LUSAKA, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- The increasing barriers on face-to-face interactions and other unprecedented restrictions amid COVID-19 continue to pose an enormous challenge on the survival of businesses the world over.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a toll on global economies and businesses, small-scale businesses in Zambia are taking to online marketing and advertising to keep their businesses afloat during these challenging times.
For many, social media platforms have turned out to be very useful during this period in turning around the fortunes of their businesses, many of which were at the brink of closure.
Aside from using the social media platforms for marketing and advertising, small business owners are also taking advantage of the situation to offer home delivery services at a fee to persons that are unable to get to shops or outlets to purchase items advertised online.
"I was almost closing my shop when a business colleague advised me to invest in social media marketing. I reluctantly opened a page specifically for my business. To my surprise within a few days, I started receiving calls from all over town and beyond from people requesting to buy items I had advertised online," said Anna Banda, based in Zambia's capital Lusaka.
Banda, who specializes in men's wear, explained that her business has grown exponentially during the past few months after she turned to online marketing.
Banda's sentiments were echoed by other small business owners who said that inventing in digital marketing has not only enabled their businesses to survive but also register substantial growth.
They further noted that online marketing enables one to run their business efficiently in that one only needs to post photos of the merchandise including prices and contact details on social media platforms and customers simply need to indicate what they want.
"Using social media platforms has helped me to stay connected with my usual customers as well as new ones," said Precious Mainza, who runs Precious Bow Deals, a virtual shop for children's wear and toys.
Mainza further explained that the advent of COVID-19 and preventative measures thereof pushed her and others to be innovative and invest in digital marketing, which according to her has proved to be more cost-effective and efficient.
An advocate of online marketing and advertising Evangel Penda said digital marketing strategies are offering small businesses opportunities to be innovative as well as to enter spaces of tremendous scope and opportunities.
Penta notes that small business owners have huge growth opportunities with digital marketing as they can engage with the right audience and show their unique products and services to potential customers just at a click of a button.
"One of the advantages of digital marketing is that it opens doors to a large audience beyond the physical reach. There are no boundaries, no restrictions on how much you like to expand your business," said Penta, a general dealer based in Lusaka.
She added that unlike traditional methods of reaching target audiences, digital marketing allows one to directly reach a large number of people at once and at a very minimal cost.
"Business owners are now seeing the benefits and opportunities that digital marketing can offer. This means that digital marketing will become part of a long-term marketing strategy for many," she added. Enditem