Salt Lake City’s entrepreneurs are known for a connected culture, which helps drive a willingness to share ideas and adapt quickly to a different way of doing business.
We bring up ‘connected culture’ because now, more than ever, it is critical to reach out to neighboring business owners, associations, neighborhoods, and business support groups. On a City level, we can connect you with a list through our Business Development Resource Finder (BDRF) – just fill out this quick survey and get customized results for your business.
Here are a few examples of how businesses both in Utah and nationally are adapting their product offerings to keep serving and supporting their customers. You will notice that some have even pivoted their offerings to better serve new customers during this challenging time.
#1 – NEW: Apply for the “Shop in Utah” Grant
First, we want to make sure you aware of a new option. Within the next week the State of Utah will open a new “Shop in Utah” grant program. It’s part of the $25 million CARES Act funding for economic recovery. Here’s how it works – grants up to $50,000 and $100,000 will be rewarded on the condition that they offer some kind of a discount to customers worth at least half the grant amount before year’s end. How much you get will be determined by how much you have lost to COVID-19.
More details and application instructions will be available on July 27. We’re reading that the offers can vary widely and you will need to share your plans with the organizers. Ideas could include
- Pre-sell merchandise for your upcoming postponed event
- Promote the purchase of gift certificates with an added bonus offer.
- Buy-one-get-one-free offers
#2 – Move the Personal Experience Online
Hold a class. Laziz Kitchen has found a quick way to connect on TikTok – a social platform that has experienced exponential growth during the pandemic (in addition to the video tools on Instagram and Facebook).
And by the way, if you haven’t checked it out already there is a series of cocktail classes offered by Downtown SLC — the “Tip Your Server” Salt Lake City Nights In Series. Check out our talented chefs, baristas, and mixologists sharing their favorite recipes.
Studies are showing that consumers are willing to pay MORE for the same item online to avoid shopping in person. What to do? Host one-on-one online retail shopping experiences through Facetime, Facebook Messenger, Google Duo or any other video chat platform of your choice. Then ship them the items they want to purchase from you! Use online payment services such as Venmo or Zelle or PayPal or whatever your credit card processing of choice.
Now is the time to double down on your digital advertising, purchase Facebook ads and Google AdWords to find those customers.
#3 – Create an Event
Find creative partnerships with neighboring and/or online retailers with social media influencers! Strike up an online conversation with influencers who can help you promote your brand and get it in front of their audiences. Sugarhouse Chamber created a Virtual Passport & Local Scavenger Hunt throughout the month of July – it’s a way to get out, have fun, support local businesses and win prizes.
#4 Offer New Takeout and Delivery Options
A more popular change you’ve probably seen is one you might have been partaking in for some time now. A lot of restaurants, especially quick-service restaurants, are only offering their food for takeout and delivery.
At-home meal kits have been around for a while, but today some restaurants are creating kits of their own. Customers can either order kits for delivery or pick them up, and do the rest at home. Santo Taco offered ‘La Caja’ to feed a family of 4 and runs daily specials. Local bar Seabird is offering mixers to go or delivery.
Square’s ‘Give and Get Local’ is a comprehensive view into MANY types of businesses in Salt Lake City and also a way to bypass popular delivery service fees by delivery services like DoorDash and GrubHub.
#5 Pivot to a New Audience
In addition to supporting their customer’s offerings, Nicholas and Company recognized that customers were struggling to get everything they needed from scarce grocery store shelves and decided to use their inventory as a store open to the public.
#6 Raffle Gift Cards for a Cause
Find creative partnerships with other Salt Lake City retailers or social media influencers! Strike up an online conversation with influencers who can help you promote your brand and get it in front of their audiences.
One way to do this is a fund raiser. Recently Normal Ice Cream successfully raised over $40,000 for the Black Lives Movement. They did it by joining forces with hundreds of other retailers to spread the word. Another example is a local COVID-19 Aid Group – they simply asked influencers to share and send their raffle purchase via Venmo.
It may not bring immediate results but the benefit of free exposure and helping your community goes a long way. It’s a reminder that we’re all in this together, making your customer more likely to return to your business again and again.
#7 Business Collaborations and Swaps
Businesses are reaching out to their fellow business owners to collaborate on unique offerings for customers. Think about offering a combined service, or special offer to offer your customers. Find a complementary business offering to yours who has a large online following or customer database. Explore supply chain shortcomings and employee share arrangements.
#8 Online or Live-Stream Classes
We know that working out can be very helpful in relieving stress and staying healthy, but most of us are having to do without our favorite gym and boutique fitness classes to break a sweat. Studios don’t want members to miss out completely, though, and many have started offering online classes or planning Instagram or Facebook Live classes.
From the team behind Salt Lake Power Yoga and Peak 45, Tune In Mindfulness is offering options to take part in the classes either responsibly in-person at the studio or virtually through Zoom. The Zoom sessions are free and are a great step to sample and built customer relationships.
Craft Lake City, a popular maker group in Salt Lake City, is moving their annual event to a virtual experience of classes and shopping August 7th-9th. The DIY Festival features over 250 local artisans, STEM exhibitors, vintage vendors, food creators and performers. More info at: craftlakecity.com/diy-festival/ Organizers believe that the Virtual 12th Annual Craft Lake City DIY Festival will provide innovative digital programming that may become a part of a future general programming suite.
#9 Offer Incentives or Rewards for Wearing a Mask
While there is currently a public health order in place for wearing a mask in Salt Lake County, at times it can be difficult to enforce in real time. We are learning that Station Park (Davis County) is offering random shoppers a $10 gift card for wearing a mask. The reward could be for any type of behavior – bonus product, gift cards, or cash.
These are just some of the ways that our Salt Lake City businesses are getting creative to provide service, food, and, hopefully, a little comfort to their customers right now. They have helped build our economy, now let’s do everything we can to protect that investment. Support your local owner today.