Businesses in all industries are feeling the impact of COVID-19 as they adjust operational practices to adhere to new government regulations to keep both their team and their customers safe.
Even businesses that are considered essential services and are allowed to continue operating are looking for new ways to accept payments and serve their customers. The team at Helcim wants to help businesses find new ways to accept payments and keep their businesses operating. We have found the tenacity and determination of the small business community inspiring as they work together to conduct business in new ways using online tools like virtual terminals, hosted payment pages, invoicing, and online stores. Businesses who have never before sold products online have had to pivot their operations and rally their teams to offer delivery, online ordering, and product pickups in order to keep sales flowing.
Guidelines for businesses and classification categories for essential services may vary by jurisdiction. We recommend you check with your local and federal government to ensure you stay up-to-date on the latest guidelines and restrictions as they are updated.
Many businesses operating in the health and wellness space have had to temporarily shut their doors for the time being to be able to adhere to the physical distancing requirements most governments have put in place. Since many businesses in the health and wellness space rely on seeing customers in-person to deliver services, not being able to operate as usual has had a drastic impact on these businesses including those operating fitness studios, hair salons, barbershops, esthetic services, and more.
How to Shift to Online Payments and Online Sales
While the health and wellness industry has traditionally offered services in-person to their customers, we have seen many different types of businesses find different ways to offer their services to their customers. Businesses that have a strong client base are able to leverage those relationships and continue to generate revenue to help carry their business through these challenging times.
Even if your services don't look the same as they did before, that's okay. Remember your customers aren't supposed to be leaving their homes either and your competitors are all being impacted in the same ways that you are.
Here are some ways you can continue to accept payments from a distance:
Use a Virtual Terminal
If you're selling merchandise, you can use a virtual terminal to process payments over the phone. When customers call in to make a purchase you simply type the transaction and customer information into your virtual terminal. The virtual terminal will let you know right away that the payment has been approved, you can send the customer an email copy of their receipt, and you'll have a record of the transaction in your account.
Send an Invoice
If customers are emailing or calling you to place orders for products or services you are able to send them an invoice for their purchase through your account. The invoices include a Pay Now button so customers can easily click the button and submit payment. You can track outstanding invoices, send payment reminders, and process payments for outstanding invoices all from your account.
Create a Payment Page
Using a hosted payment page gives your business an easy and secure way to accept credit card payments online. Payment pages provide flexible payment solutions as part of your shopping cart's checkout, as a simple Pay Now button or Donate Now button, or as an integrated part of your billing system. Many businesses are beginning their online payment experience with simplified offerings that are easy to deliver to customers and payment pages are perfect for these types of offerings. You can even customize your payment page to collect delivery or shipping information for customers when they pay.
Setup a Recurring or Subscription Payment Plan
If your customers previously paid for a recurring or monthly program, you might want to see if you can offer a version of that service online or through delivery. While you will most likely need to alter the cost of this online offering compared to your usual in-person offering, it could be a way to create recurring revenue while cities are following social distancing guidelines and asking people to stay home.
Launch an Online Store
If you usually sell products or merchandise in a studio as a supplement to your service offerings, you can create an online store to encourage the sale of these products to customers for the time being. You can also offer gift cards or vouchers that customers can purchase now and use once business returns to normal. Consider grouping products in gift basket kits or packages for people looking to send gifts to people as they virtually celebrate special events that might be coming up soon.
Online Options for the Health and Wellness Industry
Here are some of the adjustments we have seen businesses in the health and wellness industry adapt. We want to share them in case they can help other businesses who are looking for ways to continue their operations. By working together and sharing ideas, we can find ways to keep commerce flowing.
- Offer DIY classes or programs online and collect donations or payment using a hosted payment page
- Set up a recurring subscription plan for monthly online classes or programs, for example, a weekly or monthly fitness challenge, or a bi-weekly at-home facial kit that you deliver
- Use Zoom or private YouTube videos to offer online fitness classes instead of in-studio classes
- Rent out spin bikes or other studio equipment to members and allow them to take equipment home for a monthly fee
- Deliver products and offer online videos to allow customers to do a DIY version of your service. For example, manicure kits, facials, hair color, beard trimming kits, etc.
- Set up an online store for merchandise or products that can be delivered or shipped to customers
- Encourage the purchase of gift cards or vouchers for future use
Business will return to normal eventually, but in the meantime, we believe that generosity and collaboration will help us overcome these challenges. At Helcim, we have always been committed to sharing resources and knowledge that empowers business owners. We will continue to share information on how businesses can adapt to new government regulations, accept online payments and find ways to keep their business operating.