In the past 24 hours, I’ve seen photos of empty restaurants, vacant boutiques and long lines for toilet paper. Images that are a stark contrast with a normal Friday night.
Social distancing should prove to reduce the effects of the virus on human illness and mortality rates, however many small businesses may not be able to withstand the impact of consumers distancing themselves from venues that are dependent on crowds, fans, and even worshipers.
So what can small businesses do to weather this unprecedented event?
Move to Virtual
Sales managers often rely on visiting customers at their place of work. That may not be available to them now. Instead of rescheduling your meeting for weeks into the future, consider scheduling it as an online meeting. Our favorite tool for this is called Zoom. It’s really affordable and super reliable. Google has also put some help out there for businesses by offering their enterprise meeting tools FOR FREE
Shift your Sales Strategy to Online
NIKE just informed us that they are closing 100+ of their retail stores for good. Why you ask? Because they understand that the strength of their brand will force those who want/need to wear their shoes will be able to find them online. All the sales without any social interactions to hold back sales. Win-Win. (or, not… that’s a conversation for another day)
Chinese companies in Wuhan Province were forced to confront the reality of coronavirus shutdowns well before most American companies. As storefronts shuttered their doors and workers practiced social distancing, savvy business owners shifted their sales strategy to avoid heavy losses.
The Wuhan-based cosmetics company Lin Qingxuan closed 40% of its stores — but the brand’s 100+ beauty advisors took to digital platforms like WeChat to engage customers virtually and increase online sales. “As a result, its sales in Wuhan achieved 200% growth compared to the prior year’s sales,” writes Harvard Business Review.
If you’re closing your store, find ways to keep your employees earning a paycheck by selling your products on social media, putting your email list to good use or using a video tool to reach new leads.
How quickly can an eCommerce website be setup?
Wix and Squarespace both have great and inexpensive web development portals to sell merchandise. For the time being, it may be best to try your hand at setting up a virtual store for your products.
Not at all technical, and want someone else to do this? Our web development team has set up online eCommerce websites in 48 hours or less. If you have a strong social media presence, you can drop links to your new eCommerce site and start selling to them very quickly.