Lancaster has shared a list of tips with us to help your business during the COVID-19 outbreak that we think may be helpful to you:
1. Follow CDC guidelines to keep you, your family and your employees safe. Putting you and your customer’s safety at the top of your priority list can help you stay in business through these unprecedented times. Everyone will appreciate your clear commitment to them. CLICK HERE to visit the CDC’s COVID-19 information.
2. If you are not able to open your store to the public based on where you are located, you might consider if curbside pickup is an option. This may be able to offset some of your costs until you are able to fully open back up. Some businesses are offering additional and robust services to their offerings such as “touch-free pick-up,” “same day touch-free delivery” and/or delivering color charts to customers who may need them to start or complete a job.
3. Don’t go dark! Even if you are closed temporarily, let your customers know that you will be back up and running as soon as the situation allows. Make yourself available on request for those who need product to complete their jobs. Communication is key at this point in time.
4. Utilize social media. Social media is an easy, cheap, and effective way customers can find information about your business and how you can still serve them during this time. Your customers can also interact with you by asking you questions directly. You can also advertise to your target market effectively and at a good price. Over the next few months, you will have the opportunity to motivate homeowners to stop by your store to improve their home. With restricted travel, expect end users to do more home projects. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest just to name a few. Start your own social media campaign, “Stuck at home staring at the walls…might as well paint them!”
5. Update your website. Since a lot of businesses have temporarily closed, your customers may check your website to view your current hours, phone number, address, etc. Make sure this is correct, so you don’t lose out on any opportunities!
6. Spruce up your storefront. Even if you are temporarily closed, take the time to do all the things you usually don’t have time to do. Going through your current inventory, evaluating your product offerings, reorganizing your store layout, and cleaning those hard to reach areas are just some of the things you can take advantage of with some spare time. Reach out to your fellow local merchants, it’s also a good time for them to spruce up (paint) while the foot traffic is gone.
7. Take advantage of any Federal and State stimulus packages and/or small business loans that may be available to you. There is no shame in getting help when you really need it! If this doesn’t apply to you, look into your options such as obtaining a line of credit or low-interest loan. Check with your city/state to see if they have information on disaster assistance. CLICK HERE to access the SBA Disaster assistance page.
8. Use your down time to learn about products in our industry. Lancaster has a wide variety of manufacturer videos we have organized into playlists for you. Want to know more about a manufacturer’s offerings? Simply go to our subscription list, go to their channel and browse 1,000s of videos from our suppliers.
9. Well-trained employees are the key to a successful business. Until further notice The Paint & Decorating Retailers Association is offering all of their online education courses and webinars to members free of charge. This unprecedented measure is an effort to help strengthen independent paint retailers and their employees, many of whom may be experiencing slower business or have employees staying at home during this health crisis. CLICK HERE to access the PDRA’s educational courses.
10. Set up virtual consultations. You can go above and beyond your competitors by offering designers, contractors and/or DIYers your expertise at selecting the right products for the job. You can use Skype, WebEx, or another video / audio conferencing service. Many are offering their services at no charge during the pandemic. Boost the morale among your employees. You can take the time to set up virtual happy hours, team activities, game nights, coffee hour catch-up, etc. This can help reduce stress among the group that looks to you for guidance.
11. Set up a Crisis Management Plan. Be sure there isn’t any single employee with a lot of key information you won’t have access, should that employee no longer be employed by you due to unforeseen circumstances. Collect passwords and other key access information in one document that can be shared with you and your key employees.
12. Donate! If you have extra cleaning supplies, gloves, masks, plastic protective sheeting/barriers, bleach, protective eyewear, respirators, etc. and are willing to donate, the health care system is looking for donations to help fight this virus.
13. Constant Contact is offering a Small Business Kit right now. Using the code FREEWEBSITE2 at check out, business owners can get 100% off the cost of a monthly Website Builder Business Plus plan as long as you pay for their Email or Email Plus services. The kit includes their ecommerce and website builder tools, marketplace ecommerce management tool, Small Business Action Plans, daily “Getting Started” product tours, weekly webinars, access to a community online forum, Small Business Helpline, email templates, and discounted subscription services.