With independent retailers closing down across the country, store owners are searching desperately for ways to keep products moving during the coronavirus crisisLocally, which supports online sales for stores without dedicated ecommerce platforms on their websites, has implemented new practices meant to benefit small shops and keep cash flowing even as doors close and workers go home.

According to founder Mike Massey, the platform will now offer a streamlined onboarding process and will facilitate same-day and next-day deliveries for a flat fee of $10 per month, a 66 percent reduction of the normal monthly cost. The company will also facilitate curbside pickups to comply with the CDC's guidelines on social distancing.

"As this situation continues to develop, retailers should look at what restaurants are doing," Massey told SNEWS. "They're staying open with pickup and delivery orders. Retailers can do the same, even if they don't have an ecommerce platform."

In addition to these new efforts, Locally is working on a DIY delivery option to help retailers keep employees on the payroll as the crisis develops. When a customer purchases a product through Locally, the new DIY option allows a delivery fee to be channeled directly to the retailer, who can use the money to pay employees for delivering goods using personal or company vehicles. Massey said this option will be available to Locally users as early as this week.

Christine Iksic, co-founder of 3 Rivers Outdoor Co. in Pittsburgh, said she's been using Locally for over a year and hopes it will help during her store's indefinite closure, which began today. 

"Just having the platform on our site is going to help to some extent," she said. "This is the only way we put things for sale online. At least it’s something. We’ve had a couple of purchases on our website today already. I don’t expect we’ll take in even 10 percent of what we normally do, but at least this will help."

Signing up for the platform is free for retailers anywhere.

Related

Save your Local gear shop (1)

How to save your local gear shop

As the coronavirus crisis spreads, independent retailers are hurting badly. (Even before this pandemic, many were losing business to Amazon and other direct-to-consumer competition.) Shops are now empty, workers have been sent home, and cash flow is drying up. At the same time, ...read more