How to navigate your business through another lockdown.
1- Consider creating packages of your products or services
Our top-performing (or selling - they love the cash) products during the lockdown in April were kits and boxes of items, e.g.- pizza making kits, an isolation box of the best meats with optional add-ons, are good examples of how customers are able to customise their orders.
By creating a package of goods, whether it is a pamper kit, a craft box, a cocktail kit, a box of pies, you make it easier for people to get what they need faster, and provide them with ideas too. Consider what you could package to help people stuck at home and remember you can provide ways for them to personalise their offerings.
2- Mind the gap
During restrictions, your online presence is more vital than ever. During the lockdown, our friends at Maybe tell us people used social media significantly more, but businesses used it significantly less. Staying connected with customers online ensures that your customers stay with you through this and will still be there afterwards. Make sure you have created a social media profile (either or all platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram) to help you gain more reach and secure more orders. Post regularly, make use of your local hashtags, join local groups and engage with others to help increase your awareness.
We can help you amplify your message too. Don’t forget to tag @ShopAppy on Facebook or @ShopAppyUK on Twitter and Instagram,/ so we can promote your business to our network. Use your town name as a hashtag, hashtag #whereyoushopmatters and #shoplocal too to help people join the dots.
3- Take your events and classes online too
Taking your events and classes online will help people and for those who are shielding or just more nervous. Even if you can do your yoga, music classes, book clubs, craft sessions or art groups in person, nor everybody will feel able to come along.
Consider how you can provide events in a hybrid way - both online and offline. Video channels like whereby.com, Zoom, Skype all have free options that you can use for one to one or group meetings/events. See this video on how one business has taken classes online on ShopAppy.com here
4- Get creative and work together
When businesses adapt and collaborate you really help yourselves and customers. A local bakery in Saltaire ran live bake-a-longs and enabled their ingredients (branded up of course) to be sold in the local refill shop. This was such a great example of engaging customers with experience and businesses sharing sales opportunities. If one business can’t open, can you help them sell products through your shop instead? Read more in this Guardian article here
5- Buy now enjoy later vouchers
Buy Now Enjoy Later vouchers were popular during the lockdown as they gave people something to look forward to. Since reopening, we have had reports of businesses telling us that when they asked customers to use them in-store, some just said they would not redeem them, they were happy just to help at that crucial time! You may be surprised at how much your customers love your business, so these vouchers can help people feel better by helping a business they love to get through. And of course, it means you can reconnect with them when restrictions ease.
6- Do good
One of the reasons we always love to support local businesses is that you often help communities, donating to the local school fair, providing a free space for a group to meet and so much more. Over lockdown, we saw businesses do good online - from selling foodbank vouchers to enabling customers to buy treats for NHS workers - even a sewing shop offering free mask-making fabric. Reminding people why they should shop local and encouraging people to give will provide long term benefits to the wider community - it is a win-win for everyone.
7- Give your customers a choice
During COVID £1 in every £3 was spent online. Make sure you share more of your products online on ShopAppy.com as people are increasingly seeking alternatives to Amazon and other giants. For people less used to online shopping, the ability to buy from someone they know online gives them extra confidence too.
So make it easy to support locals and give people as much choice as possible with nice product pics too - consumers will love browsing and spending local, in person or online. Customers want to see more than a few products, they like to see lots and have a good browse.
8- Short Stay Shoppers
On the subject of browsing, 60% of people are less comfortable in physical shops, and that is growing as restrictions increase. Over 90% of businesses told us that people were browsing for less time in-store. It is a trend we have called the Short Stay Shopper. So browsing online and physically looking at your shop windows is really important. Make sure people can see what you sell or the services you provide easily to influence footfall and more spending in-store.
9- Keep customers informed
Keeping customers informed is now more important than ever - especially of your opening times and COVID practices. Customers tell us they are not sure of opening times as so many businesses will differ in the same high street. They also like to be reassured on what processes are in place to protect them. You can add that information to your ShopAppy profiles, you can easily update opening times too but also make sure you have updated them in google listings and on social media.
10- Get personal
If Covid19 has done nothing else it has reminded us that we are human. Pictures of you, your team, you in action making things, selling things, sharing things are so important. If your ShopAppy profile picture is your shop front, get yourself in front of the camera. If we have to socially distance or worse if we do go into a national lockdown, those pictures remind us of the human connections we have. Your personalities as much as your businesses make places unique and keep shopping personal.
If you get orders, be sure to add a note to a package with a personal message. On social media - do share stories about things that inspire you or things you do or feel, that aren’t all about your business. It’s nicer to do business with people we feel we know and whilst online can never be the same, it helps to show our human side.
On a final note - we always want to improve what we do, so please complete our survey so we can understand how to best support you over the coming months.
We are with you all the way.