The Impact Of Loadshedding On Businesses

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Load shedding. It has become a fact of life in South Africa. Our dreaded rolling blackouts can last hours, crippling economic activity and disrupting the daily lives of everyday citizens. While the government strives to overcome its operational and financial challenges, load shedding will continue to have grim implications for everyone.

Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing has become increasingly popular, as traditional electronic advertising methods are hit by power outages. Television advertisers and broadcasters are particularly affected, with millions of adspend budget spent during prime time are simply not as effective in reaching target audiences.

Mobile phones provide advertisers and businesses with a captive audience during power outages. Mobile phones remain on for longer (as long as they have battery life), providing advertisers and organisations access to their consumer regardless of power outages. They are often the only communication devices people can continue to use during blackouts.

Mobile sites and messaging applications can provide information, or critical news. With a well-designed chat commerce solution – even purchasing activities can continue regardless of power outages.

Viewership decline

Television is still the king of media consumption, the most effective way of reaching high audience volumes at a high frequency. Blackouts means that millions of viewers are off, reducing audience which has a significant effect for advertisers. Data from the national broadcaster shows how viewing times have reduced, meaning traditional channels are not as effective anymore. Advertising budgets have been trimmed, and so too – reach. Already the way content is consumed continues to change, affecting where advertisers spend.

This is where mobile marketing and communication channels can shine, as it provides a bigger scope to reach these consumers. South Africa has a combined mobile subscriber base of around 50 million, while there are approximately 40 million adult TV viewers. Advertisers are already motivated to use mobile marketing as it provides a bigger, and now more reliable, scope to reach consumers.

Compromised security

Shoplifting, theft, digital systems, and firewalls can all be compromised. Security can be major concern when the power fails, leaving businesses vulnerable to all sorts of attack.

Mobile messaging for business continuity

The core element of a business continuity plan is to minimize the disruption of an adverse event to your business. Essential to any continuity plan functioning effectively is the communication that underpins it.

  • SMS is great for critical communications; over 90% of text messages are read under three minutes
  • Ensure staff are safe during a outages
  • Keep staff updated during an emergency
  • Communicate critical IT issues and outages
  • Send mass notifications to customers to advise of any changes to operations

Effective communication with staff and customers is key, with many businesses relying on social media, website notices, emails, and calls. But some organizations have started leveraging WhatsApp, and it is easy to see why.

Emergency alerts/notifications to customers
Besides regular messages retailers can send via WhatsApp (order confirmations, delivery updates), the platform works well for urgent updates too. The immediate nature of WhatsApp means you can advise customers about store closures, relocation notices, stock availability and any opening time changes.

Staff communications
WhatsApp is ideal for businesses who need to get hold of staff quickly, for security breaches (physical or digital), or organising staff cover.

2-way customer service chats
WhatsApp is not just for one-way traffic – it supports two-way interactions. If a business is unable to deliver an item because of power outages, WhatsApp can quickly advise customers about the problem and arrange for a new date or even location – all without having to leave the app.

Offering promotions on your products or services during the blackouts is a great way to attract shoppers. Local retailer – Bargain Books – ran a promotion offering shoppers a 10% discount on purchases if they shopped during blackouts.

Continuity planning requires identifying the most vulnerable parts of your business and implementing a strategy that helps you to resume operations as soon as possible and contact those at risk. Our variety of products aim to support you during a crisis and enable you to send critical communications at the touch of a button.

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