I know this has been a whirlwind of a week for you. Some of you have closed up shop for now, others are taking it day-by-day. All of you are taking extra precautions (which can be costly: I know 30 hand sanitizers are not in the budget) and you're thinking about what's coming next.
I don't have the answers but I do have some things to share that can hopefully make this a more fruitful time for your stores. I don't mean to make this about sales revenue, but I'm aware these are your main sources of income and no one wants to see your stores suffer, or worse, close. When all seems scary and hopeless, there are ways forward.
Please know we are doing everything on our end to ship your orders from a safe and clean warehouse environment that is cleaned regularly, and packed with sanitized hands. Please allow some extra days for deliveries, and please indicate if you need something shipped quickly.
Here are 7 things you can do now to keep going:
1. Stay connected. Communicate with your customers through social media, email, or a good old fashioned flyer if you can. Keep your community updated with what you're doing. Your hours may have changed or you are closing the doors on your physical store for now. These are your customers that will continue to support you through this time. Let them know how.
2. Be flexible. Can you set up online shopping or offer phone orders? Can your customers pick up from the curb? Now's the time to look into setting up your Instagram shopping withthis tutorial.
3. Set up a To-Go Window. If you are open for now, can you move your operations to the door or window of your store and limit contact? Check out what our friends at Cafe Eloise did in Brooklyn over the weekend. They moved their POS to the door and took orders to the window for pick-up.
4.Update your website. The internet is not cancelled and people will be hopping online to see what you are doing. Update your store hours online and your Google Maps listing. Let customers know how they can still purchase from you. Work on updating your: SEO (with this handy conference session), product images, website navigation, 'About Us' page, add new products, or create gift sets.
5. Enable (& encourage) gift card purchases. As your community wants to support you but may not be able to step outside, remind them about gift cards. Be flexible with card/online/Venmo payments if you can. This will bring in cash now and customers later.
6. Make a gift set or bouquet. Our felt flower bouquets have been flying out - people are wanting joy in their homes and to gift these to those who are isolated. Create some one-of-a-kind & ready-to-ship bouquets and put them on your website or social media. Do you sell dry goods like coffee, chocolate, or soap? If so, make an isolation care package or team up with another local business...
7. Do it Together. Join forces with other local businesses in your neighborhood and promote each other. Coffee from X, dinner from Y, feel-good gifts from you. Can you cross-promote and offer each other's goods & services?
I encourage you to get creative and offer something a little out of the ordinary for now. Let me know if you have any other tips to share in this time, I will continue to work with you to get through this strange season and share more in the coming days.
Please reach out if there is anything you need from me or just to chat. I'm working from home and will be available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 917-257-5608.