What merchants can do in these uncertain times

We are writing a blog to provide information and give examples to businesses about how they can adapt to the uncertain climate we are currently in. The breakout of the coronavirus will probably affect every business across the globe – if it doesn’t affect your business you are lucky – but this is no time to think about the doom and gloom. Like Boris Johnson has said in one of his daily coronavirus updates, “We must band together, support each other and look out for one another.”

People are worried and concerned, of course they are! But we shouldn’t be bulk buying, emptying all the shelves in supermarkets. We should only buy what we need. This is so the majority of people get access to groceries they require and not just a few. Some supermarkets are doing a fantastic job to try to ensure this:

‘Sainsbury’s introduces elderly-only shopping hour amid supermarket’s coronavirus struggle’ From –  standard.co.uk

Having special morning hours just for the elderly means that they can still shop without all the hustle and bustle but also get what they need. This isn’t enough though, we should all be doing our part. We should be checking in on elderly neighbours to make sure they are okay and have what they need.

Coronavirus

Firstly, we need to start with the financial aspect for businesses during this uncertain time. Continuity is key here and financing is what will help keep businesses afloat. The government has recently released funding for businesses if they require it – this was a pot of £330 billion for business loans. Rishi Sunak has pledged to deliver “Whatever it takes to keep companies and people solvent” (From the Guardian), as well as this, tax breaks and other measures to protect companies and households will be implemented.

The support is there financially if your business requires it, but clearly the ideal situation would be not taking out a loan and have your business running as usual. This for some may unfortunately not be possible due to how things currently stand, but with some ingenious adaptions or tweaks to your business operations, you can still manage in this difficult time. An example of this is Domino’s – they’re a food takeaway and delivery service, but with issues around spreading the coronavirus, people may be put off buying their products. But Domino’s got ahead of this quickly and moved to a different model – they now offer a ‘zero contact delivery option across all its 1,325 restaurants.’ This option is to protect the safety of both customers and the delivery staff. Staff arrives at the delivery location and place the order down in a carry bag before moving a safe distance back and wait for it to be collected. So, thinking outside the box like Domino’s (no pun intended) may be the key to help your business manage during this time.

Conclusion

To sum up, the coronavirus is going to be a big issue for the UK and perhaps the global economy, but the government is treading a fine balance between trying to stop the spread of the virus and supporting businesses. With the nature of this virus, different industries and companies will be affected. Supermarkets are going to see a rise in products sold as people stock up and ensure they have enough food if they need to self-isolate but the hospitality industry is going to be hit hard as there will be fewer people going into pubs, clubs and social events especially after the government said to avoid these.

Therefore, businesses should try to adapt and evolve to survive as best they can. This will be a difficult period but hopefully, this blog may spark some ideas for companies to adapt their current model.

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