One of my favorite Small Business Development Center counselors, Rita Mitchell from the SBDC in Hattiesburg, Mississippi has passed along tips from top retailers for “fighting back” against the coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • Visible and total hygiene discipline with anti-bacterial pumps. Also, post photos of what you’re doing about the coronavirus on [social media] and on your website of “deep cleaning” activities.
  • Send an email [or social media post] and in-store posted statement now about your commitment to whatever cautious care and services are needed during this emergency.
  • Offer to deliver (for free) via USPS, UPS or FedEx a client’s order—and then include a fun surprise.
  • Offer no penalty, no hassle returns for online shoppers or those ordering by phone/email and give immediate credit, however it was paid. (Of course, tags must be affixed.)
  • Do more Facebook Lives, animated posts, and enticing videos to show new stock, with an easy call-to-action and click-buttons to buy. Also, focus on “buy online, pick up in store” options.
  • Create “Stitch Fix”-like personal stylist bundles for your regular clients, completely accessorized. Deliver to them or allow client to pick up quickly upon approval. Offer to pick up what they don’t keep. Follow up with visual suggestions on how to wear their new items.
  • Offer virtual coupons using new tech. Send via a personalized email, or a QR code. Surprises like this are force multipliers!
  • Use your staff and the power of a great visual story. Whether a posted video of “This is Lauren’s favorite new item” or “How adorable is this new outfit for Easter, and here’s how to [also] wear it to work.”
  • [It’s not about] clicking—engaging is our goal.
  • Ask how your clients need you to help them now! One retailer reported a client just wanted a bright new top to wear and didn’t want to make a trip to the store. Options were delivered, items chosen, and both client and store are happy! Take the time … do a survey!


Coronavirus handwashing stock photo by kasarp studio/Shutterstock