Many small businesses across the country temporarily closed their storefronts this year during the country-wide lockdown. According to the OECD, these closures are likely to hit small and medium-sized businesses the hardest. For many, digital tools have become a lifeline during this time.
To get the week started, we’re highlighting free tools and resources to help small businesses get set up with online stores, connect with their customers virtually, and get support from Canadians looking to rally behind their favourite local businesses. We hope you find these new tools and resources helpful.
Get set up online
One of the first businesses to go through the program was Toronto-based tea shop, Plentea
, which had to permanently close its doors due to COVID-19. Plentea quickly pivoted to an online-only shop and now has the potential to reach customers across the globe.
“We signed up for the program and within a week we were up and running with the first iteration of our Shopify website. It's hard enough letting our guests know that they can no longer visit our store, but It felt very empowering telling them that we will be online, and they can continue to order our loose leaf teas through www.plentea.ca. We have already had an influx of orders and a lot of “thank you's” for us being online.” – Tariq Al Barwani, Founder, Plentea
Tariq Al Barwani, Founder, Plentea
Get support from Canadians looking to help
Canadian search interest in “how to help small businesses
” skyrocketed in March 2020 as consumers are looking for ways to support their corner bookstores, local watering holes, beloved dance studios and other businesses that give their neighbourhoods character—even if from a distance.
“A donation or a gift card towards a future dine in experience will go directly to paying our amazing staff and to keeping our doors open through these tough times.” – Sylvester Borowka, Continental Treat Fine Bistro
People can now look up their favourite local businesses to see if they have donation or gift card links on their Business Profile
Get connected to customers virtually
Many small business owners who normally provide in-person services are now building virtual offerings. Yoga studios are offering online classes, salons are hosting virtual hair styling classes, and restaurant owners have quickly implemented delivery and curbside pick-up options. On Google my Business
, we have introduced new features that make it easier for verified merchants to connect with their customers through their Business Profile in Search and Maps.
- Add attributes like “online classes,” “online appointments,” or “online estimates” to their Business Profiles to let people know how they’re operating and what the offerings are.
- We’ve expanded Reserve with Google to help merchants offer easy appointment bookings for online services so customers can quickly find available times, book a slot, and add it to their Google Calendar. Millions of people have already booked in-person appointments thanks to integrations from our Reserve with Google partners.
Merchants can offer easy appointment bookings for online services
- Lately, interest in food delivery and takeout has exploded. In response, we’ve added more third-party ordering providers, so people can order directly on Google. To give merchants even more control, we’ll soon be making it easier to indicate their preferred online ordering partners on their Business Profiles.
- Today people are deciding where to grab food not only based on the menu, but also on how easy it is to pick up safely. We added attributes like “curbside pickup,” “no contact delivery,” and “dine-in” so that restaurants can easily share these important details on their Business Profiles in Search and Maps. Since March, more than 3 million restaurants have added or edited their dining attributes. Some restaurateurs are even ditching dining areas for good.
Share with customers ways they can order food
We know that businesses across Canada are looking for support during this time. We hope these new product features, tools, resources and programs can help them on their road to recovery.
Originally posted by Karen Godwin, Director of Customer Solutions for Google Canada