Many of us have already faced the tough decision to implement closures or business operational changes, due to COVID-19. If your team is facing this choice, or you are working through social distancing policy, we hope this article will help you find solutions to keeping your business open digitally, and your team healthy!
- Online Meetings
Many companies, including Array, have asked their employees to work remotely, and have moved all meetings to phone or video conferencing. Here are a few ways that you can check in as a team, or host meetings with clients:
- Google Hangouts
Through July 1, 2020, G Suite customers also have free access to Hangouts Meet. Advanced video conferencing features larger meetings (up to 250 people) with the ability to record.
Discord is temporarily upping the Go Live private streaming and screen share limit from 10 to 50 people.
- Microsoft Teams
Microsoft is offering anyone a six-month free trial to the premium version of its Microsoft Teams collaboration application, a part of the Office 365 suite.
- Google Hangouts
- Social Media & Website
Share your COVID-19 updates using your website and social media platforms. Use an emergency notification banner on your website to “sticky” the latest info. Pin the posts on social media. Share positive brand communications, focus on community-building efforts, and address your client’s changing needs and concerns with creative solutions.
As the COVID-19 situation progresses, refine your email marketing strategy. Avoid overwhelming or pushing sales too hard – stick with information that is essential and useful to them, not just to your brand.
Making Sales & Accepting Payments While Doors Are Closed
Many retail brick and mortar stores already have online shopping options. If you don’t, consider your options to accept payments and complete sales online:
- Web Stores
Many people are converting to online shopping to avoid crowded shopping centers & malls. Simple options for selling online are Etsy, eBay, or reselling on Amazon. Shopify offers a quick online store setup, for a reasonable monthly fee. For more complex solutions, look for a custom agency like Array, or an appropriate out of the box solution created for your industry.
- Customer & Employee Portals
A web portal can help your employees and customers access and update info such as company policies and announcements, invoices, deliveries, order status, and online payment options.
- Invoice Payment Forms
Can’t collect in-person payments? Streamline your remote administrative work by collecting payments using invoice payment forms instead.
- Use Social Media to Sell
If your in-store traffic has reduced or you’ve closed doors, bring your store to your consumers by sharing products and hosting sales on your social platforms.
Writing a Press Release
During the COVID-19 outbreak, many businesses are having to make adjustments to operations. Write a release to publish your urgent announcements and updates.
- Include Change of Hours or Special Operational Changes
Make sure your customers know if your hours are changing or if you are operating from home. If you have moved to drop off / pick up only, make that clear as well.
- Let Loyal Customers Know How to Support You
To maintain cash flow while walk-in traffic is lacking, consider selling gift cards towards future purchases. If you are making a special gift card offer, it doesn’t hurt to mention this. If you are able to, make your services no-contact by offering delivery on your products. This ensures safe social distance between your employees and customers while allowing your services to continue.
- Include Helpful Resources
Help community-based measures to mitigate the spread by sharing info on how local residents can stay healthy. Share tips on cleaning routines, managing health and provide valuable local resources.
Find Ways to Help
In times like these, it’s more important than ever to be part of your community. Here are a few ways your business can make a positive impact:
- Can you donate to others?
Donate to community organizations that need help fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Donate blood. Help local food banks.
- Can you provide special hours?
If you are an essential business, set up special hours to allow elderly and the immunocompromised an opportunity to get what they need.
- What new services can you offer that will support?
If you’ve closed your doors to the public, host online events or video-based classes. If you can, offer free use of your digital services. What other creative new services can you provide?
- Promote positivity!
With many of us entering isolation, positivity is needed more than ever. Share good news stories, encourage people to keep in touch with friends and family, and keep hope and positivity in your communications.
Examples Leading the Way
There are many local businesses serving as beacons of positivity and offering services to help our community through this difficult time. Here is a list of Vancouver Island businesses that are rising to the occasion. If you know a business that should be featured here, email email@example.com.
Is hosting a 40 day Live Covid-19 Yoga Challenge on Facebook every day at 9 AM. Classes are by donation which can be made on their website.
Is offering local small businesses free eCommerce to sell their products online.
Have launched an online store and are offering Nanaimo residents free delivery for online purchases.
Is offering free local deliveries on online purchases.
Is making and donating hand sanitizer to health service related agencies and non-profit organizations.
Is offering free delivery until March 31st and 15% off Fight Club.
Has free shipping to all Canadian & US residents until March 31st.
Has opened an online store and is offering deliveries on meal orders.
Is reducing their individual pre-ordered family meal purchase to $20 until the end of March and offering free delivery within the areas of Woodgrove to Cinnabar in Nanaimo.
Offering free delivery on meal purchases over $30.00.
Providing free transit – fares & boarding passes are not required. Are implementing a rear door boarding policy in Victoria & Nanaimo to enhance social distancing.
From 7 AM – 9 AM, all stores are offering dedicated shopping hours to senior & immune compromised shoppers
Store hours reduced to 8 AM – 8 PM for additional sanitation. Introduced Senior Shopping Hour for the first hour of the day at all stores.
Starting at 6 AM, orders can be made via phone. Starting at 8 AM, orders can be made via Facebook Messenger. $20 minimum on all orders.
From 7 AM – 8 AM, all stores are offering dedicated shopping hours to senior & immune compromised shoppers.