We don’t need to tell you about the coronavirus: whether you turn on the TV or scroll through social media, it’s an omnipresent part of our lives, and it will be for the foreseeable future.
At Ultra Tee, we know that the next few months are going to be tough for everyone. Not only for the heroic doctors, nurses, supermarket staff and cleaners who are doing everything they can to keep us safe and our countries running, but for us everyday folk who are staying at home to reduce the spread of the virus. We’re frustrated, we’re bored, and we’re scared.
Other than staying indoors and practising good personal hygiene during the crisis, it can feel like you’re helpless in the fight against COVID-19. One way that you can help is to support small businesses and charities locally and internationally, who are struggling more than ever.
Below, we’ve put together some ideas that you can try. When we all come together and think about our communities, we can achieve great things, and hopefully, return to “normal” soon.
Do some virtual retail therapy
Most non-essential businesses have been forced to shut up shop for the foreseeable future, and though many governments are offering support in the way of grants and loans, the truth is that for smaller independent companies, the next few months could make or break them.
If you want to support brands close to your heart, consider doing some virtual retail therapy and having merchandise delivered to your door. Not only will you improve these companies’ cash flow and help them pay staff when they need it the most, but you’ll show them that you care about them and the values and ethos of their business in these unprecedented times.
Shop locally where you can, and think about businesses who may not have an online store. Many are innovating and adapting their offerings, with deliveries to your doorstep. Why not treat yourself to a care package or a luxury food hamper from your local farm shop? Sure, you will spend more, but you’ll enjoy some premium products to enjoy from your own home.
Be patient and show compassion
With millions of us cooped up at home, ecommerce businesses are feeling the pressure and dealing with more orders than usual. You can support them by accepting that you may need to wait a few days longer for delivery and make peace with the fact some products will be out of stock temporarily. Make compromises and buy substitutions if your favourite bottle of wine isn’t in stock. You can use lockdown as an opportunity to try new products and experiment!
Some companies are also facing more enquires than ever before, so try to be patient and show them some support. The 24/7/365 customer service you are used to might not be as efficient. A friendly voice at the end of the phone and a “thank you” in an email can go a long way. And remember that people working in warehouses picking orders are working flat out, often in challenging conditions, so order only what you need from essential retailers.
Share your favourite brands on social media
Though some companies like food retailers and DIY brands are seeing record orders as people stay at home, others have seen business dry up overnight. If you’re not in a position to buy right now, consider retweeting posts from your favourite brand and invite your friends to like their page - it can go a long way and help companies reach more potential customers.
When you’re sharing your outfit of the day on Instagram, tag the brands you’re wearing in the comments. When you’re showing off DIY, let your friends know where you bought your supplies. You may think you only have a small following and that your account is irrelevant, but every little helps, and mentioning a small business could help them make a sale.
Buy a gift card for future purchases
Another way to support small businesses in these difficult times is to buy a gift card for a future purchase. It’s your way of saying “Hey, I love what you do, and though I don’t need to buy anything from you right now, I want to support your business and help you stay afloat!”
Whether you buy a gift card for yourself or to give away to one of your friends or family members (remember: in lockdown, we can’t visit our loved ones, and so a voucher is a great gift idea and keeps everyone safe), you’ll be doing your bit to support independent brands.
At Ultra Tee, we’re offering gift cards on our website if you want to support our business. All of our cards are delivered automatically via email and contain all of the instructions you need to redeem them at the checkout. What’s more, we don’t charge processing fees, so you’ll keep 100% of your balance, whether you use it to buy something tomorrow or in six months.
Volunteer during the crisis
As well as doing your bit to support small businesses, consider charities during this unusual period. In the United Kingdom, charities are facing a £4 billion loss in the next quarter due to the crisis, and it’s a similar picture around the world, as consumers begin feeling the pinch and summer fundraising events such as festivals and fun runs are cancelled or postponed.
And during the pandemic, charities need us more than ever. They’re working tirelessly to support our most vulnerable people, so we should try to give back where we can. Whether you 3D print protective masks for nurses and caregivers, man a phone line to support those who are in isolation during the crisis, or volunteer to deliver groceries and medicines to the elderly, there are so many ways that you can show your support without breaking the bank.
Start a fundraising effort
Finally, why not consider fundraising for a charity close to your heart? Identify their needs and look for ways that you can bring people together. In the UK, for example, a 99-year-old former British Army officer has raised a whopping £25 million for the NHS by walking around his garden 100 times. His story went viral and donations skyrocketed, and though you may not achieve the same press coverage, even small donations can make a real difference.
You could do a sponsored singalong from your living room, performing your favourite songs on a karaoke machine, or shave your head on camera and ask loved ones for donations. Be creative and utilise your social media channels to spread the word about your fundraising.
There you have it - some of the ways that you can support small businesses and charities in these crazy times. Please share this article with your friends and family if you think they’d find it useful - the more we can support one another, the easier the next few months will be.
In the meantime, thank you for reading. Please stay at home, and stay safe.