Local businesses switching to eCommerce due to COVID-19 pandemic

Published: May. 8, 2020 at 4:02 PM CDT
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As the country continues to deal with the economic fall-out related to the COVID-19 pandemic, some local businesses are having to quickly change how they can stay afloat.

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues, buying things online has become more and more common in our lives. For some businesses, like The Local Store in Eau Claire, the shift to eCommerce has been enough to keep them open. Lindsey Quinnies is the manager of The Local Store and says they have seen more customers using their newly redesigned

“We've seen a big spike in the percentage of our orders that are done online,” Quinnies says. “We haven't done the same volume of sales that we are used to, but we have been pleasantly surprised with how we've been able to keep up with just the online orders.”

Their brick-and-mortar location on North Dewey Street remains closed, but customers can still call in an order or go online, then drive by to pick it up or have it delivered.

“The online orders, the purchases, the support like that, it really means everything to us right now, probably more than you know,” Quinnies says.

It's become just another wrinkle in the economy of the COVID-19 outbreak through the Chippewa Valley. Dr. Thomas Kemp is the Department Chair and a professor in the Department of Economics at UW- Eau Claire. He says some people may be looking to buy local during this pandemic to support their local economy.

“A lot of goods and services that maybe we would like to have in our house, a lot of those can be purchased maybe more locally than we might've thought,” Kemp says.

Scott Hodek is an economist with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and says the COVID-19 pandemic has forced local businesses to think fast on their feet.

“Obviously we've had recessions and things like that and we've had pandemics in this country but, there were vastly different economic situations during that and our economy has changed quite a bit since then as well,” Hodek says. “This is pretty much unprecedented.”

Quinnies says The Local Store has kept the cash registers churning and even sustained a little economic boost ahead of Mother's Day. She says it is thanks in part to some personal care packages they've put together.

"People can pick a group or type of item like food stuff and snacks, games and activities and then a price range and then we will put something together for them so it is as easy as possible,” she says.

While it's not the same as having people inside, The Local Store hopes they can still offer the same amount of care for its customers, even if it is online.