The Edit Blog

How the best businesses are keeping customers engaged despite social distancing

ARTICLE BY Tania Rowsell-Jones
READ TIME: 3 mins
18th March 2020

social distancing

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to many people social distancing, driving businesses to do some fantastically innovative things.

Not everyone is as lucky as we are at Edit to be able to work from our own homes, supported by a great IT and leadership team. Many rely on the people being on their premises not on their own sofas.

The outbreak is already hitting businesses small and large. But, judging by what we’ve found, there might be some hope.

1. Vintage Books + indie booksellers

Vintage Books, a publishing imprint of Penguin Random House, took to Twitter in March to shout about indie bookshops. According to a January article from The Guardian, indie bookshops were thriving in comparison to other high street stores. Covid-19 could well undo all that. Especially in a sector already competing fiercely against retail giants such as Amazon.

 

Vintage Books posted a thread on its Twitter account in support of indie bookshops that are accepting online and phone orders, and who are delivering books via post, or even locally by hand, to those self-isolating. Many have compiled recommended reading lists and are reminding customers they’re happy to discuss your book needs on the phone.

It’s great to see one of the giants in the publishing world supporting small bookstores around the country. Special mention goes to Bristol’s Max Minerva’s and Book-ish in Crickhowell, Wales, that are offering grocery deliveries with each order!

2. Foodie sites

The likes of BBC Good Food and delicious. magazine, to name a few, have taken to social media to remind their followers they want to support them to continue to make great meals, even when the shelves appear empty.

BBC Good Food has asked its followers what they want to see more of (what better way to find out what your customers want?) and the website currently features recipes for store cupboard staples and freezer-friendly cooking.

 

The folks at delicious. have followed with a similar statement on being adaptable in the kitchen, and asked followers to get in touch with what they have in their cupboard. The delicious. team will let them know what can be whipped up. Their website currently features meals with five ingredients and 14 recipes using one tin of tomatoes. (Yes, we see you there with your 20 tins of chopped tomatoes.)

Two great examples of companies showing empathy and following the flow of the times, keeping people engaged with their content.

3. Restaurants

Restaurants are inevitably going to be one of the sectors taking the hardest hit because of people self-isolating and, for the most part, staying away from social gatherings.

But, Manjit’s Kitchen in Leeds has taken to Twitter to offer a range of chilled curries to be delivered for reheating at home, on a pay-what-you-feel basis. The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, with over 2.5K likes.

 

Prawn on The Lawn (fantastic name) of London and Padstow, Cornwall, is offering takeaway with a discount, plus wine at retail prices. Obviously has its finger on the pulse of what people want right now. Drink responsibly.

 

These are unprecedented, often scary times for individuals and businesses who are unable to work from home. It’s clear that the hospitality and independent sectors, in particular, will suffer, but it’s also clear social media and a little creativity can assist in ensuring they still reach their audience, serve their customers, and get closer to paying the bills. Perhaps these businesses will even take some of these new, innovative practices along with them when this has blown over.

In the meantime, support local where you can. And please wash your hands.