Blog / Apr. 06

Collaborative Conversations: Keeping Stores Connected to Local Communities

Aptos Marketing

As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now more important than ever for retailers to stay connected to their local communities in order to stay relevant with their customers. To do this successfully, you will need to think outside of the box and leverage new strategies to highlight your business in innovative and impactful ways.

To help you connect and share ideas with other retailers and retail experts during this crisis, Aptos is hosting a live Collaborative Conversations series every Wednesday in the coming weeks. These virtual sessions will showcase specific challenges facing the retail industry during this time of crisis and discuss solutions to these unprecedented challenges. In the first episode of this series, Aptos VP of Innovation Nikki Baird and Aptos Director of Retail Market Insights Dave Bruno provide insights into how retailers can stay connected with customers throughout the pandemic.

Donate Materials

If your storefront is closed, consider donating some of the items you won’t be using to essential businesses in need. You may have seen stories of some retailers doing this already. Crocs, for example, recently made headlines for its commitment to donate 10,000 pairs of shoes to healthcare workers every day until its stock runs out. Even if your company isn’t in a position to give away inventory, there may be other items that you can donate. For instance, hand sanitizer, toilet paper or industrial cleaner could be donated to a local hospital, nursing home or shelter.

Redirect Capacity

In some cases you may be able to redirect the resources of your company to help out the community. One example of this would be using a company van to deliver meals to those in need, such as the elderly or kids who are not in school. If you are looking for ideas on how to help out the community during this time of crisis, try gathering input from the managers of your local stores. These employees are in a great position to know what is going on from a local perspective and may have some innovative ideas of how to help. Additionally, Nextdoor is a great resource for keeping a pulse on important local conversations that can be used to spark ideas of how you can use your business’s resources to make an impact in specific communities.

Gives Stores a Digital Face

Social channels, including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter (and even TikTok!), are vital in today’s digital-first society, particularly when humans are feeling isolated and craving connections, even if virtual. These channels provide you with a way to stay engaged with customers despite the status of your storefront. After all, why not build your presence in an environment where many of your customers are already spending a lot of their time?

Although selling on social has its fair share of challenges (despite platforms like Pinterest ramping up its commerce capabilities through its verified merchant program), you can also use your social presence to educate and entertain your customers. From creating a virtual class to showcase your employees’ expertise to participating in viral challenges to keep your brand trending – there are many ways that you can keep your business top of mind with customers in the digital space during this crisis.

Working Together

These are just a few of the tips that were highlighted in Aptos’ first Collaborative Conversations episode. Visit our Collaborative Conversations about Coronavirus resource page to view this broadcast as well as to sign up and participate in future broadcasts, including “Stories of Recovery: How One Chinese Retailer Managed through the Crisis.”