media and email marketing during this period to promote these digital offerings to the community. As a result, we saw social media referral traffic increase by 67% from January 2020 to April 2020, which is historically when traffic starts to decline as the season is coming to an end.
Through enhancing their online presence, Sunny Ridge experienced an increase of 3,282% in online sales during the first lockdown in May 2020, compared to January.
Financial solutions as individual as you
When the pandemic hit, the first instinct for many businesses was to strip back their marketing efforts and concentrate on working in their business. Fortunately, Inovayt saw an opportunity to work on their business, refine their processes and enhance their online presence.
Oraco worked with Inovayt back in 2015 on a rebrand and responsive WordPress-powered website. In 2019, the business had more than tripled in size and expanded its service offering, which brought up talk of a much-needed refresh. So when lockdowns were enforced, self-isolation gave them the time to invest in these areas of the business.
We were engaged to work alongside the Inovayt team in revisiting their online presence. We started with a website redesign that enhanced the user experience through a revised navigation, refreshed content and a modern design.
The new content includes a variety of valuable downloads that work as lead captures, as well as comprehensive team bios that include team member specific testimonials, links to blogs they’ve written, and individual contact forms.
With the launch of the new website, Inovayt also took the opportunity to invest in Search Engine Optimisation with local business, StudioHawk. As a result of the new user experience and SEO, last month Inovayt saw a 214% increase in website traffic compared to January last year. They also had a 70% increase in visits to their ‘book a free meeting’ lead generation page.
Views to their team bio pages have also seen an increase in visits with these now being some of the most viewed pages on the site. A direct result of moving their email signatures to Exclaimer Cloud late last year and updating the design to include a ‘view my bio’ link.
More recently, Inovayt decided to move to the HubSpot platform for their inbound marketing, sales and customer service. HubSpot now integrates with their new website, Google Search Console and social media to help them further monitor web and social analytics. Their website forms also feed into HubSpot so they can manage contacts and leads more effectively.
Oraco continues to support Inovayt with their new integrated digital marketing strategy and we cannot wait to see where it takes them this year.
Growing demand for isolation creation
So many of us saw isolation as an opportunity to be more creative and do things that we normally wouldn’t have the time to do. With the closure of many creative experiences and stores, people looked to online workshops to learn a new craft and source supplies.
At the beginning of 2020, The Whimsical Bead’s online store included 50 service-based products for their in-studio workshops. When they were forced to close and cancel their workshops, due to restrictions, they added over 1,000 physical products, including supplies and tutorial kits, to maintain and build their customer base.
Since January last year, they have sold just under 25,000 products with a 2,447% increase in sales.
Oraco is so proud of The Whimsical Bead’s efforts in adapting to change and we are pleased to see their doors have recently reopened to students again.
Whether you are a service or product-based business, having an online presence is now not only crucial to maintaining your credibility, but perhaps even more crucial to the survival of your business, post-2020.
Are you still shopping online? Is your business thriving after ramping up your online presence? Let us know in the comments below.