Efforts to slow down the spread of Coronavirus will have a devastating impact on our Waterfront economy.
Businesses already suffering from the change in the retail climate will now be faced with a battle to survive.
Your Waterfront Business Improvement District will do all it can to join with others in campaigning for more financial support.
But, we also want to offer more practical support to help you get through the next few weeks as best you can, so please check in here for regular updates.
At the moment, much of the Waterfront is still open for business and many of you will have products and services that people still want and need, so you may need to think of different ways of reaching them.
It’s all about sharing ideas, so we have compiled some tips here.
10 tips to innovative thinking to support your business through COVID-19 impact
With Coronavirus impacting upon businesses on a global scale, particularly retail and the leisure and hospitality industry we’ve compiled some ideas that may help support your business through this current turbulence.
1. Get online
If you aren’t already on social media, now is the time to get your business online and start to reach out to current and potential customers to share information about your business, any changes you’ve made as a result of coronavirus to alleviate concerns and list your products on your Facebook page to provide the option for online sales. Use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin to reach out and share your product offer to encourage customer support and sales using hashtags to be part of bigger conversations.
2. Use your database
Do you have contact details for your customers and their permission to contact them? Do it! Get in touch and share what you’re doing, how they can purchase from you and encourage them to visit your or buy online if they can.
3. Encourage safe practices
Stay up to date with the latest guidance around social distancing and being aware of the symptoms of coronavirus and how to deal with it. Share this information with your customers and put up some signage. Have hand sanitizer available at key touch points like the till and card readers and put in place processes to regularly clean down areas that have high levels of contact. Have tables for people to sit? Consider rearranging your layout to provide more space for social distancing. Think about whether you could alter opening hours or provide appointments to visit to provide peace of mind for people visiting and wanting to limit social contact.
4. Work with other businesses
Can you collaborate with other businesses to support each other and provide a package of services or products to reach your customers? Think about what you can do to join up, whether it’s to provide an offer to customers who are worried or concerned about coronavirus or using shared services to solve a business solution.
5. Follow the latest guidance and keep your team up to date
Use the Invest Plymouth business support page to keep up to date with the latest government advice and support and share details with your teams. If your business is in need of support or is struggling get in touch with the Plymouth City Council Economic Development team who can signpost to available support and advice.
6. Re-think how you can reach your customers and sell products
Use this as an opportunity to think outside the box to reach your customers. Can you do deliveries or door to door service? Could you sell your products in a different way? If you aren’t already selling online now may be the time to investigate this route, whether through your website, Facebook or Etsy, Amazon or Ebay! If your business may have to close can you encourage people to buy a gift voucher for a future purchase instead?
7. Solve a problem
Can your business service or product solve a problem for your customers? Can you bring some joy, or alleviate some stress? Think about what you may be able to do that will solve a problem and reach out to your customers if they’re self-isolating or avoiding social gatherings.
8. Do some good
With the current situation causing uncertainty and uneasiness across the globe can your business do some good, spread some good will or provide a way for customers to pay it forward to support anyone who is struggling. Whether that’s money towards a charity with a purchase, supporting deliveries to elderly people in isolation etc. Think about how you may be able to do some good whilst keeping your customers engaged and buying from you.
9. Create a new product offering
Can you reposition a product offering to meet the needs of someone in social isolation? A product that you may have needed to sell face to face can it be ordered and delivered or collected as a take away? Can you provide some video content for being part of an experience from home to bring people together? Can you create vouchers to pre-book for experiences in the future? Look at your product offering and see what you may be able to shift to cope with the changes happening externally. Think about incentivising your offers to encourage people to buy from you.
10. Generate some awareness
Get out there and tell local press what you’re doing. Remind them that you’re still open and that you need support of customers to keep going. Share what you’re doing with the team at Visit Plymouth so that we can promote it for you to reach out to customers. Use the hashtag #SupportingPlymBiz when posting on social media
If your business is experiencing significant issues please contact the Economic Development team at Plymouth City Council who will be able to signpost to advice and support available.
But we want to know what you’re doing so we can publicise for you, so please let us know if you are doing anything differently or offering special services or deliveries and we will share via our social media channels.
If you have a service that could help other businesses, please let us know and we will compile a business resource section on our social media channels.
Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on government funding and economic support, you can find more advice here: www.visitplymouth.co.uk/invest/business-support/covid-19
Rest assured, we will do everything we can to get you the support you need until we get through this.
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