COVID-19 has been a game-changer for the world economy. No one ever realized that Social distancing would become a new lifestyle. Living under a lockdown has changed buying habits and the purchase patterns for consumers globally. Businesses of all sizes have been hit hard in this daunting new age of social distance and self-isolation, but the blow has been devastating for small businesses that rely on in-person transactions. Unlike large retailers, these small companies typically do not have the cash reserves to support themselves through such periods and may eventually close their doors permanently.
Why Support Local Businesses?
Local business is essential for our economy. Their existence adds growth and innovation to our communities. They provide employment and create entrepreneurship opportunities and support the local economies, communities, and neighborhoods.
We all want to see our beloved local businesses prosper so that we can protect them when it's safe to be back in the city. So, here are a few things you can do as a customer to help those businesses stay alive, particularly if you're someone whose income stream isn't affected by the novel coronavirus.
1. Social Media Shout-outs & Support
If there ever was a time that the local business around you needed a shout out it is today. Yes, be generous to share your positive experiences. Tag their handlers and profiles on your social media posts and stories. Write those reviews that you always wanted to write but never got the time to do so. It’s always fun to share throwback photos. Do not forget to add local businesses to your social memoir. Pull out a small creative story on how great that coffee tasted, or how you had an amazing hair day thanks to the last minute salon walk-in you made. Try adding friends to these shout outs so that they generate a buzz. You will be surprised to see the engagement. Let’s be honest, we all miss the freedom of going out freely and doing all the fun stuff we used to before COVID-19 became a constant part of our daily routines.
2. DIY Kits, Home Services & Online Consultation
Salons near you are now offering DIY Kits, home services, and online consultations. Grab hold of these DIY KITs and sail through this period looking great just in-case you don’t feel like going out to the spa. Or call the spa to your home, yes – home services are now picking up just like the good old days. You can now book an appointment with your favorite stylist and expert to come over and help you look great again. Many beauty artists and consultants are also offering online and telephonic consultation for their clients to keep up with your beauty needs.
3. Consider a small business before buying online
We often just pick up our phones and order directly from giants like AMAZON but your order could actually help a small business survive and keep them motivated to keep going while the times are tough. Check with the nearest grocery store they might be delivering online through apps like Instashop. Just remember that small businesses would put an extra effort into ensuring you get quality products in the shortest time possible and delivered safe and hassle-free.
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4. Buy Gift Cards, Credit for later, Discount Vouchers
Buying gift cards for a friend is a great idea for businesses that they are going to use anyway. There are also the options of purchasing discount vouchers that can be redeemed in a span of 4 to 6 months. This not only saves you money but also ensures longevity for small businesses. It gives businesses like salons and yoga studios some cash to support employees and reassures them that they will still have customers.
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5. Tip service workers
The service industry at large has been the biggest sufferer from the current situation. Be generous, tip the people delivering you food or coming from a salon for home services, cleaners, and laundry staff as every penny counts and adds to their motivation and survival. If you already were kind enough in leaving a tip, tip extra.
6. Don’t cancel instead reschedule
If you had an appointment or a dinner reservation; do not cancel it instead of rescheduling for a few weeks later. There is light at the end of the tunnel and let’s not be pessimistic and start canceling everything. With you, rescheduling businesses can re-evaluate the situation a bit better and not go into a panic mode.
7. Be Patient
The pandemic has disrupted almost everything for businesses including supply chains, vendor reliability, and employee productivity. Most of the small businesses are trying to keep things together and adapt to this new standard. It's also uplifting and morale-boosting when they hear from customers who are empathetic about what they’re going through. Let’s not forget that we’re all in this together and we shall overcome!