To my dear community,
Hope you are doing ok? Wishing you health and protection from the virus and the craziness that is going on.
My little shop looks out onto the centres cafe and then out onto Coles (as per the attached photo). I am able to conduct my own sociology studies while I work, as I witness firsthand my local areas mental state, and how this is affecting the general health of business locally at the moment. And it is not doing ok.
Last week, the hysteria started, the toilet paper was carried out in trolleys, underarms and by all family members. IT WAS CRAZY!!!!!! I even ran a successful toilet paper campaign, for two days, thinking this was just a crazy behaviour blip and to have a giggle about it all. But, after two days it stopped being funny. The whole hysteria is still going strong. I still have free rolls out the back of my shop, but only for elderly customers who mention finding paper an issue. So the campaign has moved very quickly from humour, to being humane.
Today I am seeing trolleys filled with cans (toilet paper has run out). In the rest of the centre there is significant drop in traffic, the cafe that is usually packed by now has 3 people, the staff look worried. The nail salon next to me that usually has people lined up waiting for their appointment doesn't have a single client, I just peeked inside and there is only the two owners, it appears all the other staff don't have shifts. My friend owns a hair salon, people are cancelling.
The world we live in is volatile. Especially in retail. Particularly right at this very moment, with the fear of going out that the corona-virus has created. To brick and mortar businesses like mine, this is VERY scary – How am I going to be able continue serving you (my local community)? Especially when you are too scared to come to my shop (or any physical shop)? (and understandably so).
At this point my business is holding together during this very difficult time, thanks to you (my beautiful customers) and my amazing staff. I am humbled by your love and support. Many of you have been doing the following 5 actions;
- Telling your friends.
- Letting me know what you want to see in-store.
- Liking us on Facebook and occasionally sharing the page (so others will know what we are about).
- Visiting for a chat. Having someone in the shop makes it less intimidating for others to come into the shop. It really helps!!
- And, when you do need something, you shop local with me.
And I want to say a HUGE thank you for this. It makes me feel so loved and reassured that I am going to make it through this. I am so grateful and humbled by your support. If I could hug you I would, but we will have to settle for a bow and curtsy.
My heart feels for everyone being affected by whats going on, especially my fellow retailers. But, we can use this an an opportunity to push awareness of the fact that we are online. Particularly important as many of our local shoppers will be going online (perhaps for the first time) during this period. We need to keep looking for these opportunities and be thankful for what we do have. Most importantly, we all need to be strong because things will get better. It may be stormy now, but it never rains forever.