The impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the high street has been profound, with non-essential shops being closed by the government and supermarket shelves emptying.

Consumer purchases have shifted online – the online supermarket, Ocado, is facing an influx of orders and digital food delivery apps, Deliveroo and Uber Eats have adjusted their services with the offer of ‘no contact’ deliveries, leaving food on customers’ door steps to limit interactions.

But as public restrictions continue to grow, what does this mean for small retailers that have previously been reliant on high street trade?

While small businesses have been offered funding grants from the government amid the pandemic, it is vital for small business owners to safeguard their businesses against future retail crises.

To do this, brick-and-mortar stores will need to be prepared to adapt and consider moving their services online if they don’t already have a website. As consumers become more reliant on online shopping during this time and demand for instant access to brands grows, small businesses must be agile in how they reach customers in order to survive.

Tools like Shopify allow start-ups and small businesses to develop a digital presence and create an online store. The simple to use platform enables business owners to tap into the dynamic world of e-commerce and build their brand online. And for businesses that already have a digital presence, these tools can help make websites more discoverable, easy to use and therefore more successful.

Alternatively, marketplaces like Not On The High Street, Amazon and eBay offer businesses access to their customer base and provide the infrastructure they need to take their first digital footsteps. Being seen online and providing the best possible customer experience is essential as consumers look for help from businesses in uncertain times.

By being agile and delivering their services to customers in a different way, small businesses have a better chance of navigating today’s unprecedented challenges. Technology can aid these businesses in adapting and help them continue to engage audiences when high street footfall slows.