Like all retail store owners, Ryan Benoit has had to completely re-imagine his business over the last two months.
Benoit is the owner of the clothing brand, The Positive Inception, which has its retail location in Sudbury. Amid COVID-19, Benoit shifted to online sales.
“I’ve had to kind of force myself to learn how to do things better online,” Benoit said.
“I offered pretty much every product that’s in the store. Beforehand I didn’t really have a lot of options on the website.”
Benoit has been shipping orders, and delivering within Sudbury. Now that the province is allowing stores to offer curbside pickup, Benoit plans to add that to the mix as well.
“Sometimes people just want to get out of the house, right, because they’re cooped up and they want a change of scenery, and if they want to pick it up it will be convenient maybe for the both of us because that way I won’t have to deliver it.”
While Benoit prepares to add curbside pickup as a new option, there are other retailers who have already been doing so for weeks, and say the guidelines have been unclear.
‘Hasn’t been clear’
At Stitch & Stone boutique, online sales have been growing during the pandemic. The store has been offering both delivery and pickup options.
“There’s definitely been, I think, a grey area in what people were allowed to do,” said store owner Gabrielle Roy.
Roy said facilitating online sales has kept her very busy, as she spends time answering people’s questions about items they aren’t able to try on themselves, and organizing deliveries.
She said offering curbside pickup has made things easier, and has allowed people to receive their orders more quickly.
“If we have 100 curbside pick up that saves us 100 local deliveries, you know, so it’s really much easier on us.”
Meanwhile WaterCrow Studio art supply store has also been offering both delivery and pickup options for its new system of online sales.
Co-owner Pancho Eekels says he hadn’t realized there was an issue with curbside pickup, until the province’s recent announcement.
“It hasn’t been clear. I know that other businesses in the area have sort of like, you know, gone back and forth on curbside pickup. So, yeah, we all thought that it was already you know, possible to do so,” Eekels said.
“I guess now we can do it officially.”
Eekels said about 30 per cent of his customers have been opting for curbside pickup.