Tips & Strategies for Local Shops During COVID-19

The introduction and effects of COVID-19 on our culture have dramatically changed our way of life—but this is especially true for local shops.  The previous business model of in-store sales and face to face customer interaction has been replaced with online shopping, social media outreach, and finding delivery solutions to fulfill orders.

None of which is new for Amazon Prime-acclimated customers, but these are new—and potentially devastating—challenges for small business owners who previously didn’t require a digital strategy to be successful.

Now, with COVID-19 and all of its fallout, adopting an out-of-store, digital-friendly approach is an urgent necessity to survive.

Here are a few ways to transform your local shop to persevere, recover, and thrive this pandemic, and the permanent changes it will have on local shopping.

Remember Who You Are

First of all, don’t lose sight of who you are and why people shop with you.  No, it’s not just because of the product you sell, the brand you’ve built, or the customer service you provide.  It’s the combination of those things that has earned you trust across your community.

This pandemic will require your small business to change, but it’s that trust you’ve built that will help bring customers to whatever you evolve into next.

Bring Your Product (and You) Into Homes

You can no longer just sell your product and watch it go out the door—you need to follow it.  Look at what you sell, then break it down and re-package it for an at-home experience.

Salon or barber shop?  Your talents can be accessible even during social distancing.  Put together bundles of the products you use and sell them so people can do it themselves at home, and compliment that with online videos showing how you do different haircuts, treatments, and styles.  You can even offer private 1-1 walkthroughs via video chat.

Flower shop or art store?  Sell cute DIY kits that customers can create at home, then schedule a weekly live stream where you build it with them.

Book store?  Start an online reading club where every month you ship a new book to customers, then meet online with weekly Zoom video calls to discuss.

Struggling to find a way to do this for your business?  Email us at and we’ll help you brainstorm—at no cost.

Scale the Need

With people spending most of their time at home, the need for certain things (some of which you might sell) has decreased while the need for other things (some of which you might sell, as well) has increased. Lean into the items that people still desire and need.

Run a clothing boutique? Minimize your fancy dresses and instead highlight your comfy yet trendy activewear.

Sell home decor? Focus on items that lend themselves to functionality, productivity, and tranquility for the newly minted work-from-home employee.

Build a Same-Day Delivery Method

Curbside pick up is great, but delivery on your customer’s doorstep is better—especially since people are urged to go out less.

While there are a lot of shipping options available, it can get pricey—plus, one of the benefits of shopping local is getting what you need, immediately.

For customers within a certain radius, you can offer same-day delivery at a small additional cost. It’s a great way to replicate that local immediacy, plus it can provide an opportunity for you to employ staff as deliverers when you thought you may have had to originally let them go.

Put a Face on It

Without customers in store, you’ve lost the single biggest opportunity to convert a sale: face to face interaction.

… or did you?

If you haven’t done it yet (or need to do it more—and we’re talking daily), it’s time to be super active on social media and put yourself in front of the camera!  Talk about your products, try them on, put them to use.  You need to replace that direct, in-store experience with something personal.

If you’re unsure how to go about it, we’re happy to help direct you with how to best use social media to reach a local audience—again, at no cost 🙂 Just email us at