Throughout the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the positive aspects we hope carries over into the new normal is the resiliency shown by small businesses.
Here at Ripl, we love hearing the stories of the creative ways our community was able to pivot and adapt using social media. Today we’re showcasing how one business built a social media that got new customers online and on the road.
A mother and daughter small business team
April and Joy Edwards are the owners of Grapevine Cottage, a home decor and gift store in Collingwood, Ontario in Canada. They are a mother and daughter team that have been in business for over 20 years together, and love what they do.
Grapevine Cottage offers a variety of products such as home, garden and seasonal decor, ladies’ fashions, jewelry, purses, and Canadian-made candles.
April and Joy credit the magic of social media for their broad range of customers that are both local and across Canada.
Customer service comes first
Even before the pandemic April and Joy prioritized a hands-on approach to customer service and customer engagement. They strive to go above and beyond to meet their customer’s needs.
“This includes such personal touches as handwritten cards and a small gift with online orders, or curbside pick-up orders. We have also hand-delivered and some porch delivery service, especially in these times with the pandemic.”
Applying customer feedback has a similar approach for them.
“We listen to our customers' requests and try our very best to source out the products and items they are looking for. We ship out gift orders for customers all over Canada for Mother’s Day, Easter, Christmas, and birthdays.”
The lockdown created an added factor to consider for April and Joy when it comes to helping their customers.
“When garden, cottage and staycation season comes around, we assist our customers in choosing the perfect decor items to decorate and make their places more enjoyable, since most people are now staying home and not traveling.”
Their social media journey
How they reach their customers has changed over the years. As April describes it, “first we were old school and waited for them to walk through the door to make their purchases and to browse in our shop.” They found that the playing field changed with the introduction of online social platforms, and they had to find new and inventive ways to reach existing customers and create a new customer base to avoid falling behind.
Like many, their first foray into social media for business was creating a Facebook page, followed by Pinterest and Google. They were able to quickly learn the ropes, and start putting their own creative spin on their content.
“To make our Facebook Business page stand out, to build likes and shares, grab customers’ attention, and sell the products in our store, we had to get creative! So we took small videos of ourselves featuring the products that we sell and post every day. My mom is a great model, and she loves to dance, so that became one of our draws—customers would tune in to see what she was wearing and selling that day.”