As consumers adapt to life in social isolation amid the coronavirus pandemic, smaller retailers must also accustom their operations in order protect people and grow their businesses.

How can you recoup your losses and innovate for a permanently changed, shopping culture?

The coronavirus crisis has largely disrupted day-to-day sales. Retail business owners should focus on building alternative streams to sell products, such as online ordering for click and collect or delivery – an easy e-commerce entry point.

Customers can shop safely, enjoy the convenience and the time flexibility. Retailers can capitalise on the growing demand for online shopping and incorporate online ordering into their long-term strategy, while also offering instore sales – it’s the best of both worlds.

The retail giants have been reaping the benefits of online ordering for some time, but the crisis caused by Covid-19 has seen many smaller, independent, community stores springing into action. They are taking orders over the phone or via social media for delivery or collection in order to help safeguard the health and safety of customers and staff.

This crisis could very well see the local convenience stores and small retailers hit back at the big boys by using all their traditional strengths – not least as reliability – combined with online selling capacity.

Perhaps most importantly, online ordering capacity offers an additional revenue stream for smaller retailers in a time when the economy (local and global) has taken a real hammering. What may be the most lucrative aspect about offering online click and collect and delivery services is that sales can be processed out of business hours, while you sleep and before you open your store – all while providing the ultimate convenience for your customers by allowing them to shop from the comfort of home.

By encouraging shoppers to order online and pick up at the store or benefit from home delivery, retailers can contribute to flattening the curve of Covid-19 for their community and operate e-commerce without fundamentally altering the way they do business. It is also the most feasible strategy to accommodate ‘cocooning’ and self-isolating customers.

Even before the sudden impacts of Covid-19, online sales were rapidly emerging trends as retail continues to rapidly digitalise.

90% of retailers already intended to invest in the service over the next five years, making it a matter of incorporating click and collect or home delivery, or both services before your competitors do.