Virtual fitting rooms are now a thing… Unique ways small businesses are staying open during the COVID-19 pandemic

Despite trying circumstances, businesses are finding creative ways to still connect with their customers.
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In recent years, bricks and mortar stores have struggled to keep up with the growth in online shopping, yet many have continued to prevail.

But now, as the world faces one of its toughest challenges in recent history due to the COVID-19 pandemic, retailers and small businesses alike are dealing with another blow as people are literally forced to stay away from their physical stores – leaving them with no choice but to embrace the online.

You might be wondering how an exisiting clothing shop can generate the same customer experience when a buyer is self-isolating at home.

But the internet is a multi-faceted thing – and provides a wealth of opportunities to get creative, even when it seems like things are impossible.

As customers turn to their computers for shopping, Now to Love has a look at some of the unique ways businesses are using to make a sale.

Virtual fitting rooms

Yes, you read that correctly.

Virtual fitting rooms are now a thing – and when you think about it, they’re kind of genius.

Aussie lingerie and swimwear retailer Big Girls is all over it. Founder Karen Edbrooke is determined to sustain almost 30 staff she’s currently employed by continuing business as usual – with a twist.

By setting up ‘virtual fittings’, the online store is now offering nine changing rooms where her staff use Skype to help customers find the perfect fit.

What’s more, Karen set up drone footage from inside the store, which gives customers a sense of how much stock there is, and what it looks like.

Connecting with customers on social media

Another way businesses are maintaining and nurturing their customer base in these unprecedented times is by using social media to directly speak to and engage with people.

NZ and Australian clothing retailer Glassons is a prime example.

Using their Instagram platform, which has more than 413,000 followers, the retailer has commenced an initiative called ‘Keeping Connected with Glassons’, which touches on different topics of interest for their customers.

And instead of just focussing on its own business, the retailer is supporting the fashion retail community – earlier this week, they asked Instagram followers to share their favourite local businesses, the response of which they displayed to their community.

They also used a direct method to find out exactly how the brand could help their customers through this testing time.

With answers like “free shipping” and “give to people in need”, the brand gained valuable insight into ways people will respond to their business offerings virtually, as opposed to physically.

We’ll continue watching this space as we see it in action.

Think outside the box

A few weeks ago, we were partying, barbecuing and gathering in limitless groups like there was no tomorrow. The circumstances that have unfolded in the weeks since have been unprecedented.

But that in itself would no doubt give you an indication as to how quickly a business can change and adapt to the new temporary norm.

Take numerous cafes around the country for example, who have now launched their own delivery services.

Preach Cafe in Bondi is in the process of launching a delivery service, while Melbourne store Little Cupcakes is offering free delivery on their delicious treats.

While it’s something business owners never dreamed of doing to continue running a successful business, sometimes it really does pay to think outside the box.

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