Small businesses everywhere are proving that it is one-hundred percent possible to social distance in style. From bringing yoga classes to client’s living rooms, and converting kitchen counters into functional bars, innovative owners have found creative ways to cater to a stuck-at-home client base.
Maintaining optimism despite hardships will be important in the weeks and months ahead. And, reframing the pandemic as an opportunity to offer new, accessible services has leveled the playing field for many small businesses. Some of the changes they’re making right now may even last well after states lift shelter-in-place orders.
Take Business Online
Predominantly, many small businesses are pushing their services online. With consumers stuck inside, under shelter-in-place orders, online browsing and shopping has seen significant increases. And, some businesses have found ways to offer customer service via telephone and video conferences.
One field receiving a lot of online attention is fitness and health. Nancy Burns-Fusaro with The Westerly Sun described how instructors are finding the right tools to continue meeting with clients. Those streaming their classes live have even seen participants from far and wide tuning in. Others are turning their online studios into a subscription-based service, giving customers access to pre-recorded videos and health-tip articles.
Burns-Fusaro pointed out that a big part of staying in business for online services has been social media marketing. Especially when it comes to offering free promotional services, posting their announcements to public accounts has played a large role in how fitness centers get the word out about their classes.
However, it’s not only fitness centers that have been in the spotlight for going online. Retail, tutoring services, telemedicine, and more are all finding ways to reach their clients digitally. The pandemic has proven that remote services are definitely an option that may be here to stay.
Build To-Go Orders
For businesses that simply can’t offer their services online, pushing delivery options and to-go orders has been a saving grace.
In particular, restaurants and bars have geared up to continue serving their customers with minimal contact. According to Sean Captain with Fast Company, off-premise alcohol sales are on the rise, with more customers looking to bring happy hour to their kitchens. Many bars are also turning to do-it-yourself, at-home drink kits to skirt state laws preventing them from serving pre-made drinks off site.
Small businesses may also look to grocery stores for hints as to what’s working well during the pandemic. Sales are certainly booming out of necessity. However, on top of that, grocery delivery apps have seen a record number of downloads, according to Sarah Perez with TechCrunch. So, not only has social media taken over marketing, but apps are increasingly becoming consumers’ go-to digital storefronts.
So, beyond just offering take-out, meet your clients on their playing field. If you can’t cater to them in-person, find your way onto their bookmarked tabs or home screen. This is one method that will continue to serve your business well, even after states lift social distancing guidelines.
Sell Gift Cards
If your business model is one that simply can’t be taken online or packed in a to-go bag, selling gift-cards is your next best bet.
Lisa Stiffler with GeekWire described gift cards as microloans during the pandemic. She highlighted one major marketing strategy: customer loyalty. Going to those regular patrons and seeking support and mutual benefit may help scrape together next month’s rent. And, gift cards are a great way to maintain optimism. Customers will look forward to the day they get to head outside and redeem their present.
So, if your business is stuck between a rock and a hard place, offer gift cards as a positive investment in you and your clients’ future.
Make Social Distancing Fun
With help from public figures, businesses have also found ways to play to social distancing as a fun marketing strategy.
Many cities have gone viral for their “Bear Hunts.” This particular trend has storefronts putting teddy bears in their windows for pedestrians to find. Especially popular among children, this game has kept families engaged with local businesses despite limited interaction.
Now is also a great time to boost your business’ online presence in fun ways. With people sitting at home all day, online promotions, contests, and generally fun content are all a welcome break from the monotony. Even if you can’t engage with your clients in-person, find ways to keep them engaged online. Make sure they’re thinking of your business first thing when shelter-in-place orders begin to relax.
As you deal with dynamic problems that require creative solutions, StaffFoxTM is here to help. We’ll build your optimal schedule to keep everyone on the same page amid confusing times. Try us out today, or let our customer success team help you find your ideal staff schedule.