As the global pandemic continues, retailers are entering month three of closed doors to help curtail the spread of COVID-19. While retailers consider their cooperation as a part of their civic duty, they are suffering economic devastation.
The federal government has been working hard to provide disaster relief benefits, but many are still waiting for COVID-19 benefits. Similarly, businesses are also waiting to access other forms of credit that can help sustain their businesses through the crisis.
These challenges are leading to rising unemployment numbers, dramatic upsets to normal business operations, extreme pay cuts for founders, reduction in digital advertising spend, robust overages in seasonal inventory, and for some smaller retailers—the threat of having to close doors permanently.
As specialty retailers wait for economic disaster relief funding, you may be wondering what you can do to support small brands in the meantime. Here are a few ideas.
1. Create a stimulus or relief package
The federal government isn’t the only organization that can provide financial support.
Look at all the industry, trade, neighborhood, religious, non-profit, and alumni groups you participate in and consider what kind of cash reserves you have. By banding together, it’s possible to create your stimulus package or small business grant.
Once you’ve settled on a relief package, promote it within your network via email marketing and social media marketing.
You don’t have to have millions of dollars to make a difference. A little can go a long way.
2. Shop online or buy gift cards
Some small retailers are surviving by taking their inventory online. You may not be able to visit the local boutique or go to the mall, but it’s easy to hop on the computer and purchase your favorite items online.
Consumers are already participating in boosting online sales, as stats show transactions in most retail sectors experienced a 74 percent rise in March compared to last year. Do your part to help raise these numbers in the upcoming months.
If your favorite local brands don’t have the capacity to build an eCommerce store quickly, consider purchasing gift cards or vouchers. The most important thing is to help small businesses keep cash flowing.
3. Buy directly through retailer websites
It may be easier to purchase a product through Amazon or eBay from your favorite fashion brand, and you may even experience faster shipping.
However, if your purpose is to get the products you love and support retailers, consider buying directly from their website. The reason? Third-party sites like Amazon take a small percentage of the sale price from retailers.
This means you could end up spending more on Amazon, or brands may have to shell out a portion of the proceeds to big third-party sites.
4. Make your resources available for free
It’s been inspiring to see businesses in various industries jump at the opportunity to help small businesses in need.
Several digital marketing platforms are providing free training, fashion brands are converting their factories to make masks and sanitizer, and brands are offering free tools and instruction to help small businesses conduct work remotely.
If you have the means and a helpful resource, try making it free to small businesses.
5. Point small businesses in the right direction for aid and grants
Don’t underestimate the power of your content marketing efforts. If you are a larger retailer with a robust social media following, email list, or blog, use your influence to spread the good news.
There are several government resources, tax benefits, private grants, and industry stimulus packages available to small businesses and specialty retailers. However, it’s also possible that people don’t know precisely what is available and where to look.
You can help by aggregating a list of resources and sending it out to your followers.
Retailers are doing their best to cooperate with federal health guidelines and stay afloat. However, as the crisis continues with no end date in sight, it will become more and more up to us to find ways to help.