While businesses ready themselves for reopening on 4 July, some have already been taking advantage of innovative technologies to trade throughout lockdown and beyond
CAYA Club in Brixton, London, a coffee shop and co-working space, had been steadily growing its loyal customer base since September 2016, so closure due to COVID-19 came as a blow.
Owners Kate Enright and Nita Patel had to think creatively about how best to keep trading safely and sustainably, while minimising person-to-person contact.
The pair decided that a click and collect service would work best for their customers, so they devised a short food menu that included pastries, toasties and its signature avocado bowl, alongside retail items, such as sourdough bread, peanut butter, marinades and jam. Setting up online seemed an obvious solution to help the coffee shop provide its new service, but Kate found the array of online store options complex and expensive.
A fellow business owner recommended Square. Kate was already familiar with Square, having come into contact with the payment provider at a coffee fair a couple of years previously. And while she knew the backend and dashboard capabilities were good, she hadn't been aware of its online offering.
Square provided an online store in a quick and easy way with no coding required. Through the Square Online Store, CAYA Club was able to showcase the new menu and online payment facilities, and it also set up a click and collect service with curbside pick-up, helping with both its online and in-person sales.
"An online store wasn't something I had explored because I was worried it would be too much of a faff or that something would go wrong," says Kate. "But now that I'm doing it, I've realised it's not hard, so we will definitely keep using the online store and click and collect after the lockdown has been lifted."
The coffee shop has also seen success with the increased product offering on its online store. Kate notes: "We've definitely seen that when people are browsing the online store, they are adding extra bits and pieces to their basket."
Now she feels far more optimistic about the future: "The lockdown has forced us all to stay closer to home and we are all shopping more locally and mindfully," Kate says. "It has been a dire situation, but we're hoping that lots of good will come from it in the long-term, with more people supporting their local businesses."
So while all operators in England will be getting ready to reopen on 4 July, some like CAYA Club will do so with renewed confidence.
Four ways to adapt your business online
1 Start selling products online. You can integrate payments into your existing website or use Square Online Checkout, which provides a simple online checkout link to your customers without you even needing a website. To learn more, visit squareup.com/uk.
2 Offer local delivery or curbside pick-up by building a new website with Square Online Store.
3 Sell eGift Cards to generate cash flow and let your customers demonstrate their loyalty, as well as bringing in new customers. Digital gift cards from Square are integrated into the Square app and Square dashboard to allow you to sell, redeem, track and reload them without any additional tools or training needed.
4 Diversify your product offering. If your business has access to other products, from sourdough starter to artisan chocolate, why not offer them for delivery or collection online?
Squareup Europe Limited is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details on transaction fee per product can be seen here: squareup.com/gb/en/pricing