One thing is for sure during this pandemic, if your business has been affected by Covid-19 you’re going to need to take action of some kind to ensure you can stay in business. Particularly if you run a pub, restaurant, cafe or bar, it’s essential right now that you find some alternative revenue streams or pivot your services so you can keep trading. In this article we’re going to take a look at various options available and the importance of making sure your customer communication is clear via your website and social media channels.
Alarmingly, I’ve noticed many businesses haven’t updated their websites at all during this crisis. Many are keeping customers informed through social media, but it’s essential that you DON’T NEGLECT YOUR WEBSITE right now! Your website is the primary channel where new customers come from. This pandemic is an opportunity to reach new customers because people are looking for different ways to get what they need – whether that’s groceries, or take-away, or to order for delivery because many physical shops are now closed.
Here are 10 things you can do right now to keep your business going…
1. Update your website with a Covid-19 notice
It’s important to explain to your customers how you are doing business now, or whether you are closed for the foreseeable future. Leaving your website as it is is not great: visitors are going to assume you’re either open as usual, or that you are closed and you haven’t updated your website! Don’t keep them guessing – tell them what is going on and how your are working now. This can be as simple as a dismissible bar at the top of your site, meaning you don’t have to alter the layout of your homepage drastically.
People also need reassurance that, if you are continuing to trade, that your working practices minimise risk and maximise safety and hygiene for everyone.
2. Keep your social media platforms up to date.
Your website is a good place to have extensive text, but social media is a good place to keep the relationship going with your customers. This is the place to keep them informed of changes, new products and services or ways to support you.
3. Ask your customers for their support
Ask your customers to ‘support you’ through this difficult time and tell them how they can. Asking for support allows your customers to frame purchasing from you as a noble and good thing to do to help their local businesses stay afloat. People do actually need reminding that this is a make or break moment for many of the businesses they love or have taken for granted up until now.
4. Work out how you can offer your products and services online.
Your website could be easily adapted to sell physical products online whether for delivery or collection. If you want to discuss adapting your website to temporarily help you take orders online in this way, do get in touch with us.
5. Use a chat service on your website to help communicate and signpost customers quickly.
A chat service implemented on your site can help people get quick answers to their questions. Chat plugins don’t cost a lot – talk to us today if you want to install a chat plugin. In many cases we can use free plugins and only charge a small amount to install.
6. Offer video or digital means of working if you offer a service rather than physical products.
If you have a service rather than a physical product, work out how you can offer it in a way that allows social distancing. This may be via video-chat, or the sending of digital files rather than paper. There’s so much work can be carried out digitally or over video now.
7. Pivot your physical products or food and drink to people’s needs.
If your business is a brick and mortar one, with physical products, or produce such as food and drink, you need to work out how you can pivot to sell online either through delivery or click and collect. Collections can be arranged to ensure social distancing is respected and everyone can be kept safe.
Work out if there are ways you can change what you offer temporarily. For example, if you run a pub can your usual deliveries be reallocated as grocery delivery or collection services for your clients? People need milk, bread, and other things and may not wish to go to a regular shop to obtain these things due to the perceived risk. This is the power of small businesses – they can be flexible. Alter your website so that customers can order online and book a collection slot. You can then place the order in the boot of their car directly, or take payment over your website or phone and everyone minimises their risk.
8. Find other ways to keep revenue flowing.
Gift vouchers allow people to purchase from you, delaying the redemption of the goods until you’ve reopened. This can be done with a simple website form and payment gateway. If you thought that taking payments online was expensive – it really isn’t. It’s now possible to take card payments on your website for only a 1.4% transaction fee, and that’s it! No monthly fees or start up costs, just a tiny transition fee.
Another idea – why not create frozen ready meals from your menu that people can collect or have delivered?
9. Simplify and streamline your products.
If you’re selling food, then simplifying your menu for takeaway or deliveries is important to ensure food arrives in an edible condition, or that waste is minimised. It goes without saying that changing tack requires a whole new set of processes and reorganisation, so it makes sense to think about what your customers really need and want from you, and simplify things to meet that need. Remember also, that because delivering food is a different ball game to delivering it to a table, you’ll want to ensure you can keep standards high to maintain your reputation so that when doors do reopen, punters come straight back through them.
10. Remind people why they need you!
People go to pubs, cafes and restaurants because they want to socialise, eat good food that they don’t have to cook, and get out of their homes for a change of scene. We’re all tucked away at home now, but that simply means we need more ways than ever to break the monotony of everyday lockdown life. Restaurants, cafes and pubs have the ability to provide fantastic food (and sometimes drink if the license permits) to give people something special to eat, even if they can’t do the socialising or change of scene part!
If you need to discuss making changes to your website to help your business keep trading throughout this difficult time, we’d be only too happy to help. Just get in touch with us today to see how we can help you.
Deluxe Web provides high quality bespoke and template websites for small businesses with affordable payments. Friendly and reliable expertise to get your business presented the way it deserves with a website that works to help you grow.