In a matter of weeks, we’ve gone from a situation where the only businesses truly worried about COVID-19 were those who sourced their products from China, to a stage where many companies will be needing financial assistance if they hope to make it through what has become a global pandemic.
In many states across the country, stay at home and shelter in place orders have closed all businesses except those deemed “essential,” which often only includes grocery stores, pharmacies, and other select services.
For retail businesses that have previously relied exclusively on foot traffic at their brick and mortar locations, this can be disastrous. But not if they use their website and social media platforms effectively.
Keeping Customers Updated
For many customers, your website and social media pages will be the first places they check to see if you are still open during the midst of the pandemic. As such, you should update your content so that customers can quickly learn whether you are still open, and what precautions your store is taking to combat the spread of COVID-19.
For example, many businesses that are still operating during this time have reduced hours to give employees more time to sanitize the store. Others are limiting how many people are allowed inside their store at the same time. Major retailers like Home Depot and Target have added banners at the top of their home pages so customers can quickly learn of new changes.
You can also add these communications to your brick and mortar location by placing signs near the door and updating your phones with an automated message to keep customers informed.
Selling & Shipping Products
If you haven’t previously been selling products through your website, now is the time to start. Even if your store is currently allowed to stay open, you will likely be experiencing reduced foot traffic as more people stay at home in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. A report published in Quartz revealed that in comparison to this same time last year, retail foot traffic has dropped 97.6 percent.
With hardly anyone (or nobody) coming into your store, your primary source of revenue will dry up. Without additional loans or rent agreements, you could find yourself in dire straits as you struggle to keep up with overhead costs.
Granted, adding online shopping features and figuring out the logistics of shipping to your customers can be a challenge. You will need to account for things like creating and updating an online inventory of your products, providing a secure checkout, and determining how you will ship orders — though this is more than doable with a WordPress site. The sooner you make this investment (and tell your customers about it), the sooner you can regain some of those lost sales. This could make all the difference in helping you maintain a source of revenue, especially if shutdowns last for several months.
Getting Through COVID-19 Together
It’s uncertain how long the current pandemic situation will last, or how serious the toll will ultimately be. During these troubling times, business owners must use the technology that is available to them. Doing so could make all the difference in your ability to keep in touch with customers and maintain a stream of revenue when physical storefronts are closed.