It’s been a rough couple of weeks, both here in the US and around the world, as coronavirus-related disruption seems to expand with every passing day. Naturally, after taking care of family, friends, and at-risk communities, our thoughts turn to the financial impact of the pandemic on our favorite businesses and brands.
In this article, we’ll look at ten ways to support businesses during coronavirus and how you can put your dollars to work for entrepreneurs and the wider economy, even if you’re stuck at home.
Clearly, with social distancing and shelter-in-place guidance in full effect, supporting the brands and local businesses we love is much harder. However, we know a thing or two about building eCommerce success and online retail could well prove to be the lifeline that gets even traditional retailers through this difficult time.
Below you’ll find ten ways to support businesses online and off, many of which won’t even require you to leave your home.
10 Ideas to Support Businesses During Coronavirus Disruption
Consider the following suggestions to help the companies you care most about through the current disruption of coronavirus.
Note that you can also stay up to speed with Capacity’s coronavirus updates here.
1. Buy Gift Cards for Use at a Later Date
Gift cards provide the ideal source of income for retailers, especially local restaurants and service providers. The up-front payment for a product or service that can be provided at a later date, when restrictions are lifted and life returns to something like normality, is an excellent way to show your support for a favorite business. Also consider buying more than you need, if you have the means to do so, for those on the front lines of the battle against coronavirus. Healthcare workers, grocery store employees, transportation services, emergency services, postal workers, delivery drivers, and many more (a list we simply couldn’t fit in here!) are all risking their health every day to keep people safe and products moving. Show them your thanks with a gift card, if you are able.
2. Pre-pay for Birthday Parties, Events, or Experiences You Can Book Later
In a similar vein to picking up gift cards for a retailer or restaurant, putting down a deposit for a future shindig is a great way to provide immediate income to event organizers and venues who could u
se the money to stay afloat. If you were planning to do this anyway in the next few months, consider it a downpayment of both cash and karma on a good time you’ll richly deserve when all this is over.
3. Treat Yourself to a “Home Spa” Day
After a week or two stuck inside, it’s fair to say you deserve some pampering. Many beauty brands, including those we serve, are leading the calls to treat yourself, offering special discounts on popular products or even hosting generous giveaways. Then there are brands like Antica Farmacista, whose products offer a way to escape in your own home, as well as passing on 10% of your purchase to Meals on Wheels, a crucial service for others stuck at home right now. Take advantage of offers like this and share the best with your friends, so that these companies can continue to grow, offer help, and come out the other side of this pandemic emboldened to take their brand to the next level.
4. Leave a Positive Google Review
Not every gesture has to be financial. Indeed, as businesses emerge from the maelstrom of curtailed hours and limited custom, a wave of positivity may be exactly what they need to motivate whatever rebuilding or retooling is required. Enter Google reviews – or any other major platform you use – and our ability as consumers to share positive experiences with the world. Find them on your chosen platform, give a five-star rating where appropriate, and most importantly leave a comment detailing why you loved the business before coronavirus disruption, or how they helped you navigate your way through it.
5. Buy Something to Use in Your Yard
For many housebound remote workers – and, often, their unexpectedly homeschooled kids – the yard has become a welcome source of fresh air and outdoors adventure. It’s not the same as a state park or nature reserve, however, which may now be off limits in many areas. That makes this an ideal time to refresh your yard! What that means will vary based on your personal interests and who else is in your household, but suggestions range from new pieces of garden furniture or decorations, to creating a nature play area or starting a vegetable garden.
6. Give a New Brand a Try for Essential Items
Although cleaning products and personal care items are in high demand, frequent trips to the grocery store or pharmacy aren’t exactly appealing right now. Thankfully, there are plenty of personal care, cosmetics, and household cleaner brands ready and willing to ship these product categories right to your door. We know, we work with many of them! Think beyond the growing delays and impersonal service of Amazon retail and you’ll find direct-to-consumer brands like Malin + Goetz, Puracy, The Laundress, and Caldrea all set to send you skin-cleansing soap and much more.
7. Explore Etsy to Brighten Up Your Home
In the same vein as step five, if you’re going to be looking at the same four walls for a while, why not invest in making them that bit more beautiful? While there are undoubtedly some exceptional DTC brands that you could explore for this, it’s worth remembering that a whole other realm of creative American entrepreneurs await your business on Etsy. Whether it’s a present for someone else or a treat for you personally, exploring this unique marketplace of creative folks is a great way to focus on the artisanal end of the market and support businesses during coronavirus.
8. Help Brands Who Are Already Helping
As we touched upon in point three with our client Antica Farmacista, many brands that we love have already moved to help worthy causes fighting back against the pandemic. These companies are essentially offering a two-for-one, as they offer ways to support businesses during coronavirus disruption, as well as the organization that they’re supporting with the subsequent donation that gets made. And, of course, you get that certain special item that makes you feel a bit more special in this isolated time. For starters, here are 36 brands giving back that you might want to support.
9. Toss the TP, Buy a Bidet!
No-one expected to see a run on the toilet paper aisle in grocery stores across the nation, but here we are. If the mere thought of trawling across multiple sites just for TP sends shivers down your spine, it might be time to turn to another solution: the humble bidet. While that might sound like a major expense, as well as some unwanted plumbing work, think again. It turns out various enterprising companies, including the likes of Hello Tushy, are way ahead of us on this one. As European as it sounds, brands like this are built by North American entrepreneurs and are working hard to fill a clear gap in the market while certain essential items become scarce.
10. Be Patient, Kind & Thank Your Service Providers
Perhaps the simplest, yet undeniably important thing we can do as life and business are turned upside down is to appreciate those who keep things running. Offer a smile and say thank you.
As our CSO Thom Campbell explains: “I do this every time I see my Brooklyn mail lady. Never more so than now, when they are continuing to do their jobs in the face of this.”
“Be selective on what you escalate to businesses,” he continues. “Recognize that resources are finite. Try not to expedite service for something non-critical, and consider holding off all together unless you really need it or want to support the business through sales.”
A kind word goes a long way in moments like these, so make time for everyone who continues to show up and make our lives that bit easier right now.
Those are our suggestions for 10 ways to support businesses during coronavirus disruption, but we also want to hear from you. What are you doing to keep things running at this unique moment in history? Let us know via the social media channels at the bottom of our site and we’ll share as many great ideas as possible in the weeks ahead.