Peak season is upon us for Australia’s retail businesses as shoppers take advantage of sales, holidays and year-end celebrations.

Businesses are spending more cautiously this year due to the increasing cost of living and supply chain disruptions. They also expect further inflationary pressures.

Many small businesses have re-evaluated their budgets, especially those associated with marketing and advertising. With a bit of effort, a lower budget does not have to mean fewer sales.

Turn Google into your biggest fan

Small businesses have relied on Facebook and Google ads for years because of their ease of use and effectiveness at reaching new audiences. Before you spend money on ads, you can take some time and cost-effective measures to make Google work for you. Google is the first thing a potential customer does when looking for products or services. 75% of clicks are directed to the first three or five results. It’s important to make sure you appear at the top of relevant searches.

You can improve your search engine rankings by claiming your Google Business Profile for free, updating it to include all of your information and encouraging your customers to leave reviews. You can immediately start to think about the quality, quantity and regularity with which you respond to your Google reviews.

Setting up your Google profile is not only time and cost effective, but also allows your customers to help you optimise it. Local businesses aren’t able to spend a lot of time during peak seasons. It doesn’t take a lot of work to build a Google presence which has measurable and immediate effects on sales and leads. Once your profile is optimised, you can invest in advertising if your budget permits.

Your website can be used to sell your products and services

Today’s consumers are very clear about what they want. They want to find what they need quickly and easily. It’s crucial that consumers can find the information and products they need quickly when they first visit your website. Customers will abandon your website if they are forced to navigate through multiple pages to find the information or products they need.

You must turn them into customers. Webchat widgets that allow for real-time answers with pre-programmed questions or human-managed conversations to create more personalised conversations can increase website conversion by 20% because they guide a customer directly to what they are looking for within seconds.

Experience the convenience

Consumers value convenience in business interactions, from initial conversations to payment to delivery. This includes making the information accessible and easy to understand. Send a confirmation message and an email to a customer after they have made a purchase or a booking. Australians are always on their phones, so 98% of the texts they receive get opened. This is higher than the emails and cold calls that are answered.

Podium’s Report on Business-to Customer Communication found that nearly 50% of Australians delete emails from businesses without ever opening them. This makes a confirmation text or a reminder more likely to get read than an email. This preference for SMS is applicable throughout the entire customer journey. Payment links are an increasingly popular option as consumers demand convenient payment methods. One in four will abandon a purchase if the preferred method of payment is not offered.

Do not miss out on the opportunity because of a rigid payment schedule.

Existing customers can be used to generate new customers

Consistently happy customers will be the result of a convenient buying journey. Customers who are happy will become repeat customers and also attract new ones. Send an SMS to customers asking them to leave a Google Review.

Prioritising SMS marketing for your future campaigns will help you to continue reminding customers about their experience. Converting marketing campaigns sent via SMS can encourage more positive interactions. 90 percent of consumers prefer to interact with businesses using text messages. There are products and platforms that, just like email marketing, can help segment your customers to ensure you send personalised and relevant messages via text.

Aussies are loyal to their small business owners, and will be very happy with a company that communicates well with them and treats them right. You can be confident that your sales won’t suffer if you prioritize convenience and communication throughout the customer journey.