COVID-19 has hit small businesses hard and while some have been able to adapt their existing model to continue operating, for others that isn’t a straight-forward option.
There is some positive news however….the tech world has been working hard, in some cases even pivoting their own businesses to provide tools and services that can help support the business community now and after lockdown is lifted.
This is our run-down of what’s on offer from both the large tech companies and smaller independents and how they can help your business.
One way to help keep your business in the forefront of your customers’ minds and bring in some cash is to start offering gift vouchers which can be re-deemed now (if you’re still able to operate) or when you re-open. Here are a couple of good options:
Save My Local: a free service for small businesses which allows you to set up your own page and start selling gift cards within minutes. savemylocal.org
Local Support Voucher: cafes, restaurants, hair salons and shops can all register to sell gift vouchers which can re-deemed when you re-open. localsupportvouchers.com
There has been a definite increase in community spirit during COVID-19 as neighbours look out for each other and want to support the local businesses on their doorstep. In response, there are a number of sites where you can list your business or be listed by your customers:
Next Door: is a community hub where people can virtually meet and interact with their neighbours and share information, tips, and recommendations. Local businesses can add their services and Next Door have currently created a list of businesses marked as ‘open’. Next Door also have the option to offer gift cards. nextdoor.co.uk
ShopAppy: enables independent shops and businesses to show the products and services available. If customers pay online they can choose to collect from each store they have purchased from or collect it all from one place. It’s free for businesses during COVID-19. shopappy.com
Your Local Delivered: a way for people to find local food businesses such as pubs, farm shops and restaurants that will deliver to your door during COVID-19. List your food business for free here: yourlocaldelivered.co.uk
My Virtual Neighbourhood: a place to find businesses that are offering delivery, takeaway and collection options in your area. Add your business for free: myvirtualneighbourhood.com
Social Media Tools
As small businesses face significant disruption due to COVID-19 some social media platforms have developed new tools to help support them. It’s worth monitoring the main platforms for new developments and updates but for now the below changes could make a difference:
FaceBook: if you’ve recently moved your classes or services online you may be interested to know that FaceBook Events will soon have the option of charging people to join your Messenger Room virtual call or FaceBook Live events. https://later.com/blog/live-facebook-events/ FaceBook is also adding features which will allow people to support small businesses by purchasing gift cards.
Instagram: Instagram have launched a new Sticker which will soon be available globally. This Sticker can be used in Stories to direct people to a website where they can order food from restaurants or buy gift vouchers. theverge.com
We hope these help your business at this difficult time and wish you all the best.