Updated: Mar 22, 2020
If you don’t have an online shop for your retail store, now is the time to set it up.
We know so many businesses are facing challenges right now. So many have had to close their doors. Sadly, some will not be able to reopen - don’t let that be you.
Now is the perfect time to think about the future of your business. What products can you sell online? How can you expand your target market? Are there services you offer that allow you to take virtual appointments? I spoke with a few small businesses struggling to survive. The next few days will shape their future. Customers are aware that we are dealing with something we have never seen before. They are willing to accept new ideas and support local businesses. So, let’s get creative and keep them engaged so that when your doors open back up, they’ll be rushing in!
Caffe Ammi, a specialty coffee roaster in Pelham, NY, is using sponsored posts on social media. The idea is to direct current customers and prospective customers to the online shop to order bags of coffee.
Instagram (and most other social media platforms) offer targeted posts that allow you to promote your post towards a specific zip code, in a mile radius, so you can narrow down your audience. You can also select age ranges and interests. When your post is viewed, and most importantly, clicked, it will take them directly to your website. Remember though, you want your visual to grab the customers attention!
Penny Lick Ice Cream in Hastings, NY is encouraging customers to shop online and purchase gift cards that could be used for a later date.
A great way to engage your current customers is to remind them by creating an email marketing campaign. I recommend MailChimp. I find that the templates are easy to set up and you can upload your own images easily too.
You can import your contacts through your address book. This usually requires you to export them to an Excel file. Then e-blast away!
But perhaps you don’t have your website up and running. You have a few affordable options. A lot of e-commerce shops use websites like Shopify. Even if you're a beginner, you can follow the steps to create a simple shop, but you will need time to navigate and upload all of your images, products descriptions, costs, and inventory. Wix is another site I like to use - and how this site is done. The more advanced options allow for blogging and e-commerce, as well as bookings and chats. For businesses that can offer services virtually, you could create a calendar with your availability and have clients book you there. Then you can determine if you will chat online, via phone, or video, using services like Zoom.
Now that we are all working on ways to sustain our business online, you might want to also read this piece on monetizing your business through video. Click here for Why Every Business Needs Video Marketing.