As new rules and precautions are introduced into our daily lives every 24 hours to slow the spread of the coronavirus, we are seeing many local businesses navigating the way for their consumers. In my neighborhood of Chelsea in Manhattan, I’ve found that it’s the small businesses that are the first to close and the first to send email communications.
Unfortunately, they’re also the ones who are likely to be the first to take a huge financial hit. While the doors close, the (shockingly high) rent still has to be paid. And those local business owners are concerned about meeting payroll for their employees. Concern for their teams’ rent, childcare payments, and biweekly salaries is suddenly a looming threat. Many companies are choosing to meet this threat with empathy and have adjusted their marketing messages in kind.
Food delivery service Grubhub has announced that it will delay collection fees that it charges to independent restaurants. Grubhub CEO Matt Mahoney has announced that he is prepared to delay collection of up to $100 million in fees. The goal is to allow these restaurants to pay their employees with the fees instead of paying Grubhub. Talk about leading with empathy. Additionally, they founded the Grubhub Community Relief Fund, in which consumers can donate to drivers and delivery people. As a consumer, I am impressed by this action taken during COVID-19 and will be a more avid customer moving forward.
A skincare and facial company based in New York and California, Heyday closed it doors due to COVID-19 over a week ago. Their employees who work in the shops are paid hourly wages, and Heyday has committed to continuing their pay indefinitely while closed. To help with that expense, they’ve asked their consumers to purchase skincare products online, 10% of which will be allocated to those wages.
A quarterly print magazine for girls and boys, Bravery spends each issue on a strong female role model. I bought this magazine for my five-year-old goddaughter, Nola, and she tells me things like, “My favorite architect is Zaha Hadid!”
Now, Nola (along with every other five-year-old) is being homeschooled and giving her parents some bandwidth and creativity challenges. As a way to support their community of readers, Bravery has introduced Bravery School, a four-week daily homeschool curriculum totally free to subscribers. Bravery School will be focusing on the magazine content and using it as their “textbook,” along with additional activity pages. Plus, 15% of all new issues sold over the next month will go to feeding children who normally depend upon school for breakfast and lunch.
Meeting stress with empathy allows business owners to say that they’ve done everything they can for their teams, both financially and emotionally. Take it to heart, because consumers are inclined to help and support. The burden does not have to fall entirely on the business owner; asking your customers for help is appropriate and fosters a sense of helping the community while quarantined. Plus, and most effectively in the long run, it sets the business up as a human company with connection and heart, resulting in customer loyalty.
Here at LOCALiQ, we’re working on providing our community of local business readers with more content than ever, especially related to COVID-19. Check out these resources below: