With so many stores closing in the wake of COVID-19, the future of brick and mortar comes into question. Stores are closing everywhere; people are staying home, and yet, life goes on.
Fortunately, the federal government has released funding for wage subsidy and other business expenses through the CARES Act, so you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to ride the tide until the danger has passed.
Riding the Tide of Economic Change
As a retail business, you base a lot of what you do around demand. You try your best to forecast what that’s going to look like so you can stay ahead of the game. Now, all of that’s out the window. Nobody knows if or when things will ever go back to “normal,” which is all the more reason to reevaluate your business model.
The question is, is it possible for you to pivot in order to meet changing business and customer needs?
Here are a few of the ways brick and mortar stores are managing the change:
Buy Online, Pick-Up at Store, Touchless Delivery
Even while under orders to stay closed to the public, there are other ways to serve your customers.
Many stores now accept phone and online orders, offering curbside pickup. Customers can call and pay over the phone or online and arrange in advance when they want to pick up their order. Some stores are even offering touchless delivery in their local area.
While these strategies are not necessarily cash cows, they keep your doors open, give your employees purpose, strengthen your business culture around the common cause, and (maybe most importantly) they let your customers know that you care.
Changing Your Marketing Strategy
One of the interesting things about digital marketing in the age of COVID-19 is that we all have something in common: we’re all looking for diversions and distractions that take our mind off of reality. This is a huge opportunity for you to make some meaningful connections.
For example, people are cooking a lot more. They’re making bread, they’re trying new recipes, and there are many chefs and culinary influencers out there doing their best to keep them deliciously entertained.
Here are a few ideas for you:
Make videos! Go live! Your video could be an olive oil and vinegar tasting (EVOO of the week? Balsamic of the day?), or you could demonstrate simple ideas on how to enjoy them, like in a salad dressing or marinade. Not confident with your on-camera skills? Don’t worry. People love authenticity! You can either “go live” on Facebook or IG, or pre-record and edit the clips in advance.
Pair up with a local chef or influencer who is already doing videos and make a deal with them to use your products in their clips.
Start a blog. If videos aren’t your thing, a weekly blog with a recipe might be. Then, you can offer those products at a special price or package multiple ingredients together in a recipe “kit.” Spread the word through your email list and cross-post on your social pages.
Bottom line, the more you can connect with the way people are living right now, the more likely they are to be long-lasting, loyal customers in the future.
It’s critical that we all pull together during this time. Reach out today to learn more.