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31 Jan – 4 Feb 2018
To slow the spread of coronavirus, retailers around the world must keep their shops closed until further notice. That is a hard pill to swallow just before Easter’s seasonal business. But burying one's head in the sand won't make a difference. The retail trade must attract attention with creative campaigns and offer new services for shoppers to generate revenues. After all, the current situation makes one thing very clear: We are all fighting Covid-19 and must stick together! That WE feeling is especially apparent on social media platforms, and the brick-and-mortar retail trade can benefit from this.
#supportyourlocals has been around for a number of years, but only now has it entered the minds of all. Cities, municipalities and organisations are kicking off campaigns and asking citizens to shop locally to demonstrate their support for the retail trade in these difficult times. The aim is for the brick-and-mortar retail trade to generate sales despite the doors to their stores staying shut, for example by offering buying coupons or new services.
There is the odd shop that already has an online store or recently opened one and therefore can take orders even during these times of crisis. But even many of the smaller shops that have no online presence are inventive and offer delivery services. They take orders simply by e-mail, over the phone, via WhatsApp or social media. To guarantee this delivery service, local shops get together and pool the products to be delivered.
Especially social media channels like Facebook and Instagram are used to introduce products. Posting an update gives buyers everything they need to know: a product picture or a video, product description, price and the information about how they can get the toys. WhatsApp has also become attractive for retailers. Next to the chat function, businesses can communicate with customers in real time and inform them about available products.
Apps are an ideal medium to contact customers, such as the app "lokaler.kaufen". It brings retailers and customers together via video call, to ensure personal assistance. mySmile is an app from Ingolstadt/Bavaria which specialises as a voucher store. This is where shoppers can buy vouchers from participating stores and redeem them after the crisis at the local shop. And these are only two apps of many.
These channels offer two major advantages in particular: They are either free or available for a small charge and registration takes a few minutes only.
Social media have become a hub for people's willingness to help and support others. And that is exactly where end customers are currently spending more time than ever. Not only shop owners are using the hashtag to ask people to buy vouchers and use their services. Even international influencers are showcasing their favourite stores and calling on their community to support local retailers.
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