There is no doubt that both businesses and customers have changed the way they think and act in the latest lockdown.
Almost a year ago when the pandemic first struck, we were all struggling with how to cope whether you were ‘staying at home’ or trying to keep your business going. The move from high street trading to online was the first tentative step but much more has happened …
Despite Government payments to businesses and furlough payments of 80% of salaries, some employees are still losing their jobs and some businesses are still being forced to close.
We asked a cross section of Chamber members for their views, including The Barn Theatre, Stratton House Hotel, The Number Crunchers, Make It Sticky and Jesse Smiths.
They all agreed that times had changed and that they adjusted to the ‘new normal’
The Number Crunchers have found that having staff ‘home working’ saved on overheads and that they had had a steady influx of new clients who have moved from traditional accountancy to cloud based accountancy.
Make It Sticky, a 2020 Chamber Business Awards Winner, echoed the comment on home working, but acknowledged that meetings by Zoom were not as effective as face to face briefings and that the whole ‘creative process’ now takes longer. Clients were now redirecting their budgets into digital media channels and were adapting their message from one of ‘come and see us’ to ‘click and collect’ or ‘see us online!’
Jesse Smiths, another 2020 Chamber Awards Winner, whilst acknowledging their wholesale business had all but disappeared, have introduced an extremely successful home delivery service and are going live with click and collect across all five of their outlets.
Unlike many hotels who switched to offering a takeaway service in the first lockdown and lost money; Stratton House Hotel redirected their efforts. They didn’t do takeaway and are on target with the build of their new spa, due to open this May. They will be launching their own e-commerce site to sell their new spa products very soon.
Perhaps the biggest transformation of all, is the Barn Theatre who moved from live theatre, to launching Barn Media during the first lockdown, which provided relevant content free online to the public, to keep them informed. The Theatre has now embraced new technology and changed its business model. The Barn is now providing ‘pay to view Netflix style’ shows, such ‘What a Carve Up’ and ‘Dorian Gray’
So there you have it. Cirencester Businesses are adapting and are continuing to find innovative ways of reaching their customers. Meanwhile we must stay safe and wait for the vaccine.
To join the Cirencester Chamber or to sign up for its regular newsletter, go to cirencesterchamber.org.uk, or call Chamber Secretary Sarah Somers on 07842 081589, or email Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org