With the forced closure of all non-essential retailers, many traditional bricks and mortar shops are seeking out new ways to take their offering online. A number of retailers have setup e-commerce websites, for example Sheffield-based Forge Bakehouse, who are allowing customers to place their bread orders (and pay contactlessly) online, to then collect at an agreed time. However, it takes time and consideration to setup an effective e-commerce website, so an alternative approach that some retailers are taking is to sell direct to their customers through social media, or in partnership with other businesses.
One of these is Sheffield catering business, PJ Taste, who, utilising the City Taxis “City Grab” App, is able to provide essential groceries, prepared meals and small treats to the residents of Sheffield. And unlike the major supermarkets, where to get your essentials delivered will currently require a 6-8 week wait, small businesses are much more nimble and are able to offer deliveries in as little as 45 minutes after ordering.
Other retailers have really utilising online advertising avenues to promote their products. This is actually giving many smaller retailers the opportunity to broaden their customer base from their previously geographically-restricted audience, to the whole country, and for some, even the whole world. Not only is this allowing these smaller retailers a valuable lifeline in the current time of crisis, but it also provides them with a valuable additional income stream moving forward.