In recent times, it is difficult to escape talk of the novel coronavirus. The virus has permeated into every sector of society, and beyond causing a public health crisis, it has also precipitated a significant economic recession. As such, businesses are placed in a difficult situation wherein they must try to generate revenue while simultaneously compensating for the business they lost. So, how are businesses adapting to COVID-19?
One mechanism that has been adopted is turning to the internet for assistance—in some cases the shift to the internet has been a silver lining for stores. One such shop that experienced substantial benefits from utilizing the internet is Big Bottom Market, a food spot and café located in Guerneville, California. When the business was forced to close in mid-march, the owner assessed what he could do to keep profits afloat: “I had to take stock of what we had and think about how we could evolve the business.” One of the co-owners Michael Volpatt came up with the idea of creating a cooking show.
Volpatt took to Facebook and posted daily cooking show videos in an effort to generate more support for their Etsy Shop. Etsy is an outlet for individuals and businesses to sell their products, often times they are niche or creative. Luckily for Big Bottom, Volpatt’ s efforts proved successful. Visits to the page up by 66% and Big Bottom generated enough revenue from the sale of merchandise to cover the monthly utilities, rent, and insurance they owed. Big Bottom successfully sold biscuit mixes, coffee mugs, coffee, preserves, and T-shirts. The café is now partially open, but not fully and can only accommodate a fraction of the customers it typically does. As such, in the interim, Big Bottom will rely on its Etsy sales to supplement their revenue. Moreover, once the business is fully open, Volpatt comments that he will continue to use the internet to boost sales.
Big Bottom is not the only company that has turned to the internet in this time. Owner of a Dallas based Boutique, Amy Witt turned to social media to boost sales after she was forced to close the doors to her store. Witt commented “the forced closure gave me the opportunity to say ‘what’s wrong with my business and how do I fix it?” After consideration she realized she didn’t allocate enough resources to her online brand. During the pandemic she learned how to make her store, Velvet Window, more visible in internet searches which contributed to high sales. This silver lining allowed Velvet Window to continue its operations despite the closure.
If anything can be learned from Big Bottom and Velvet Window, it is that even in dire times, creativity and innovation prevails. Volpatt and Witt were able to adapt their businesses and make changes that will remain in place long after the pandemic has subsided.
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