How Local Businesses Can Still Cater to Customers

by Katie Sawyer, · 4 minutes
HOME blog how local businesses can still cater to customers

Just a few weeks ago, your bar might have been buzzing and your retail store might have been bustling. But now you can’t serve your customers in your establishment. And high rent and endless bills are nagging at you.

That’s why businesses are trying everything they can to still cater to their customers. Read on for six ways to still reach your customers during challenging times when your physical business is closed.

1. Monetize your skills

If you’re like many business around the world, you’re trying to think fast about ways to pivot during the current COVID-19 pandemic. That might mean setting up an ecommerce shop to sell your products. Share your available inventory on social media and let your followers know how they should contact you to make a purchase.

Or, take your skills and translate them into a different venture. Australian company Stagekings produces scaffolding and creative staging for large entertainment venues and concerts. While many of the productions they work on have been paused, Stagekings decided to use their employees’ skills for a different purpose — creating desks for at-home work.

Even if your customers can’t visit you right now, they’ll love being able to rep your business while they’re at home.

2. Offer delivery

If you’re a restaurant, grocery store, or convenience store owner, look into platforms like DoorDash, UberEats, or Deliveroo to deliver orders to customers. You can arrange contactless deliveries to ensure your delivery drivers and consumers are not at risk of spreading germs.

As many cities have issued shelter in place rules, food and grocery delivery are in high demand. Delivery orders will allow your business to continue taking orders and serving customers in your neighborhood.

If you own a bar, some places like New York City are even allowing alcohol licensees to deliver alcohol to customers. Just because your doors are closed to patrons doesn’t mean you have to stop serving them. Check your local laws to see how you can continue to pour those 5:00 pm cocktails.

3. Take your business online

Local retailers, gyms, and museums are adapting to closures by offering their services and products virtually. Fitness instructors and gyms including CorePower Yoga and Digme Fitness are offering free classes online to help people create a workout routine at home. Museums have created virtual tours to give people their fine art fix while at home. Local retailers have adapted quickly, turning their physical shop into an online store to continue selling their products.

Whether it’s by hosting a class, selling your products, or creating a community for your customers, there is a space for your business online and your loyal customers will be excited to find you there.

4. Offer “pay now, redeem later” options

If you work at a salon or spa, offer your clients the option to pay for a future appointment now. Encourage patrons to buy a gift card for a haircut or a massage. Your clientbase will miss visiting you during this closure, but will be eager to visit you when your business is open again. Create packages they can purchase as gifts for family or friends. Everyone will need some pampering after social distancing and working at home.

As a retailer, if you’re unable to ship your inventory, let your customers reserve their items by paying a deposit now. They can pay for the item in full when they pick it up upon your doors opening again.

If you own a bar, start a campaign allowing your patrons to purchase future drinks. Your loyal customers will race through your doors the minute you open up again.

5. Create “new” products

Adapt your most popular items to fit consumers’ needs right now. If you own a restaurant, create frozen meals for people to stock up on, or offer your best pasta sauce or salad dressing in bulk.

As a retailer, you may have to transform your spring line from skirts and sundresses to hoodies and leggings. Promote your athleisure line and loungewear to appeal to everyone that is working from home and binging a lot of TV.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to cater to your customers right now. Take a look at your products and find a way to make them helpful for people at home.

6. Keep in touch

Most importantly, keep in touch with your customers. Let them know how they’re doing and check in on them too. By giving them your status update, they’ll find new ways to support you. If you’re able to continue selling your products or services, you’re providing your customers with great support too right now.

We’re all in this together

Whether you’re ramping up to meet new demand or pivoting to adjust to a new way of operating, the key is adapting quickly. Provide your business with the tools to perform through uncertainty with a free trial of Deputy.

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