Coronavirus. We won’t waste time defining the novel COVID-19, because unless you’ve smoked yourself into a stupor for the last month or so (honestly recommended), you know what’s up. So, how do you keep business alive when the entire country has been urged to #staythefuckhome and more and more states across the U.S. are issuing enforced curfews, closure of nonessential businesses, and complete lockdowns?
Get your local business listings up-to-date.
Your online presence is huge right now (and honestly, all the time), so if you have some downtime it would be best spent creating or reviewing your shop’s local business listings to make sure they’re accurate. These include Google, Facebook, Yelp, Apple Maps, LinkedIn Company Directory, and smoke shop directories like Heady Pages.
Check all your listings to make sure you have a consistent and accurate NAP (name, address and phone number). This will help you reach consumers searching for businesses like yours in your area. You can also spend a little time building out these profiles by adding photos and a business bio.
If you’ve modified your hours, get the word out.
Update the local listings you’ve created to reflect any change in business hours, and blast them out by email and all over your social media channels. As a consumer, there’s nothing worse than trekking to a business with plans to buy something only to pull on a locked door. Don’t do that to your custies.
Change your voicemail message.
It’s likely that more people will be calling your store than ever before because of all the uncertainty. And if you’re cutting back on staff and hours, your voicemail message is going to be heard. So, update it. Give customers info on whether or not you’re up and operating, current hours, whether or not you’re offering alternate shopping opportunities like curbside pickup or delivery, and if you have any restrictions in place on browsing times or the number of customers permitted in the store.
Consider delivery services.
If you’ve been forced to lock your door for the time being or cut back on employee hours, consider offering delivery services. It can keep sales coming in and support your most reliable team members who would otherwise be out of work.
Even if you haven’t closed your storefront, offering this service can increase sales. Every day more consumers are beginning to take the shelter-in-place movement seriously and avoid leaving home for nonessentials. If you don’t have a website, you can promote items for sale and the delivery service on Instagram or Facebook.
Get an e-commerce site.
Keep sales coming in with an e-commerce site. This will allow you to sustain daily sales and even increase them by expanding your reach to customers across the country. It’ll allow you to keep up with your regular customers too, and can be a great way to facilitate delivery or curbside orders as well.
Our sister company, Green Scene Marketing, is comprised of experienced web designers who have lots of industry knowledge. They can help you out. When all of this craziness is over, the value of your website will continue to positively impact your business.
Offer curbside buying.
In an effort to support everyone’s health and well being, considering offering curbside buying. This option can keep your employees working and sales coming in while still helping to ‘flatten the curve’. Post items for sale on your website or social media channels, promote call-in orders, and keep a few staffers on to package orders and walk them out to customers’ vehicles.
Keep communication open.
Whether you stay open, close down, cut hours, or barricade yourself in a toilet paper tipi until it’s all over, communication is crucial in times of uncertainty. Though it may seem like things are going to shit, how you conduct business during this time will speak volumes to your brand identity. Keep your customers in the loop and they’ll remember you when everyone can leave the house again.
Support your community and customers.
If your situation allows, there’s no better time than now to lend a hand in your community. Consider donating a portion of proceeds to a non-profit who is making moves, support healthcare workers in your own way, and extend positivity to people online. This is a dark time for many, but lightening the mood with a promotion like a free roll of TP included in every order over $20 is a creative way to market while doing your part.
Stay safe, wash your hands, and hang in there!