OEV Businesses Continuing to Embrace the Virtual Shift
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During these uncertain times, OEV businesses have proven how versatile and resilient they can be! Once COVID-19 forced local businesses to close their doors to the public, many were quick to adapt and move business online to serve their customers in unique ways. Now, nearly six months later, they continue to work diligently in a new virtual manner.
Business in OEV has seen a massive shift to online orders, curbside pickups, contactless delivery, shopping by appointment, new outdoor patios, and so much more. For instance, In Your Space Yoga Collective began offering yoga classes via Facebook Live that you could follow along at home, and, as outlined in our “Community Connections Blog” back in May, Artisan Bakery launched a brand new website to accommodate online orders. These are just a few of the new forms of business in OEV that illustrate just how effective social media and digital technology can be now, and always.
For these reasons and many more, we’re so excited about the Digital Main Street Program and the opportunities it can provide for local businesses! Digital Main Street, available for the second time in London and throughout Ontario, connects Main Street businesses to the most innovative digital providers as well as funding through the Digital Transformation Grant. In brief, this Digital Transformation Grant of $2,500 is to help improve businesses’ overall online presence through such avenues as eCommerce solutions, website improvements, and digital advertising, just to name a few!
One OEV business that took advantage of this program was Mystic Bookshop. Through this program, they were able to launch a brand new website complete with an online shop.
“The Digital Main Street experience was a real lifesaver! We were preparing for the road closures by developing a website. The online learning modules allowed us to set up the website and the money enabled us to buy the Shopify system to bring all our operations into the digital age. The timing of this program was fortuitous for us, because we were able to launch our website soon after the pandemic occurred and we needed a way to generate income during the lockdown,” says Mary Beechie, owner at Mystic Bookshop.
Mystic Bookshop was just one of many OEV businesses to utilize the Digital Main Street Program, and due to today’s high eCommerce demand, this program is beneficial now more than ever.
Another available support for OEV businesses is our #DIGOEV Digital Marketing Fund, made possible by the profits from Western Fair’s Virtual Beer and BBQ Show with contributions from Libro and the OEV BIA. This fund allows eligible OEV businesses to apply for micro-grants to strengthen their digital marketing efforts through post promotions on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. To apply for this fund or for more information, click here.
To stay up to date on how other OEV businesses have tackled COVID-19 and to learn more about various business support programs, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, and check our OEV BIA website regularly! Or, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out at 519-645-7662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.