The coronavirus situation is severely hitting local businesses. Rescue seems to be moving to a virus-free Internet. The global situation related to the epidemic is well known to everyone, so we will focus on adapting our activities to new habits, requirements, and economic situation. Aiming not only to save your business but to develop it. I hope this article will help you survive the COVID-19 pandemic and quickly get back on business feet in a new reality.
You are a local small or medium company – this article is for you
Small and medium-sized enterprises, operating local and basing on the live contacts with their customers are businesses, suffer the most during this epidemic coronavirus, However, even such calamities are the chance that the industry s -commerce make great use of it.
However, the chart below shows the trend of how people adapt to the new situation and change their habits in the case of everyday grocery shopping by installing online shopping applications in food networks.
It shows the potential of activities aimed at transferring your traditional business to the Internet. It is also worth remembering that the world after the epidemic will be different and the digitization of our world is now reaching even industries that have been resistant to it so far.
In this guide I will try to propose solutions for the time of the coronavirus epidemic for the following categories of companies:
- local store e.g. :grocery
- Local service provider, e.g.: – hairdresser, mechanic, florist,
- local manufacturer, e.g. foodstuffs,
- local gastronomy, e.g. restaurant, bar, pub.
Objectives of the COVID-19 epidemic for local businesses
Let’s set up some of the main principles that guide us in discussing further solutions for the time of the coronavirus epidemic:
- We need to act quickly
- We want to limit contact with customers live
- Transfer sales to the internet
- Serve customers online
- Accept and settle orders online
- Ensure delivery of orders
- Acquire customers from the internet
- allow employees to work remotely, or reduce their contacts
We need to act quickly
A lot of local businesses have no websites or their website is in very poor condition. The online business aspect is completely neglected and there is no chance that it could save the company during a global virus pandemic. This article will tell you if your website is able to help you.
Therefore, we need to implement a quick recovery plan, because:
- We assume that problems and restrictions will not last long,
- Every moment of delay is the company’s loss
- A long process of website implementation will be too expensive at the time of crisis.
In these articles, you will learn how to avoid delays in the project.
- Typical causes of delays when creating websites
- How to cooperate with a website creator
- Why should you prepare a good technical specification
How should this issue be solved and why should you build a website based on WordPress:
- Installation and configuration of WordPress takes minutes
- High availability of developers and virtual assistants who know WordPress
- Large database of ready designs – themes/skins a
- Large base of ready-made additional functionalities – plugins
- Ready and tested e-commerce solutions
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Most of the solutions that I described below can be done during the day and some of the work does not require programming knowledge, however, experience with the user panel will be appreciated.
I recommend the following articles on how to find a good WordPress developer:
- What questions to ask when recruiting a WordPress developer
- How to choose an agency or freelancer to cooperate in creating a website
Will WordPress help us limit direct contact with clients and reduce the risk of coronavirus infection?
Limiting people-to-people contacts is the basic solution to the problem of the covid-19 epidemic. Today’s global village is the cause of the pandemic, but also a source of solutions. I hope that one of them for local businesses may be WordPress and other online solutions that can help us.
Most local businesses rely on direct contact with people. The limitation of meetings turns out to be a huge blow to the company’s processes::
- pre-purchase service
- delivery, receipt of the order, provision of
- service after-order service
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It turns out that we are very much able to transfer all these activities to the Internet, especially when on the client’s side we have a full understanding and even in times of epidemic recognition and admiration. Acting proactively in times of crisis builds a strong brand image. Moreover, there is a movement among society to support local companies. Customers are eager to help you survive this crisis.
Design and content for the epidemic covid-19
Here I would like to present my own objections to the security of using shopping services during the epidemic. My concerns relate in particular to food delivery. Often in the communications of gastronomic premises, there is no information about what safety rules have been introduced.
Therefore, to build trust and reduce customer objections, it should be very accurately presented on the website and social media how the company cares about the safety of its customers.
How to build greater trust in our company:
- Post accurate information about security on the site and on social media.
- Show on photos and videos on how you care about security.
- Create video streaming from your company. Show live how you care about safety.
- Provide clients with all additional security options.
Learn more about how trust works on the Internet and how it affects business.
Acquiring customers during the coronavirus pandemic
The dynamics of the current epidemic crisis require the use of marketing activities that bring quick results. For this reason, we do not take into account SEM and long-term content marketing.
From actions giving effects we can immediately distinguish:
Paid – Advertising campaigns for local companies
At the very beginning, we should mention the possibility of targeting ads to recipients in a given area, i.e., for example, we can only target people 30km from our premises. It is a great solution for local businesses with limited areas of operation. It is worth remembering that these are not the only advertising criteria that can be set in the advertising system.
Here are some tips for advertising campaigns:
- Find a person experienced in online marketing. It’s easy to lose money on inefficient advertising.
- The ad should be targeted at a specific audience, especially in the location you serve.
- If your business has a community, it is worth using it as a base target group, or as a pattern for a group of similar recipients.
- Set up conversion goals with your marketer, e.g. online purchase
Free local business advertising methods
How to promote your business for free:
- promote your business on company social profiles as well as private profiles
- do not be afraid to ask for support from your friends and fans. Ask them for recommendations, sharing your posts,
- use local groups on social networking sites,
- Share information offers on social networking sites using tags related to your company and location, forums
- search for, sites with local classifieds and share information about your business there,
- send private messages to people from your area
What is worth remembering in advertising communication during a crisis,
- be positive, active
- use short and meaningful messages,
- be creative, attract attention,
- inform about the security rules of your company,
- try to realistically assess the help of others. Nowadays, someone’s “click” is valuable
- wherever possible put information about how the company now functions. Let your customers know that your business is working and taking orders.
Nowadays, it has served its customers mostly live. You probably are attached to this form of contact, and you can even avoid electronic communication, so the following tips may be helpful for you:
What channels can you communicate with clients during the coronavirus epidemic:
- phone, video calls,
- messengers – Facebook, messenger, WhatsApp, private messages in other applications
- news on the fanpage
Things to keep in mind in electronic communications:
- Don’t be everywhere. direct your clients to selected forms of communication.
- Create and use message and reply templates. You will get more free time than answering by phone or replying to the same questions many times.
- Take care of the quality of correspondence.
- Answer regularly, but try to finalize the conversation as soon as possible and close the sale.
- Use automatic response templates and chatbots
- If customer questions are repeated, create a faq available online. And make it available to customers.
What solutions do we have available for communication for websites based on WordPress:
- Contact form: Contact Form 7, Ninja Forms, Gravity forms
- Chats: FB Messanger, tawk.to (free), Live Chat and other
- Phone and video calls:
- Here you’ll learn how to optimize your site to get more phone calls from
- customers. If you have too many customers calling and you want to control the number of calls. Start making calls using solutions such as Google Calendar, Calendly, Callpage and more. In most cases, forms of solutions are available for arranging web site conversations.
- With the help of tools such as twillo, you can prepare your own telephone exchange (IVR) and program automatic responses for users.
- Virtual assistants – by creating a set of rules and algorithms you can hire remote assistants who can help you in your work. Such services are not expensive.
- Live video streaming – Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch
- Group chats – Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, Discord, Slack
What can you easily automate? And where you will find the use of templates in communication
- Inquiries about how the company works, at what times, how it handles orders.
- Email templates, chat.
- Link to information on the website, social media.
- Sending infographics, information film.
- Automatic chat
- replies. Programming automatic responses in the telephone exchange.
- Virtual assistants.
- Request for products and their availability, price list inquiry.
- Message templates
- A website with services catalog and products and current availability
- Contact form
- Link to information on the website, social media
- Automatic chat replies
- Programming automatic responses in the telephone exchange
- Virtual assistants
- Templates of messages, documents
- Web pages with terms of cooperation
- Preparation and sending of infographics
- Link to information on the page www, social media
- Automatic replies to chats
- Programming automatic replies in the telephone exchange
- Virtual assistants
How to solve serious deficiencies in live contact:
- Watching products, checking, trying on:
- Share accurate photos of the product along with applications, arrangements
- Record and share a video of the thorough examination of the product
- Use video calls and send additional photos on-demand to better present the product to interested customers
- Accurately describe the characteristics and dimensions, product weight
- Create helpful materials for clients e.g. faq, guides
- Create a favorable return policy reflecting the
- Atmosphere and climate of the premises, companies
- Create online events, where you gather your clients
- Create video conferences, live events, collective, where:
- Chats you will conduct joint conversations and show what you do on a daily basis, e.g.: made drinks, pack products, produce products,
- Lead concerts, playing games together on streams.
Remember that crisis moments evoke emotions and emotions build relationships. Skillfully using this mechanism, you will build a group of fans around your business that will be associated with your business for a long time because of shared memories of the coronavirus epidemic. Maybe the activities I am describing here will not bring results during the crisis, but they can give results in the long run, when your community comes back to you “live” and helps you rebuild your business.
Online buying during the coronavirus pandemic
Shopping and placing orders using the contact form
Let’s start with the simplest and fastest solution to use, i.e. the contact form. Most WordPress plugins for this type of task allow you to create forms of varying levels: the
- A customer sends the required contact details and the order in the form of a text message (e.g. shopping list in the greengrocer)
- A client sends the contact details and a collection of various types of answers about the form of delivery, or product/service (e.g. pizza order with additions, arranging a hairdresser’s visit)
- A customer completes the multi-step order form with the automatic calculation of costs.
In the case of coronavirus epidemic, payments can be carried out by:
- direct debit
- traditional payment
- payment online
- the online payment additive on the form contact
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In the case of payments, it is worth making them online to limit the spread of the virus. Secondly, it is important that both parties are immediately notified that the payment has been made, the minimum requirement would be to receive confirmation of the transfer. However, the best solution would be to use a payment gateway that immediately informs you of the payment made.
Application of e-commerce solutions – using the Woocommerce plugin
The Woocommerce plugin is the best solution available to run the e-commerce function on WordPress, from a simple ordering system to large online stores. Importantly, the plugin works with most WordPress themes and provides all the necessary functions without additional work.
Useful information about Woocommerce:
- About Woocommerce, the example of the use
- Instructions for use
- Payment gateways
- Additional functions, plugins
With Woocommerce we can:
- Create products/services for sale and their variations,
- Manage the price list, inventory,
- Manage shipping,
- Manage the status of orders and payments and fiscal matters
- Provide purchase process on the client-side
- Send notifications to customers
Important extensions for Woocommerce
- Book dates (service providers)
- Restaurants, pubs bars, and these solutions
- List of plugins that allows you to optimize, simplify the store and add additional functions
What with the case of industries that the epidemic has completely blocked the sale and delivery of products
A large number of companies are out of the question during the coronavirus epidemic and are unable to sell due to current restrictions, customer concerns and the unknown future of the industry.
Creativity and searching for solutions in times of crisis has already given amazing results, why should it be different in this epidemic. Due to company downtime, you can search for related activities, develop neglected aspects of the company, or conduct activities for which there was no time before.
Here are some of my ideas on how to act proactively during the covid-19 epidemic:
- Devote your free time to searching for clients, delivering orders,
- Build a network of contacts that we will use when we return to normal functioning
- Spend more time communicating with clients and handling online orders,
- Creating offers for new times, e.g.: travel industry exchange trips for local trips
- Use of orders with deferred delivery in exchange for a more attractive offer,
- Request for direct financial support of the company, e.g. for educational materials, online events, sending alternative products,
- Creating and selling digital products, e.g. cooking, making drinks, sewing hairdressing,
- Offering online consulting and advice, e.g. building and interior design.
Executing and delivery of orders during the epidemic
In the case of orders for products or digital services, the processing of the order is not a problem even in a world scarred by a coronavirus. At the moment we are also booming for all delivering services. It shows where the solution to our problems lies.
In today’s situation, difficulties arise when the customer receives a material product or performs a service that requires physical contact with the customer. In this guide, unfortunately, I can’t describe how to operate safely from a medical point of view because the author does not have the appropriate competence to do so. However, we can set several potential goals to minimize contact with the customer:
Delivery system with the least contact with the customer
As the first example, let’s take restaurants, delivery stores, product manufacturers. In particular, we are talking here about companies that do not use the services of courier companies and supplier networks but want to solve this problem with their own methods.
In this case, the website and ordering system should have:
- Possibility of completing the online order
- Via the contact form based on the list of available products. With payments attached to the form (with a simple price list), or based on the entrepreneur’s calculations
- Through a simplified online store based on Woocommerce with the option of choosing products and variations, or the appropriate configuration of the subject of the order
- Online payments via a payment gateway, a payment card, or by sending transfer information
- Ability to select additional security features, such as Left-order front door of the
- System email notifications, SMS, phone, instant messaging, order status and the possibility of receiving
- A tool to easily assign images (evidence) a delivery order
- Code generator reception instead of a signature on the receipt
- Access to online events carried out by the company, e.g. by ordering drinks online you get access to an online concert.
The to-do list may appear to be extensive and complicated, but many of these functions are ready with the installation of appropriate plugins, and some features require premium plugins or small programming work.
In the case of performing services in direct contact with the customer, it would be necessary to:
- Oblige the client about the health statement to
- Inform and oblige both parties to use the best possible protection,
- The booking system should include breaks for appropriate disinfection and protection of the next customer.
After-sales service during the plague
As in the case of pre-purchase service, we must operate through various communication channels and limit direct contacts. A good sales system will help you easily identify your order and consider returns or complaints.
However, it is worth focusing on marketing sales activities and building a group of regular customers and a dedicated community around your business. That is why the company, until recently local, must draw full handfuls of online new business strategies, namely:
- Conducting analytics, installing and configuring tracking tags facebook, google – we optimize advertising costs
- Acquiring emails and marketing consents – conducting email marketing about our own business, offer, promotion and actions. For this type of tasks, you can use Mailchimp and this plugin to
- Promote website sharing, customer activities, or becoming fans on social network sites. Such plugins will help in
- Activating customers by conducting marketing activities in social media and our communication channels. It is worth being creative, spontaneous and despite the difficult financial situation, it is not worth trying to sell by force.
Can I afford a website in times of crisis?
A basic website can cost pennies and do its job. at the end of this article, a free website awaits you.
Although I will tell you about the more accurate costs and how we can save on creating a website:
- Use cheap and good hosting – there are a lot of them, we avoid overrated WordPress hosting. All you need is the simplest hosting to run a WordPress-based website,
- Use a free content management system, i.e. in this case WordPress
- Use ready-made, free themes (skins) for websites based on WordPress,
- Use free plugins to run additional functionalities,
- Use free photo resources and graphic designer
- Do as much work as possible on a website to yourself
- Hire a WordPress developer at a reasonable price and do not outsource anything more than we need. Focus on the primary purpose of the work, not unnecessary details, so as not to generate more work and additional costs,
- Use the trial periods for the tools and services needed to
- Develop the site gradually depending on the needs and situation. Start with the basic functions to check if there is customer interest. It is worth being inspired by the methodology of lean startup
Below is an example of a list of costs for different versions of websites for companies from various fields.
I also put the estimated WordPress developer work time in the table to estimate the labor cost. The working-hour cost should be between PLN 30 and PLN 90. I also mean works that can be done without experience in WordPress based on publicly available guides.
|local store||local service provider||local producer||local gastronomy|
WordPress, Woocommerce plugin:
Creating content for a website:
You can also create texts for a website yourself. It is worth approaching the subject with reasonable savings because users will not read long texts. The content on the website should be simple and short.
Initial configuration of the website and adding the most important subpages
Adding products to Woocommerce:
Some paid themes include paid plugins in the price.
Website launch cost, assuming no hosting and domain can be accepted from almost $0 to $500.
On the other hand, creating and adding content to a website can be done without cost by devoting your own time to it, or by investing from $50 to $1000.
In total, we can put a website from almost $0 to about $2-3k, the upper limit results from our experience with projects on ready WordPress themes.
You can reduce most of these costs by downloading a ready web page from us.
Ready rescue site against covid-19
I hope that our extensive article on the crisis website for the coronavirus pandemic will prove helpful. But it still doesn’t solve the problem, it only indicates goals and solutions. That is why we decided to join the entrepreneur in this difficult situation and prepared a ready WordPress page with all the tools needed to transfer a local business to the internet.
In addition, we enclose instructions that will help you run this website on your server. Good luck!
What’s included in our rescue package:
- A great additional gift with our support (50% discount on our services)
- The entire website for quick self-installation
- Basic designed subpages with necessary elements according to our guidelines
- Full installation of WordPress, Woocommerce and all necessary plugins
- A simple tool for independent build pages with a mass of ready elements, icons, styles,
- tools to create a simple online shop
- in the basic payment gateway
- tools to communicate
- free live chat
- Contact forms
- integration with social media
- self-installing tracking codes
- installed alone analytics
- fast download free graphics and photos
- Collection donations
- email marketing