COVID-19 taught us to stop, and to value what really matters, if only for a moment. And suddenly, the ‘world does not stop’ paraphrenia took on another meaning. Yes, the world has not stopped, but we have learned that we can stop – stop our world and that of the people around us. And of course, this stop leads us to reflect on what is really important for each one of us and for our small businesses and local stores, making us rethink the essence of things. Stopping, recalculating and adjusting are necessary to evolution.
That’s why, this Christmas, we would like to make an appeal, especially to those who were most affected, to local business owners: please do not wait for next year to be better. Try to make the most out of this one and keep on selling throughout this festive season, in a more convenient and safer way!
How many times have you been asked recently if you have the option to buy online and pick it up later? You stopped counting, didn’t you? The search for terms related to ‘customer delivery’ skyrocketed in March this year and some things are here to stay.
Some of the new purchasing concepts were already practiced with some of your customers, so turn them into an organised service and advertise it in your local community. Use the tools that you have at your disposal – post it on your social media (if possible, promote it to reach more people, but if that’s not possible, then the organic post will already make a difference). Or create a Facebook Shop. If you do Google Ads, add that information to your ads. If you communicate through e-mail marketing, create a specific newsletter with just this info and send it to your mailing list. If necessary, you can even make handwritten posters and stick them on your shop windows, but do it!
It’s just that, despite the call made to help local commerce, if the public doesn’t know that that grocery store, for the safety of everyone and your convenience, accepts orders via Facebook and has a pick-up point for purchases by the road (or at the entry of the establishment), how are we going to choose it over a large retailer or shopping centre?!
And if receiving orders online seems to you like an option that takes a long time to put together and that needs a lot of resources, think again, because we are not talking about creating an online store, with all the products and prices, direct checkout and secure payment. Why not use, for example, your social media pages? You can take photos of your products, make posts with these photos, describing them and giving their prices, and receive orders via private messages (Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct, etc). And as for payment, nothing could be simpler, at least since MBWay, for instance, appeared.
Do you know how many times consumers have felt like wanting to help local businesses? That they would even buy there if there was a more suitable offer, namely in what concerns the traditional purchase option, with the possibility of ordering and quick collection inside or outside the establishment, or even in their own car? Wouldn’t it be great?New ways to buy and get the product have really emerged, so chose the one that works best for you. You don’t need to have them all, but you do need to have convenient and secure purchasing solutions.
Adopt them, and not only as a safeguard for the ‘oh dear lord, if this vaccine doesn’t work, everything will close down again’situation, but rather as a ‘I will add a new sales channel to my business that in the future may come to be the main one’”.
Happy sales, and happy shopping, in local stores!