The Covid-19 which is a highly infectious disease that can spread in communities through contact with contaminated surfaces or close contact with an infected person has in a short period of time, made its way to various countries, rapidly spreading across different continents with more than 200,000 cases worldwide.
As the number of cases continues to grow, governments of multiple countries have implemented various policies, imposed quarantines, restriction of movements, travel bans and borders closure (that includes Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore) as an effort to fight the virus.
How Countries are Handling Covid-19
With the recent spike in the number of cases in Malaysia, the prime minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has announced that a Restriction of Movement Order will be implemented nationwide effective from 18th March 2020.
Singapore, on the other hand, has aggressively taken measures to control the risk of spreading the virus by contact tracing any individual that has been in contact with an infected person for more than 30 minutes. This involves a combination of CCTV footage, police investigation, and labor-intensive detective work.
Following the increase in death tolls in Indonesia, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has announced that “the number of testing kits and the number of test centers are increased and we get more hospitals involved”. As an effort to curb the spread of the virus, the capital Jakarta will suspend all religious gatherings and ban visitors from countries with large numbers of coronavirus cases.
Immediate Actions Businesses Should Take
In the midst of this emerging crisis, businesses are affected as sales inevitably drop and customers deflect from going to public spaces. As businesses come together to survive the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic and the growing economic trials, it is crucial that businesses remain vigilant and plan out their strategy accordingly. Below are some immediate actions that businesses should take to survive through Covid-19.
1. If You’re Still Operating, Tell Customers Online Now
Aimee Stone Munsell, CMO at Contentsquare said “The world’s biggest retailers are seeing the impact of the coronavirus on their businesses, with consumers avoiding busy high streets in exchange for the safety of shopping online,”
As people are now more reliant on online updates, apart from engaging with your customers on social media, do look out for other high-traffic platforms to create more awareness.
We are helping businesses in Malaysia by allocating RM1,000,000 stimulus funds for marketing to help businesses notify all our online customers that their business is currently open. The collection will be shared across all channels including app, web, email and social media.
2. Pre-sell Online to Secure Sales
“Customers are prone to discounts, so to pull them in, we need to offer higher discounts rate such as giving 20% cashback or eCards which can even be utilized after the movement is lifted.” Said Datuk Jake Abdullah, managing director of Fave Malaysia.
In a critical situation in which customers are highly advisable to stay in, businesses will have to mitigate the further loss it may cause. We strongly recommend to pre-sell in the form of credits with a longer validity of redemption so that it creates confidence for consumers to purchase it now and use it later when movement is lifted.
- Set up eCards with 30% - 50% of bonus credit for your customers (Eg, Buy RM50 with the value of RM100)
- Limit the number of eCards available for purchases (Eg, Limited to first 100 purchases only)
- Create more urgency by limiting the period of eCards purchases (Eg. Available until 30th April 2020)
What is an eCard and how does it work?
- An eCard is a digital card for your customers to be able to purchase any-time online with bonus credit and redeem in the validity of 6 months time
- Merchants can receive up-front payments upon every eCard purchase even before your customers redeem it
3. Set Up Online Promotions and Cashless Payment
To continue supporting as many businesses as we can, we are providing 0% Fave fees for all merchants who set up FavePay with 20% cashback until 30th April. This could amplify your sales without having to squeeze out an extra budget from your business. Cashback provided to the customers is only applicable to be used at the same store which has been a proven strategy to increase repeat customers rate.
As mentioned by Aik-Phong Ng, the managing director of Fave Singapore, the demand is still there! A leading merchant from the travel & tourism industry listed a deal with the price of a regular room rate and added the deal with added services such as massage for 2, breakfast and dinner sold 50 units in a day.
To top it off, setting up cashless payment is the best way to avoid social contacts while businesses continue their operation. As consumer spendings on retail outlets drop significantly, businesses must shift focus online and go digital. If you have been planning on going digital but don’t know when you should do it, we recommend that now is the perfect time to reach out to our increasing online users who are constantly on their phone looking for the next great bargain.
In addressing the current situation in Malaysia, the Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) is also showing their support to businesses by giving rental rebates, an incentive to go online, options of EPF withdrawal and more.
Read more on how you can be prepared for the next steps after movement restriction order lifted or worse.