While the Australian Government is doing its part to protect the economy from the fallout of COVID-19, there are also plenty of ways the community can #BeKind to businesses by supporting local businesses, both now and once restrictions ease.
Leading business expert and member of the Maroondah Business Advisory Group, Geoff Daniel says the best way people can support small businesses right now is to purchase locally, whenever and wherever possible.
Finding out whether the stores you typically frequent are still trading, how they have adjusted to social distancing measures and what products and services are still available is a good first, easy step, he says.
From online purchasing, contact-free delivery and click and collect, many business operators have had to alter their service offerings to meet the shift in consumer buying habits.
Retailers who have relied on foot traffic alone have been forced to re-think how they operate in order to not only survive, but thrive, post-pandemic.
“Explore what businesses are offering online, purchase gift cards or look for special offers or available delivery services,” Geof says.
And with numerous businesses moving online, it is also an opportunity for consumers to make a conscious effort to ‘buy local’.
Geoff says buying from online stores headquartered overseas will do little to help Australia’s brick-and-mortar stores. Instead, when it comes to deciding on your next online purchase – be it flowers, gifts, homewares or clothing – he encourages shoppers to key in the words ‘near me’ at the end of each search.
“Search technology now allows shoppers to search ‘near me’. It means that google will bring them back the results near to where they’re located. Just this one little thing can make an enormous difference. You may even find delivery costs to be cheaper, and if you’re able to, you can always drive nearby to pick things up,” explains Geoff.
Conversely, businesses should be reassuring customers that it’s still safe to buy from them, and provide any business updates, such as changes to service delivery or shipping delays.
Maroondah has more than 40 community and local shopping centres that rely on your support, now more than ever.
By shopping locally, you are not only supporting small businesses, you are also supporting local job growth and helping to build strong, vibrant communities.
BizHub Maroondah provides an online Business Directory which allows businesses to register their business details online for free.
Top-5 ways to support local businesses
Shop local as often as you can
When buying food or household staples, consider visiting your local bakery, greengrocer or butcher where you’re more likely to pick up things supermarkets may be running low on, while simultaneously supporting your local community.
Purchase gift cards and gift vouchers
Why not treat friends or family, or yourself, to a gift voucher to spend at a local hairdressing or nail salon, bookstore or giftware shop. Gift cards can go towards helping with cash flow in uncertain times.
Like, comment and share posts
Like, comment and share posts on as many local businesses as possible. This will help their message get out to more people. Businesses will also appreciate the support.
Connect with local businesses on social media
Like their page on Facebook, follow them on Instagram and Twitter. If you’re inclined to, go that one step further and write a favourable review of your favourite cafe, restaurant or store. Facebook, Google and Yelp are all great sources to write reviews.
If deciding between a big chain restaurant and a smaller spot, maybe choose the smaller guy. Chances are a big multinational is going to be able to survive a few months of slumped sales, but the same might not be true of your local burger restaurant.