Forget a temporary pivot: the worldwide pandemic is making us change the way we do business - permanently.

Right now, just be human.

You’ve likely had to shift your focus away from growth, branding, and development to business continuity and resilience. Transformation will come out of unlikely places. Survival will drive you to make change, and being open and flexible will be a force for positive change.

It’s time to activate those new ideas and use technology to help you.  Here’s a few things you can do.

Hang In There. Image created by Ayşegül Altınel. Submitted for United Nations Global Call Out To Creatives - help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Photo by United Nations COVID-19 Response / Unsplash

Do Business Online

Had to adjust to the times? Great. Get your new products online quickly and make it easy to order and pay on a mobile device.

Your customers will go to the easiest and most readily-available vendor. For brick-and-mortar businesses like restaurants, this ability to shift to an online ordering model will be your link to survival.  I think we’ll see this as a catalyst to a new type of kitchen-only delivery-based food businesses; in fact, it's already happening.

Want some help selling online? Read our blog How To Bring Your Store Online: A Step By Step Guide.

Rethink Your Value Proposition

With the value and allure of the storefront decreasing, other parts of your business become more valuable.  

People still have a need for off-the-shelf, buy-now, ready-to-eat products.  Perhaps we're losing the ability to browse and touch and try.  Maybe we won't sit down to served, plated food.  But with a kitchen and supply chain, restaurants can still manufacture high quality food that is ready to be picked up (or assembled at home).

Consider also that your customer has changed. What is of value now to them? Your restaurant or store is no longer a place to congregate, browse or try things, but you still have something valuable to offer.

Here's a few ways that your online presence needs to be updated to match what your customers are looking for now:

1) Product details - Do you have pictures and video of your products? Do you have customer reviews?

2) Live, expert support from real people - Do you have live chat or just an email address? Is your phone number clear on the site? Do you respond immediately or take 4 hours (or more)?

3) Available for pickup or appointment - Do you have clear pick-up instructions? Is your appointment software clear and easy to use?

4) Pay online - People may not want to exchange money or touch Point-of-Sale systems.  Are you able to take payment and offer curb-side pick-up or same-day delivery?

An illustration addressing people panic buying. Using tigers to be more humorous. A simple message to ask people to think of others in the time of chaos. Painted by hand with Ink, then edited digitally. Image created by Lydia Christine. Submitted for United Nations Global Call Out To Creatives - help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Photo by United Nations COVID-19 Response / Unsplash

Form Follows Speed Follows Function

Your online store needs to be two things simultaneously: simple and fast.  Your product will speak for itself and to the quality of your work, but having a blazingly fast website? That's the difference between a happy new customer and a lost sale. In fact, research has shown that users lose interest if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load (yes, 3 seconds).

Contact the Rebel team if your website needs a speed tune-up.

Be Safe and Secure

With the move to an online-first shopping experience, there are certain things you need to do to ensure the sensitive information of your customers is safe.

First and foremost, install an SSL certificate on your website. This encrypts data sent to and from your website. It's not just the right thing to do for your customers, but it's also the right thing to do for your bottom line - not having an SSL certificate installed reduces the trust your customers have in you. Plus, Google marks any website that does not have an SSL certificate as being "unsafe", which will greatly impact your ranking in search engines.

Rebel's got a complete website security package that will protect your site against cyber threats, including automatic malware removal.

Over Communicate

Getting your products and services into your customer’s hands has changed drastically.  The companies that are continuing to thrive are the ones that adjusted - and communicated - quickly. Be agile. Try something, put it out there, and modify as needed if it’s not working. It’s okay to change your website frequently.

Restart. Reopen.

As businesses reopen, don't expect to go back to what was "normal".  Public behaviour will change. You'll find that many people will continue to be cautious for many months to come.  Keep these new tools you've built and refine them to work for you and your customers.  

And stay safe.  Follow your local regulations.

Stay flexible, friends. This is a learning process for all of us.