From setting up online sales and payment platforms through to introducing new pick-up and delivery options, local businesses have found innovative ways to meet customer needs during the coronavirus pandemic.
With some restrictions eased across Victoria from May 13, Central Geelong Marketing says we can look forward to more Central Geelong retailers returning to their physical stores – adapting to meet health and safety requirements and customer expectations.
There will be an increased emphasis on the maintenance of good hygiene and cleaning. Frequently used areas will be cleaned more regularly and hand sanitiser stations will appear at entry and exit points of stores.
The team at Organic Larder in Malop Street has been on top of this from the start with hand sanitiser for customer use, no double handling of products and social distancing markers in place for those shopping in store. Customers are also encouraged to call, text, email or jump online and arrange delivery of their organic supplies.
Posters at entry points will indicate how many people are allowed in stores at any one time and you may be asked to wait for people to exit a store before you can enter. The number of people permitted inside a store will be determined by government directions and will be calculated based on the size of the store to keep both staff and customers safe.
Social distancing markers will appear throughout stores where appropriate to assist both staff and customers maintain safe distances. Some stores may ask people to move in a certain direction with arrows indicating direction of travel.
Central Geelong’s Snap Printing has a range of essential safety signs to keep workplaces and their customers, visitors and staff – safe, healthy and happy.
Many stores have already introduced clear panels at registers to help customers and staff maintain safe social distances.
Stores that developed online offers in response to the pandemic may choose to continue to provide that service in addition to their traditional in store experience – offering more options to their customers than ever before.
Central Geelong’s Popcultcha has been engaging its online audience with unboxing videos and highlighting a range of interesting in-store products. It also capitalised on the jigsaw rage and now stocks and sells jigsaws in-store and online.
Contactless payments are now preferred, with tap and go and click and collect options available in more stores than ever.
Smellies Flowers introduced seedling trays of vegie and herb seedlings for pre-order every Friday and have made their service contactless.
Ryrie Street’s Chefs Essentials has been supporting people’s desire to bake during isolation, using social media to showcase bread tins, cakes, coffee pots and Birkenstock chef clogs.
It offers Geelong customers free same day delivery and has been promoting free parking on offer in Central Geelong.
Free casual on and off-street parking until June 30, 2020 in Central Geelong is part of the City of Greater Geelong Council support package to assist businesses and residents impacted by COVID-19. Time limits still apply.
While we appear to be coming out the other side of the pandemic, there is still a long way to go and it is more important than ever to continue supporting local business.
Local businesses employ local people. They also use a wide range of local suppliers – including accountants, financial advisors, window cleaners, product suppliers, delivery drivers, sign writers, designers, printers, caterers and florists to name a few. This keeps the money you spend with them moving through the local economy – in turn supporting more businesses and creating more local jobs.
Making a choice to buy a product or service from a local business is not just good for that business – it’s also good for you.
You get great customer service, get to know the people who own or work in the store and you reduce your carbon footprint by staying close to home, which is great for the environment.
Local businesses also bring colour, energy and unique offerings to the streets of Central Geelong and that’s good for everyone.
It’s going to take a little getting used to, but by following the guidelines and respecting the efforts of businesses to provide a safe environment, it will help keep everyone safe.
To see how Central Geelong businesses have been doing things differently and to find out more about how you can keep supporting local businesses and the free parking options in Central Geelong visit www.centralgeelong.com.au or download the Love Central Geelong app.