The decline of the Kenyan shilling has gradually changed families’ spending habits. Wise SMEs can use this shift to pick up new customers. Although the economic downturn has hurt sales for many small businesses, it also opened other opportunities since consumers are more price-conscious and are willing to try out new products.

Although people may currently seem reluctant to spend, they are less loyal to those brands they fancied. Research has it that women are the most notorious shoppers, small businesses can lure new customers by shifting their approach to marketing, especially when trying to reach women who control household budgets.

Women control the vast majority of spending in Kenya and they’re cautious now with the economic downturn. As an SME, it is advisable to now come up with products tailor-made to suit them and their pockets.

How can this economic situation help small businesses gain traction

When people are not so concerned about cost, they generally turn to big businesses and big brand names. So if they need their rugs cleaned, those who can afford it would just call on established dry cleaning companies to do so or even employ an extra house maid.

In the midst of economic crisis, they are likely going for cheaper options to save money. Thus, in this case, they might be willing to try a small cleaning service firm. By so doing, they will have reduced their expenditure on the extra house help or the massive amount of money they are likely to be charged by a larger cleaning company.

Discounts and incentives

People today are tired of the traditional advertising channels, like print ads and television, and are instead turning to sampling, trials, and coupons.

Since the consumers may not be interested in the adverts on their television sets or news papers, small retailers can use various ways to get the attention of the consumers. This goes back to the importance of peer-to-peer advocates via social media and viral marketing.

Every small business has people who buy their products or services, these are your existing customers. Figure out which of them are online and which are influential online. Do they blog? Do they have a Facebook presence? Are they on Twitter? Get them to spread the word about your company and in exchange give them some-maybe a discount on their next purchase and a discount for every friend they send into your store.

Alternatively, being a member of kuza Biashara is already an indication that you have a company website. Print cheap fliers indicating your pocket friendly products as well as samples indicating your web address and there, they will find you. What is the advantage of online marketing after all?

The above tactics are very relevant to the Kenyan SME since they will be able to reach a wider customer base after all. Just have a marketing strategy and a target audience as well. This will positively impact on the way your business grows.

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