Planning for the Future
A Letter From Pioneer Balloon Company
2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year! While the first few months were filled with anticipation, the world came to a screeching halt in March as the coronavirus spread from country to country. The balloon industry quickly felt the impact as events were canceled, and stay at home orders were put in place. Then we were thrilled to witness the resiliency of the industry as yard art, and contactless balloon deliveries began to fill social media.
Pioneer Balloon Company was not immune to the effects of the pandemic. Like many of you, we, had to assess our daily business activities in the wake of COVID. In our marketing department, we focused our efforts on bringing timely resources weekly through tutorial videos, marketing materials, educational webinars, social media engagement, and email newsletters.
Because of this short-term shift in priorities, this will be the only issue of Balloon Images this year. Though the magazine has long been – and will continue to be – a source of inspiration for the industry, we recognize that delivering useful content weekly is what is most needed right now. Therefore, you can count on Pioneer to continue bringing you weekly resources to ride out the storm of COVID. We look forward to getting back to a more regular publication schedule in 2021.
Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you back soon! But until the next issue, let’s take some time to think about the future…
Make Your Plans for the Future
How many times have you used or heard the phrase, “back to normal,” in reference to life after the coronavirus? What exactly does “normal” look like to you? The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the world as we know it. Though it may be a difficult pill to swallow, we will likely never return to the lives we had in 2019.
In a recent article on reuters.com, Piotr Dworczak, assistant professor of economics at Northwestern University, said, “Everything we knew about supply and demand, we can essentially throw out the window because consumer behavior has changed completely.” Understanding shifting consumer trends will help us adjust to a “new normal” created by months at home and fear for our financial and physical well-being. Some of those emerging trends are already becoming the new norm among consumers, as outlined below.
Consumer Trends That Are Here To Stay
In the U.S., online sales for the first six months of 2020 were up 30.1% compared to the same period in 2019. Many people who had never placed an online order for groceries found themselves waiting outside their local store for curbside pickup – and loving it! It is expected that these new digital commerce behaviors will stick around long after COVID.
Key Takeaway: Businesses with e-commerce platforms in place before the pandemic experienced greater returns than those without them. There are many apps available to make processing payments online simple for both parties. Do your research and put a process in place to improve your sales.
Many consumers have made a conscious decision to shop locally to support the businesses within their community during the pandemic. Because of the personal service and relationships formed during this period, many consumers will likely remain customers of their local shops after COVID.
Key Takeaway: As a local small business owner, customers are looking to support you. Use this Very Best Balloon Blog post to guide you in a “Shop Local” campaign.
It is not surprising that many social media platforms experienced a 40% increase in usage since COVID. With stay at home orders and social distancing in place, people looked to social media to stay in touch – some even using social media for the first time. Though it is uncertain how much usage will decrease as life gets hectic and we return to a new normal, social media is a fantastic place to communicate in the current coronavirus world.
Key Takeaway: Go where your customers are! Focus your marketing efforts on social media. For help, reference the recent Qualatex Business Booster email packed with resources to improve your social media presence.
Brainstorming For the Short Term Future
In the short term, most people are still keeping their distance from most of their friends and loved ones to prevent the spread of the virus. Therefore, they are looking for other ways to share their love from a distance. Take some time to consider what this will mean for you and your business for the next six months. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- If you live in the northern hemisphere in a location with a lot of snowfall, weatherize your vehicles in preparation for snowy balloon deliveries.
- The holidays will likely be celebrated at home in small gatherings. Prepare your seasonal marketing plans for home-based parties. Everyone loves a balloon drop at midnight on New Year’s Eve, and you can offer that experience in the safety of your customers’ homes! Many people will likely be very eager to say GOODBYE to 2020!
- Most offices will not be open for Valentine’s Day, so think about how you can advertise special Valentine balloon deliveries to home offices.
- With the re-invigoration of balloon deliveries, you could differentiate yourself by hiring a local student with an amazing singing voice to deliver singing telegrams (from a social distance, of course)!
- Birthdays and babies continue to be big money makers for the majority of balloon businesses. Consider creating a sales sheet or flyer with common designs for birthdays or babies to make it quick and easy for customers to order.
Q Corner Back to Business Special
Dante Longhi, CBA, of Dream Factory Balloons in Kenilworth, NJ, USA, recently joined the boys of Q Corner to share his experiences during COVID and provided great advice for moving forward. If you are struggling with what to do next, give it a watch for a fantastic business discussion!