The rapid spread of Covid-19 has been overwhelming, to say the least. Its unpredictability has required constant readjustments to society—to mitigate its effect on the population’s health, social and political structures, and the economy.
Although all levels of the economy are being hit hard, there is growing concern for small independent businesses. Our mission at Loop has always been to support brick and mortar retailers. With many storefronts being forced to close due to Covid-19, it’s hard for us to not worry about their survival. So, we’ve done some research on steps that they can take to pull through these tough times, and hopefully bounce back quickly.
Below is a list of 7 measures that may help reduce the impact of storefront closures.
But one thing first – don’t give up! Maintain the mentality that these closures are a temporary setback, and consumers will be craving that social shopping experience when stores reopen. Prepare for a surge in business once you can reopen your doors!
Remain open for curbside pick-up or delivery services
1. Some storefronts are staying open to sell their products through curbside pick-up or delivery. If this is a possibility for you, consider offering discounts, or free delivery services, to encourage continued shopping during this time.
Embrace the digital
If your business isn’t online (or even if it is), now is the time to step up your presence to make up for lost foot traffic. No need to feel overwhelmed, here are some easy ways to get started:
2. With many people committed to social distancing, you can expect that social media usage is soaring right now. Use this time to ramp up your social media presence. Be creative—we’ve seen businesses offer live-streaming workshops, classes, and online discussions. Others are simply engaging with their audience more. Increasing posts, comments, likes, etc., will ensure your brand will not be forgotten.
3. Increase your brand’s reach even further through cross-promotions, and collaborations, with other businesses. This can easily be done by tagging one another in your Instagram stories, or resharing each other’s posts. If you’re feeling ambitious, consider creating online content or contests together that encourage users to share within their networks. Ultimately, increasing awareness now will prepare you for a successful relaunch later!
4. Lastly, if you have an online store, free shipping is another incentive to maintain sales while storefronts are closed. Again, discounts may be an added incentive for your customers to purchase your products during this time.
Lean on Your Community
5. We’ve noticed that many retailers are promoting gift card sales as a way to generate income while storefronts are closed. Share how gift card sales would contribute to your business’ survival. People are looking for ways to support their local community, so help them do that! Humanize your business. And if there is any way for you to support others, do so. Work together to build sales.
6. Although every government is handling financial assistance differently (and it’s changing day-by-day), don’t hesitate to look into government support—not only for your business, but also your employees. Hopefully, by taking care of your employees to your best capacity now, they will be willing to support you when the storefront reopens.
FYI: we have also come across free support in other ways, such as crisis communications consulting through private companies. Keep an eye open for services that apply to your business!
7. Get prepared to reopen, because it’s only up from here! Once Covid-19 is under control, society will return to normal, and so will consumers’ shopping habits. Maximize this time by preparing inventory, merchandizing, staff, and an overall memorable in-store shopping experience.
If this situation has drawn your attention to gaps in your business’ digital or technological capabilities, this is the time to address them! Here at Loop, we offer solutions to brick and mortar retailers to create a seamless omnichannel experience for their customers.