What local businesses can do during COVID-19
Since the COVID-19 pandemic arrived on the global scene, the landscape has changed in all aspects of life. Governments, businesses, and even homes have been affected as we all work to keep each other safe and healthy. Businesses, in particular, have felt the impact that the pandemic has made. Some establishments have seen double their usual traffic while others have had to close their doors or have their employees work from home. As we all adapt to life during the pandemic, small business owners may find themselves at a loss for what to do during these uncertain times. As reassurance, we have created a simple guide for what local businesses can do during COVID-19.
Make your Storefront COVID Proof
If your business is considered an essential service, your community needs you now more than ever. Whether you run a hardware store, a grocery store, or an auto repair shop, if you’re an essential service then you’re in high demand. However, it’s not a good idea to carry out business as usual. As people are concerned with the health and wellbeing of their staff and customers, it’s a good idea to adopt new COVID-safe business practices.
Keeping it clean
The most important habit to adopt in your store is cleaning and sanitizing to limit the spread of the disease. This means keeping your store even more clean than usual, and the best way to do that is by sanitizing surfaces constantly. The most at-risk areas in a store include the doors, counter, and debit machines. Any surface that customers come in contact with should be cleaned constantly, preferably between every new customer interaction. You can also prevent viral spread by having your employees wear gloves and masks, and encouraging your customers to do the same. If possible, having handwashing stations is also highly recommended.
All-Important Social Distancing
Another one of the biggest factors in COVID-19 safety is physical distancing, with a space 3 meters being the recommended distance. This means it’s important to also keep a safe distance between customers and workers while they’re in the store. This can be achieved in a variety of ways. For one, you can put up signs encouraging customers to maintain a healthy distance while shopping. You and also keep the aisles of your store as one-way paths so people don’t end up in tight corners. Other stores have opted to eliminate customer browsing in their storefronts. Many are opting instead to have employees bring the customers whatever items they need. You could even go a step further, and operate your store with a curbside pickup system. This means having the customers park in front of the store while employees bring their items to their care.
No matter what, if your store is staying open at this time it’s important to be there for your customers, getting them what they need in a safe and efficient way. It’s also crucial to take good care of your employees, so be sure to communicate with them and provide them with what they need at this time.
Delivering your Business to the Community
While essential services might find themselves booming right now, there are plenty of other businesses that have had to temporarily close their doors. But even if your store isn’t considered essential, you can still do some wonderful service in your community. Whether you sell clothing, toys, CDs, or books, you can still bring your customers plenty of joy even if you aren’t essential. Many small, local businesses have begun their own delivery services for customers in their communities. Some have hired outside delivery companies, while others have been making the trips personally if possible.
Even businesses that had no at-home delivery services before the pandemic have adopted it to get their customers what they need. While many do charge small delivery fees, there are some that are even making them free of charge! And of course, the deliveries are also social-distance approved, always delivering the products to the doorstep and preventing contact.
Non-essential business owners are also allowed to do curbside pickups, similar to the essential businesses that are doing the same. Others are also setting up video or phone appointments to meet with customers and clients. This way they can discuss their needs, whether it be finding furniture dimensions or getting the right dress size. Businesses are doing their best to help customers in their time of need. In doing so, they bring a bit of happiness to people, from tired hospital staff to isolated families.
Staying Connected from a Distance
In this time of physical distancing, it’s important that we still stay close to people. Over the past few months, people have discovered just how important technology is to keep connected with people. From chatting with friends on FaceTime to having video conferences on ZOOM, people all over the world have adapted to stay socially connected while social distancing. And businesses can do the same!
By using your business social media accounts, you can keep in touch with your consumers. Find out how you can best help them in these uncertain times. Use social media to ask your customer base how they want to receive services. Present them with options, whether it’s at home deliveries or curbside pickups. You should also reach out to people by sending well wishes through email or on a general post. And be sure to let them know what your business is doing in response to the pandemic. Let the public know what measures you are taking, whether it’s changing your storefront or keeping your doors closed. The public also cares greatly about the safety of employees at this time, so update your policies to protect your workers as much as you do your customers.
Outside of social media, you should also be sure to put updates on your website. This includes the above mentioned well wishes and new policies under COVID-19. Your website can also be the place where you set up online shopping or at-home delivery services. If your business doesn’t have a website yet, then our team at Big Surge can help you get started.
Getting Through Together
As we all make our way through this pandemic one day at a time, business owners continue to remember to take good care of themselves, their families, employees, and especially their customers. By taking the proper measures to ensure the safety of their employees and consumers, businesses can continue to thrive even in these difficult times. What is most important is staying connected and looking after each other, even if it must be at a distance.