Small-business owners have always been a force for innovation. Now, entrepreneurs like you are using that same drive to find creative ways to serve customers during the pandemic. Virtual and online solutions can help you adapt your businesses today—and emerge stronger in the future.
Here are four opportunities to explore:
1. Start streaming
Many in-person businesses are now offering their services online. Gyms and trainers are livestreaming workouts. Hair stylists are booking DIY sessions, teaching clients how to maintain their looks.
Conducting business virtually allows you to stay connected to customers and keep generating revenue. Plus, it shows that you care and take social responsibility seriously. Consider giving discounts to existing customers who help you spread the word via email and social media. Virtual services create opportunities to engage new customers no matter where they are.
2. Take your brick and mortar online
Having an online presence has never been more important. The pandemic has forced most people and businesses to stay home, driving up internet shopping. But even when businesses start to open up, owners should plan for fewer customers at their physical stores. A digital storefront helps you reconnect to local customers and also reach a wider audience. Selling merchandise online helps you run your business from home while tracking sales with ease.
Not sure how to set up an online store? Companies like BigCommerce can help with out-of-the-box solutions for setting up your website, processing payments online and running promotions on social media. In addition, they provide tools for analyzing your sales and results.
Make staying home easier for your customers by offering delivery. Even if you can’t afford to keep drivers on staff, third-party delivery companies are stepping up to help.
In response to COVID-19, Postmates and Grubhub are waiving commission fees for independent small businesses. From laundry detergent to wine, Postmates delivers essential and nice-to-have products. DoorDash is also offering independent restaurants 30 days of commission-free delivery.
4. Get in the gift-card game
Gift cards can help businesses generate income now, even if they need to be redeemed later. They’re also a great way to maintain your connection to loyal customers, who may be looking for ways to support businesses during the pandemic.
Online gift cards are offered through many providers, including some point of sale (POS) tools. Here are some examples:
- For restaurants, check out Toast or TouchBistroTM. Toast is a tablet-based restaurant POS system that lets you offer gift cards, run loyalty programs, host online ordering and store customer data. Toast is offering three months free, with no hardware purchase required. TouchBistro has a POS solution for iPad® that features advanced management capabilities, gift cards and other food service options.
- Givex is a versatile POS solution. It integrates gift-card and loyalty programs for retail and hospitality merchants. To help new and existing clients during the pandemic, Givex is now offering several services at half price .
The pandemic has accelerated many existing trends and triggered new ones. Now is the perfect time for your business to get creative, make changes and lay the groundwork for future success.