Important PPP update for 2021
On December 22, 2020, Congress passed a bill renewing funding under the CARES Act, including an additional $284 billion earmarked for America’s struggling small businesses. The rules and application process for PPP loans and forgiveness have been modified, with more businesses eligible for PPP loans, more expenses forgivable, and a simplified application process.
In this 5-minute read:
- What’s the impact?
- Tips and ideas to keep your business “open”
- Helpful resources and guides
It’s a crazy time to be running a business, especially if your state has declared a “stay at home” order. Even if there is no order in place for people to stay in their homes, people are advised to limit public activities and stay home as much as possible. That is really impacting small local businesses.
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Your shoe or clothing store may already be seeing the effects of COVID-19 as customers self-isolate and try to limit the spread of this disease.
We want to help you find ways that you can still keep your business running during all of this and encourage your customers to shop with you from the safety of their homes until this crazy time passes.
How are clothing and shoe stores being impacted by COVID-19?
Major retailers across the country, like Nike, Macy’s, and Adidas are closing their stores during the coronavirus outbreak to help limit the spread.
As statewide “stay at home” orders are declared in multiple states across the U.S., non-essential businesses like clothing and shoe stores have been required to shut down and send their employees home or to at least close their doors to customers.
Your business may start to see a significant drop in sales, if it hasn’t already. However, there is a silver lining. As people are cooped up in their homes, they are likely to shop more online as they wait out the pandemic. So now, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to your website and online stores.
Tips to help shoe and clothing stores during the pandemic
Depending on the directives from your local leaders, there may still be a number of ways that you can keep your shoe or clothing store running during this time. A lot of that is going to revolve around your website.
Provide limited access and curbside pickup
With social distancing and the limitation of public activities, providing another way for customers to get access to your store and products is a necessary action to take.
One option is to offer curbside pickup. Allow your customers to order online or via the phone and pick their items up in the parking lot of your store. Dedicate a couple of parking spaces to this to help guide customers as they arrive.
Another option, if allowed in your city/state, is to schedule time slots for small groups of customers to come into your store. Only allow a few people in at a time to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Start selling your products online
This big thing right now is to get all of your products online, or at least your most popular items. Start an ecommerce store (if you don’t have one already) to provide opportunities for your customers to keep doing business with you from the comfort of their own homes.
Vend is one company that helps retailers create their own e-commerce platforms, complete with POS integration, inventory management, and more.
Beyond just your business’s website, you can load your products onto platforms like Amazon and Facebook Marketplace to access other opportunities for sales.
Start marketing your online store
As soon as you have products ready to order online, start marketing your online store and other platforms that you are selling on.
Now is a great time to experiment with your marketing and see how well selling online can work for your business. It may just launch your business into the future and provide a great new opportunity for when this pandemic settles down.
Go deeper: 8 ways to promote your business on Facebook
Communicate with your customers
Keep your customers in the loop of any changes that are taking place with your business. That communication is critical to keep your business going and to keep customers satisfied.
Let them know if your business is closed, if you are offering your products online, or if you have curbside pickup or local delivery. Share these things on your website and social media channels and encourage your followers to share so the word gets out.
Resources for clothing and shoe stores during COVID-19
Several organizations are working together to provide resources for small businesses like your shoe and clothing stores during this time. Communities are working together to support local businesses and help one another make it through the pandemic.
General business resources for COVID-19
You can find valuable insights and recommendations from the CDC, SBA, and other organizations on how to keep your staff and customers healthy, how to get loans, and more. Check these guides out for more information:
- SBA Guide for Businesses during COVID-19
- SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: how to apply if you’re impacted by COVID-19
- CDC Guide for Businesses and Employers
- How retail shops can deal with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis
- Emergency funding options for small businesses
Clothing and shoe store resources for COVID-19
Organizations specific to the clothing store, shoe store, and retail industry are doing their part to help provide business owners with helpful resources for their stores.
Retail Industry Leaders Association
The RILA is constantly monitoring updates on COVID-19 to provide the most up to date information to retailers in the U.S.
They have calls and webinars to help business owners navigate the various challenges associated with COVID-19. Some of the topics of these webinars include:
- Asset protection
- General and legal counsel for employee pay, commercial rent, contract issues, and more
- Environmental compliance
- Energy management
Contact email@example.com for registration information on these webinars or visit www.rila.org for additional resources.
Vend, a company dedicated to helping retailers find success online, is keeping tabs on the impacts of COVID-19 on retailers worldwide. They are keeping their blog updated with new information and providing daily updates on the traffic impact on retailers.
Learn more at www.vendhq.com.
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