5 WAYS COVID-19 HAS IMPACTED THE KENYAN DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT
“There are three kinds of firms: those who make things happen; those who watch things happen and those who wonder what’s happened.”- Philip Kotler
Some companies may view the marketing environment as a set of uncontrollable forces – political, economical, technological, socio-cultural, legal, and/or environmental. As a result, they may be prone to react by designing a short-term plan of action to tackle sudden changes, which impact business.
Smart brands, however, take a more proactive approach by designing long–term strategic plans to adapt and even succeed in the face of environmental changes, favourable or not.
Presently, many Kenyan businesses are facing a significant dip in cash flow along with staff lay-offs, triggered by the initial Government lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses that had not prioritized digitization and digital marketing, let alone made any substantial investment towards them, found themselves clamouring to do business ‘as usual’.
Here are five ways COVID-19 has impacted the Kenyan digital environment for business operations, the implications and brands can adapt to these new trends:
Product and Price
The pandemic has affected how many brands serve consumer needs by designing products and services for every personality, purse, and purpose. Consumer spending patterns for associated services fell significantly over the period. Businesses on the other hand recorded low sales and revenue. The situation caused many firms to innovate their product strategy by tailoring their market offering to suit every client. Because of the crisis, brands should review the income distribution of their target markets and tweak their offering to create value for clients regardless of the economic situation.
Digital technology has also made it possible for brands to display a wide range of products than what an actual retail centre can contain. Some apps and websites have introduced features for the customer to select among a certain brand name, colour, fabric, flavour, price point, delivery date, subscriptions, bundles etc.
Increasingly, consumers are opting to use mobile wallets to pay for goods and services. Mobile payments are ubiquitous in restaurants, malls, associated services etc. Firms should ensure that the process of making a purchase is quick and simple. Some consumers on the other hand prefer to make payments with their debit cards. The implication of this trend is for brands to integrate debit card payment capabilities as well on their apps and websites and ensuring all digitals payments are secured and client data is protected.
Digital payments have provided brands with new opportunities, thus brands can now reach consumers with interactive display ads for loyalty programs and online exclusive offers which is good for driving consumer spend and impulse purchases.
HOW TO MITIGATE
Business promotion is very essential in building business growth and strengthening the relationship between brands and consumers. Many firms cut down on digital spend amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of decreased consumer spend and general uncertainty.
However, brands that keep their digital spend running would be the ones that would emerge out of the crisis stronger than they went in. Despite this, digital advertising is having some challenges because some consumers have installed ad blockers making it difficult to connect with their target audience.
The implication is for brands to create content that cuts through the clutter and makes consumers want to engage with them.
Secondly, the use of messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and chat bots on websites could build a deeper and personalized relationship between brands and consumers because it allows for a one-on-one interaction and offers consumers the latest deals and products.
Amid COVID-19 crisis pandemic and its ensuing effect on movement, consumers are looking out for convenience and proximity. There is the need for brands to invest in search engine marketing and optimization if they are not doing so already. Consumers are including the word “near me” in Google searches so they do not have to travel far to make a purchase.
Businesses can offer clients the benefit of checking-in to gain points or win a prize, for example. for being a regular at a retail centre or for consumers to share their locations with friends and connect with like-minded people.
In the past, a CRM software was simply a tool for storing data and keeping track of communication with clients by the marketing department. CRM tools now transcend an entire firm and ensures a more collaborative way of working from marketing, finance, operations, and human resource departments.
Cloud based CRM platform allow businesses to manage its operations such as, client follow-up contact management, pipeline management, quotation tasks and email marketing from anywhere via internet.
The implication is for firms to keep staff connected in and out of the office. Zoom’s paid membership and Microsoft team meetings makes this task a breeze. Investing in CRM systems is a sure way to avoid disruptions in service delivery, boost agility in service processes, keep tabs open and tracked on business accounts, and manage all customer touchpoints ultimately even in times of crisis.
The long-term benefit is that firms become more responsive, acquire new clients, and grow business with existing clients because clients believe in brands that have the capability of going a great extent to delight them.
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