The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is an unprecedented event that will have a lasting impact on life and business as we know it. While much of the world shelters in place, essential businesses remain open to keep society running. A great many of our Wish Local participating stores have been deemed essential, and these brave men and women put their health on the line every day to bring much-needed goods and services to their communities. We here at Wish offer our unending respect and gratitude to these stores and their employees. For those whose stores have closed, we acknowledge and appreciate the hardships you face.
We reached out to the Wish Local small businesses who remain open for tips and best practices as they weather the pandemic storm.
Offer parking lot pickup
Rivers and Reef Pet Center in Austin, TX offers a parking lot pickup option to their customers, and other Wish Local stores are beginning to do the same. When customers arrive, they call the store and an employee will run their purchase out to the car. This system helps protect the customer and employee, and preserves the sanitation inside the store. Other stores will similarly bring purchases to the front door or sidewalk. Going the (literal!) extra steps keeps everyone safe and healthy and fosters goodwill that will likely have commercial benefits long after this crisis is over.
For Wish packages, some stores in Europe are having customers send their QR codes through text, email or WhatsApp. This allows the store owner to set the package aside for the future or offer gate or parking lot pickup to the customer. This is certainly not required of you, but one option some are choosing to take. At this time, Wish has extended the pickup window to customers for packages to 45 days. We are also waiving restocking fees.
Take digital payment
Sell on Wish is up and running, and Wish Local partners are using this service to offer a low-contact selling option to their customers. Stores can upload their products onto the Wish app, and customers can purchase them electronically. That means no credit cards or currency is exchanged, it eliminates the need for customers to browse and touch merchandise and surfaces. Combined with parking lot pickup, Sell on Wish offers the most conscientious way to get your products into the hands of customers who need them.
Use appointment software
Many regions are imposing crowd-controlling restrictions on businesses. For businesses like grocery stores, this can post a challenge as panic buyers swarm in. Some small Wish Local businesses are using appointment and scheduling software to create windows of time for people to come in and shop. Calendly is a great inexpensive option that offers a free 14-day trial. When you know who is coming and when, it gives you time to restock, sanitize, and evaluate your inventory.
Engage on social media
It is more important than ever for customers to be able to contact your business online. Wish Local stores admit that social media channels have been crucial during these uncertain times. For essential businesses that remain open, post frequently to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter so your community knows you are there. Keep them abreast of what you have in stock, and perhaps more importantly, what you don’t have. That way, they’ll stay safely home instead of venturing to your store needlessly. Customers may be feeling scared and confused. Reassure them with frequent updates, and you’ll feel their appreciation for years.
Please join the Wish Local Facebook group for your region and check your email for updates from us. We encourage you to continue to engage with other Wish Local participants. Share tips or just reach out during what is an isolating time for many. If you have questions for us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay safe out there!