The pandemic has affected us all in many ways, but business owners have been particularly overwhelmed with numerous lockdowns and restrictions. In particular, the retail, beauty, and restaurant industries have been hugely impacted by the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We’ve put together a few ideas on how those businesses which have been forced to close can continue to make sales. With a bit of creativity, many businesses can carry on selling their products or services.
Even before COVID-19, the rise in online shopping and online services soared. But with retail shops and service-based businesses forced to shut their doors, many have moved their business online instead.
For retail stores, this is as easy as selling your products online with an e-commerce website. Shopify is a great option for a temporary and low-cost way to sell products online, or you can invest in a bespoke e-commerce website built by us!
For service-based businesses, this is a little trickier. Many services can only be carried out in person (beauty services, for example), but thanks to online video calling software such as Zoom and Skype, business owners have managed to adapt to a new digital way of providing their services.
Case Study: Aimee Wellbeing
When the first lockdown was implemented back in March 2020, Aimee Stapleford, who usually runs in-person group yoga sessions, was forced to cancel her classes.
But, thanks to Zoom and our Zoom-integrated online booking system, Aimee was able to run online yoga classes instead, which have been just as popular!
Case Study: Zaman's Restaurant
As one of Newquay’s favourite Indian restaurants, Zaman’s received an influx of telephone orders when they had to switch to operating as a takeaway only. This meant having to keep a member of staff permanently on the telephone all evening to take orders, and resulted in customers waiting a while to get through, or simply giving up.
We re-built the Zaman’s website to include our online food ordering system, allowing customers to place orders online quickly and easily.
Sell Gift Vouchers
With Valentine’s Day coming up, there’s no better time to promote the sale of gift vouchers and gift cards. So long as they have a generous expiry date, customers will be happy to support your business by paying for their appointment in advance, or gifting the service to someone else. You continue to make an income and your customer has something to look forward to when the restrictions have lifted; it’s a win-win!
Sell Relevant Products & Merchandise
If your business is service-based and there is no feasible way to continue to work, a temporary solution could be to sell products and merchandise that’s relevant to your business. If you can source branded merchandise with your logo on, that’s even better! We’ve listed some ideas below:
Case Study: Captivating Beauty
Forced to close her eyelash extension business for most of the year, Leah at Captivating Beauty discovered there was a creative way for her to still lash her clients, just in a different way!
Leah started to sell the next best thing to eyelash extensions – strip lashes made with the same professional products and techniques to look just like the real thing!
Take Bookings & Payments In Advance
This one’s not so easy, as there is no certainty as to when the current lockdown will end. But by asking your customers to secure a spot as soon as it’s safe to re-open, you can continue to bring in a small amount of income. This works best for service-based businesses, such as those in the beauty industry, who can ask eager customers to pay a deposit to secure their spot on a waiting list.
Write an E-Book
E-books are a great way to share your knowledge and expertise, and earn a bit of money while doing it. Apps like Canva make it easy for you to design your own e-book, which can simply be delivered to a customer as a PDF document.
Case Study: Origins Wellbeing
Origins Wellbeing is a health and wellbeing business offering wellness consultations based around the traditional Hindu system of medicine called Ayurveda.
As well as offering their consultations online, Origins Wellbeing has written a series of e-books and downloadable guides, which can be bought from the website.
Make Sure Customers Can Find You Online
Keep Posting on Social Media
Don’t let your customers forget about you! Keep posting regularly on social media to increase your audience and build anticipation for when you can open again.
If you have a website for you business, posting blog posts provides a great opportunity to share your latest news, tips, and advice. It also has the added benefit of increasing your site’s SEO and website content.
Finally, Review Your Branding & Marketing
One last thing to think about is how you can use this time to review your branding, marketing, and online prescence. Have you pinpointed your exact target audience? Do you know your Unique Selling Point or niche? Do you have a great logo and house style? Is your social media and website up-to-date? Now is the perfect chance to review your business plan and stand out amongst competitors.
If your business is struggling, please get in touch with CRJ Design for free and friendly no-obligation marketing advice and support.