The pandemic has been damaging for a number of industries and has hit small business owners especially hard. The best way forward is to adapt to the new reality, which involves finding ways to grow your online presence, or if you have a physical business, enacting safety measures to keep your staff and customers healthy.
This is a guest post by Katie Conroy of advicemine.
As lockdowns begin to lift in some parts of the country, more industries and businesses are being allowed to reopen — with restrictions. One way to keep your business afloat and safe is to adopt some basic safety measures.
Many states now require that residents wear masks, but if your state doesn’t have that rule, consider asking customers to wear masks upon entry. This will help keep your staff and other customers safer from possible virus transmission. It’s also a great idea to have a large bottle of hand sanitizer at the entry for customers to use. If you have a cashier at your business, consider installing plexiglass sneeze shields to keep them safe while working. These are fairly simple to make yourself; there are plenty of online tutorials to help you.
Another way to keep your business safe is by marking out six-foot spaces for customers waiting in line. Think about other ways you can redesign your business to make it easier for customers to physically distance from one another, whether it’s redirecting the flow of business around the store or strictly limiting capacity by monitoring the entryway.
To minimize contact, consider going cash-free for payments. Many businesses are requiring that customers pay by card, and there are ways to create online ordering and payment systems for restaurants who want to do away with traditional table service during the pandemic.
Along with physical changes, you should consider ways to upgrade your online presence and adopt technology upgrades to grow your business.
If you have a website and can offer services or products online, be sure it’s easy to navigate. If you don’t have an online store, consider creating one so you can sell your goods or services through your website to reach more customers. Embracing e-commerce is a vital move for businesses that sell products, so the sooner your company adopts online selling, the better.
To develop website features such as an online store, it may be necessary to outsource. Luckily, it’s easy to find help with this type of work; you can hire a freelance software developer to help you. Software developers can evaluate your needs as a business and recommend customized features and upgrades that will help you grow and expand your online offerings. They can also help redesign or streamline your business’s back-end software and add features that help with efficiency and information or communication management.
Another great option for business owners is developing an app to expand your customer base. According to one study, mobile devices are the most popular device for online shopping. If you have an online store, be sure to make it easy to use in your mobile app, and consider hiring an app developer to make it streamlined and functional.
One way to reach even more people is by including localization features in your app. Localization allows your app to automatically adjust to users in a different country, changing its language and currency to adjust to foreign markets.
If your business is ready to reopen, consider ways — both physical and through technology — to keep your business afloat during the pandemic. Whether it’s tweaking the flow of customers through your store or placing tape on the ground to encourage physical distancing, mitigating the possible spread of COVID-19 is crucial and will help customers and staff feel safe. There are many technological upgrades you can make as well, including improving your website and adopting mobile app technology.
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