During this time, small and medium-sized companies are particularly hard hit. Help us to close your favorite stores only temporarily.
Clothing stores, hairdressers, gyms, bookstores, nail salons, cinemas, pubs, flower shops, travel agencies, even restaurants – the list of threatened shops in your city is probably very long. Most stores must currently remain closed. So no money comes in. Most running costs still have to be paid.
However, many small and medium-sized companies do not have the reserves to bear such a financial disaster. On the contrary: It is often exactly such traders who have to live from month to month.
Local retail, in particular, is often not represented with its own online shop – it lacks the technical know-how and often the time and money to run it. At least this was the case until the Coronavirus crisis. But now there is a state of emergency.
Local retailers have to be more modern if they want to survive the coronavirus crisis – and that is exactly what is happening: restaurants are suddenly offering a delivery service, fashion boutiques are opening online shops, hairdressers are selling hair care sets via Instagram, fitness studios are offering online courses.
But not only the dealers, but also our society has changed: we are moving closer together. Under the hashtag #SupportYourLocal, many point out the actions of local traders and call for support.
Platforms were launched to educate the population about local business. Many people want to help so that not only the large, international corporations survive this crisis, but also the favorite hairdresser around the corner.
We show you seven ways that you can support your favorite shops.
1. Follow local retailers on Facebook, Instagram & Co.
Local dealers also have an online presence these days. Most of the time it is at least a website and a Facebook page. They often also offer their own email newsletters or can be found on Instagram, Pinterest and Whatsapp. The first thing you should do in this crisis is to follow your favorite retailers on their social networks.
It is important that you follow your favorite retailers on social media because you can see what they are offering there. In rural regions in particular, there are rarely well-organized, central offices that collect such information. The best way is therefore through the companies themselves. They constantly inform their customers about changes on their social channels.
There you will find out directly if they offer vouchers, introduce a delivery service or take orders on Instagram and then send them to your home.
Tip: You are already following your favorite retailer, but cannot find any information? Then write to! Ask how you can help them and what services they can continue to offer.
2. Call your local dealer
Some local dealers are as far away from technology and the Internet as a horse from a racing car. That is a shame, but it does not have to mean that they do not perform sensationally on site. Don’t let your favorite retailer get through the crisis because they don’t know how to use the internet for themselves.
Just call your favorite dealer. All businesses can still be reached by telephone even in times of crisis. Then you can ask how you can best help the business and learn about the services they continue to offer. Maybe they send products after ordering by phone, maybe they are already setting up a website with an online shop.
One thing is certain: they will be happy to receive your call and will appreciate that you want to support them as loyal customers.
3. Relies on local online shopping
We often order from Amazon & Co. without even thinking about whether we couldn’t have ordered the product locally. The reason for this is simple: no shipping costs, free returns, fast delivery times, huge selection. The local online trade often cannot keep up.
The problem with this: The large online retailers have already displaced many stationary shops. In times of the corona crisis, online trade (in addition to supermarkets) benefits massively. Amazon has announced that it will create 100,000 additional jobs. It can be expected that many purchases that would otherwise have been made on the spot have gone to international online retailers – and that they will stay there when the local stores have reopened.
Many local retailers are now discovering online trading for themselves. Some start out small and offer their goods via their Instagram and WhatsApp stories. Others build online shops on Ebay or Etsy. More advanced local retailers are integrating their own online shops into their websites.
Do a little research in your region and ask the retailers (and also service providers!). As a rule, online purchases are now possible in some form for everyone. You often have to pay the shipping costs yourself, but you have made a contribution to ensuring that your own place did not turn into a ghost town after the Coronavirus crisis because all shops are empty.
In addition, you get perfect telephone advice for online shopping from regional online retail. Try to get someone on the phone from the big online retailers. Good luck with it, you will need it.
There is another major downside to online giants: they all sell the same products. If you are looking for something special that not every second person already has at home, you have to buy from small and medium-sized companies.
4. Buy vouchers
Almost every dealer, every restaurant and in times like these many service providers offer vouchers. If you buy a voucher, the company receives money from you immediately, but does not have to perform until later. In a crisis like this, it can help because the company does not incur any costs when you buy a voucher. However, it earns money that it can use to pay outstanding bills.
Of course, this does not solve the problem of lack of income for retailers. However, it will be postponed. It is not expected that the earnings after the Coronavirus crisis will be higher than before. But then people will pay more with vouchers.
The opposite effect occurs for the companies: They have costs because, for example, they issue products or provide services, but no income because the vouchers have already been paid. Vouchers cannot make up for the lack of revenue from the Coronavirus crisis, but they can help companies weather the crisis.
5. Continue paying membership fees
Maybe you are tempted not to pay membership fees for gyms etc. in the crisis. After all, you can’t go because they are closed. If you can in any way: continue paying the contributions. Most gyms or similar establishments have running costs that are so high that they have to close if too many members break away.
Many also go to great lengths to be there for their members. They offer online courses via video portals. They stream workouts live so that you can also ask questions. Some even offer additional nutrition plans online. If possible, take advantage of these offers and consider your membership fee as a donation so that your favorite studio is still available after the crisis.
Donating to a company is actually not the point. But in times like these you can support small local traders. You don’t necessarily have to donate money for that. In the action, you can support local cinema, for example, by voluntarily watching advertisements. In this case, you donate your time.
Tip: If one of your favorite shops is in acute danger of being closed, you can also start a donation call. There are a number of platforms for this on the Internet.
Furthermore: Not only companies, but also non-profit organizations now need help. More and more have to close to curb the spread of the coronavirus. However, this does not mean that there are fewer people in need.
The boards now have to find ways to still deliver food to those in need. So you need donations more than ever. You also help your region by supporting non-profit organizations.
7. After the crisis: buy locally
Many measures to help local traders only postpone the problem. Vouchers mean that there will be no earnings at a later date. Deferrals also lead to additional costs at a later date.
The loans that the government has pledged to help traders survive the corona crisis are also shifting the problem. Although the interest rates are very low, they have short loan terms. This leads to monthly payments that small businesses cannot carry without increasing their income.
So far, however, it is not expected that earnings will rise above normal after the crisis. Here we can start and help by shopping locally.
Now is the best time to consciously think about our shopping behavior. Does it have to be the supermarket chain or is there a local farmer where you can shop? This helps the farmer and the region – even if it is just some food.
Do you have to buy your clothes from the online giant or can it not be a specialty shop in the city center? The prices are often not more expensive and you can try on the goods on site without polluting the environment with avoidable returns.
Those who shop locally and use regional offers ensure that there are more and more of them and that they get better and better. It is a very simple principle of supply and demand. The higher the demand, the more and better offers there are.
The corona crisis forces us to stop and think about how we live, but also how we consume. After the crisis, all dealers and service providers will need higher income than before. This is the only way to compensate for the lack of income during the crisis. Those who cannot do this will have to close. We can help with our buying behavior to prevent this from happening.