How to Sustain a Business without Crowd



COVID-19 spares no one, even companies



All over the world, we had seen spikes in confirmed cases as well as business shutting down. Both are directly correlated. As a result of community spread, many countries had resorted to locking down in order to curb the spread. With the lockdown, business cash flows are affected. In this vicious cycle, it will only lead to more shut down of existing business.

In Singapore, we are thankful that there is still normalcy in our way of life. Despite being one of the earliest to get hit with the virus and confirmed cases edging up to 500, the country remains open for business. We may have closed our borders to short term visitors but life still carries on as usual. It is what one reader term as - Modified but Normal Lifestyle.

While this might be a good thing, with the increase in imported cases  the week prior, being cautious especially in a crowded event or place is warranted. The last thing we want is a spike in local unlink transmission that would threaten to bring down our current way of life. For that, we would probably need to tweak business models to address this. As the main priority is to reduce crowds, it may affect business. However, if one works around this, the business can be sustained during this period without the regular crowd.

So how do you do it?




For Attractions


Have deals that can be redeemed over a 6 months period online
Instead of a timed deal that would expire by end month, consider a 6 months validity period. Given that the virus would probably last till then or longer, having a longer time to redeem deals would give consumers the much needed time to enjoy the promotion without joining in the rush to redeem it.

In addition, the redemption of these deals should be allowed online to reduce the need to head down to the attractions to redeem.

Extending annual pass to cover a longer period (ie extending another 3 months)
With an extension, more will be willing to purchase an annual pass as it helps to tide over the uncertainty during this period. This will also result in positive cash flow to tide over anticipated slowdown. Allow such application for annual passes to be done online.


Weekday and off-peak promotions
To mitigate the risk of crowds, weekday and off-peak promotions would be a better option than the weekend. It may affect weekend business but your weekday take-up rate could lessen the impact.

Have staggered time promotions for crowd control.
Staggering the time of entry and limiting the hours would be a good way to control the crowd. To compensate for the lesser time spend, consider a half-price promotion for such deals. The caveat is that these deals must be book in advance and not available at the door.

Protect and reward loyal customers
Most of the time, loyal customers are taken for granted. Reward them with special promotions such as revisit discounts. Have these revisits done during off-peak periods. In addition, consider extending annual membership to tide over this period.

More often than not, when the situation improves, your loyal customers will be the one that will return first. Do not underestimate the power of goodwill.



For Retailer

Have the same discounts online. 
With this option, it will lead to less queue in the physical stores.

Have extended and staggered sales.
Instead of a one day sale, consider a one week sale with staggered items for sale. That way, you would prevent a large crowd on a particular day and maybe even encourage a steady stream of the visit.

Have a timed sale that is booked online
Having a sale but want to avoid crowds?
Have a timed sale where customers are allowed entry at different times. Timing can be book online. That way crowds can be managed efficiently.

Credits for future use
Considered selling gift cards at a discount. This can be used for future purchases. It might eat into profitability, but at least you secure immediate cash flow.


For Restaurants


Book online for dining slots during promotions
This would reduce the number of people waiting in queues for promotion. An efficient system can also lead to a more positive experience as customers cut down on waiting time.

Package deals
If gyms, hair salons, spas can have package deals, so can restaurants. Considered pre-paid package for meals. It could be a monthly eat what you want deals or even a yearly membership. Lock in your cash flow now and ensure a steady stream of customers

Promotions for off-peak hours
Hold promotions for off-peak hours. Do be reasonable in the promotions. Dinners on weekdays do not last from 3-5pm. If your promotions are reasonable, the weekday crowd may help you to mitigate losses in weekend crowd.

Introduce loyalty offers for off-peak hours
In addition to having the usual discounts, consider offering loyalty discounts during off-peak periods. This could help drive up membership and provide better cash flow during this period.



Things to avoid
Time-Limited Sales or Discounts
We had seen crowds trying to grab these deals. Since these are time-limited, it tends to attract a large crowd during the promotion.  Such promotion runs counter to the need to control crowd sizes to prevent a potential cluster of sorts.

Weekend Promotions
Since this is the period where most are free, having additional promotions only serve to whip up a crowd. Despite its success in the short run, the repercussion of potential spread from these events would be devastating in the longer run.

COVID-19 theme promotions
Unless you are selling sanitizers or mask, this way of marketing is a disaster in the making.



The main motivator for these suggestions is sustainability and not profitability. Given the current situation, survival trumps profits. It is understandable that companies would love crowds to support the business, but the model has to change for the benefit of everyone. If one chooses short term profits over long term risks, there is a higher chance to lead us to lockdown due to community spread. The lockdown will undoubtedly result in massive losses, and the company should really reassess the marketing team if the mentality of short term profits persist.

If any companies or marketing are seeking for consultancy or someone to work to promote their cause, we are open for discussion.  Do drop us an email here for further discussions.




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