Countries have closed their borders and big bustling cities have come to a grinding halt in an endeavour to save human lives and curb the spread of a deadly virus.
Now is the time for resilience. Life and business may or may not get back to the way it was pre-COVID-19. However big the problem might seem at the moment, remember, this too shall pass.
Although economic activity is slow and everyone is looking for ways to sustain and survive in these difficult times, all is definitely not lost. The current situation has perhaps given us a breather, an opportunity to review, regroup and even reorganize our online business while looking a bit beyond the bottomline numbers.
This is a great opportunity to take your ecommerce business towards what is commonly called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
CSR activities are aimed at helping the society and community, and along with giving your business a definitive sense of purpose, they can help increase your brand’s visibility and credibility among a larger audience. In that sense, though not designed as such, a CSR focus can be a great marketing tool garnering good social media coverage for your brand.
What is CSR?
All measures and conscious actions undertaken by an enterprise that helps it in becoming socially responsible fall under the umbrella of Corporate Social Responsibility. This includes the impact that the company has on all aspects of society, be it social, economic or even environmental. Apart from philanthropy, sustainability ethics and the positive contributions that the company makes for its workforce and the society at large are also categorised as CSR.
While the common perception is that only big successful corporations with deep pockets are capable of such charitable behaviour that can impact the society, this need not necessarily be true. It is just a matter of scale, where the fundamental ethos remains the same. There are many opportunities available to small enterprises like yourself to rise up to the need of the hour and do your bit as a form of CSR.
How Can This Help You?
Apart from having an overall positive impact on society, all CSR activity is important for business too.
Visibility in the community plays an important role in boosting the company’s credibility and brand image. Consumer consciousness is on the rise. CSR activities help build trust with customers who prefer to engage with socially responsible companies that behave ethically as this makes them feel that they too are doing their bit for society.
This is especially true amongst millennials, who firmly believe that companies should be invested in improving society. So if millenials are your target audience, then such CSR on your part is surely going to win their support.
CSR ideas to get online stores started:
Do you provide online catering?
The healthcare personnel have been in the frontline of this war against the virulent virus. They, along with the personel running the essential services have kept the wheels of the economy chugging. As a home baker and online food supplier, it would be a great idea to contribute to the many food banks that have been helping to distribute food packs among these people. This could be your CSR to show gratitude and appreciation to those who have been working so hard to keep us all safe.
If your ecommerce store sells made to order clothing
As the owner of an online boutique store selling made to order clothing, you would already be having the setup and skill set necessary for making simple face masks. How about ear marking some of your resources to produce and distribute some smart and attractive face masks, an essential accessory for now? This could be given away for free with your regular orders or even distributed amongst members of your community.
Are you a fitness trainer?
The gym is not accessible anymore to you and your patrons because of the lockdown but heath continues to be a priority for all even when confined to our homes. As a certified personal trainer, your CSR initiative could be to post interesting fitness videos online that could be helpful to many. This will help expand your target audience and get you more followers who trust and believe in your practice and would be ready to join you in the future.
If yoga and meditation is your service
Times are difficult and the mind is restless. The ancient practice of yoga and the meditation practices that you specialize in could be an excellent way to stay calm and destress. Such an initiative will not only help your existing students, but is sure to gain traction amongst many in the community who are all seeking for some peace and calm in these uncertain times.
Online arts and crafts
Schools have closed and parents all over the world are scrambling for ideas to keep their kids busy and occupied. As an artist, you have been well appreciated and built up a clientele along with some commissioned work. This is a good opportunity to give back to society – your CSR. Spend some time developing some creative and appealing ideas and producing some interesting items that can catch their imagination. Your excellent artistic and crafting skills are likely to find an audience among some of these kids.
And the list can go on…. Whatever your business, there is something you could do to reach out and help. Not only will that be good for the recipients, it will help you expand your own target audience, improve your credibility and brand image and ultimately contribute to your bottomline too. No matter what the scale, it is your way of being socially responsible in these turbulent times.
The rapid spread of the COVID 19 outbreak around the world has shaken up all of us physically, emotionally and financially. Times are difficult and while we all hope and pray that we are able to get out of this situation soon, there is no definite timeline to the end.
This is the time to do our bit for the society and community we live in that has supported us all along.