We remain inspired and uplifted by all of the creative initiatives our neighborhood businesses have already put together. The biggest takeaway from the ideas listed below is COMMUNICATION AND CREATIVITY. As we all know, this is not business as usual, so think creatively to fill a void in your business sector to set yourself apart and be sure to communicate with your customers to keep them informed.
Bars, Restaurants and Cafes
- Promote your delivery and carryout options. Effective at the close of business on Monday, March 16, Governor Pritzker announced that all bars and restaurants in the state of Illinois will be closed to the public through Monday, March 30. The State of Illinois is working with restaurant owners and food delivery services to ensure kitchens can safely remain open to continue food delivery and put in place drive-thru and curbside pickup options for restaurants to continue to serve the public.
- Creatively offer "family" meals - Limit the burden on your kitchen by narrowing your menu and offering a "Family Meal" consisting of an appetizer, entree and dessert priced to serve a family of two, four or six for pickup.
- Encourage customers to make future reservations. This will help create predictability once dining rooms reopen.
- Promote purchasing gift cards. Remind the public that this provides your business with a direct cash injection.
- Seek social media support/reviews. Ask your social media followers to show love to their favorite local bars, restaurants and cafes and to write positive yelp/google reviews.
- Create Virtual tip jars/Go Fund Me for your staff. Remind your clients and supporters that your staff would appreciate any support they can provide in this challenging time.
- Promote online shopping as a safe alternative to shopping in-person. If you don't yet have an online retail presence, consider Shopify or SquareSpace to migrate your storefont business online.
- Promote gift cards.
- Offer "virtual fashion shows" via social media Put together creative social media posts highlighting your merchandise with themes like "cozy work from home clothes" or "home accessories for relaxation and nesting" to coincide with our community being mostly at home.
- Provide curbside pickup option. This concept is not limited to the food service industry and could work for other retailers.
- Begin selling via Instagram. Consult https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/selling-on-instagram for ideas on how to start selling your product on Instagram. Businesses can also feature a different product a day on their IG account at a discounted price and the first person to comment on the post claims it, and utilize Venmo for payment.
- Facebook/Instagram live sales. Invoice the buyers after you make a "virtual sale."
- Offer free/flat rate shipping as an incentive to online sales.
- Offer paid consultations via video or phone teleconference.
- Offer webinars to foster sense of community in this time when folks may be feeling detached.
- Encourage customers to make an appointment for a later date.
- Promote products and services that are available for purchase online.
- Make your existing customers/clients aware of what you can and cannot accomplish remotely. Think creatively to provide alternative services electronically that may be able to take the place or supplement your in-person business.