Local, independent small businesses have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. With “non-essential” businesses across Canada forced to shut their doors, the pandemic has taken a big toll on the income of small businesses in all sectors throughout the country. As a franchise that caters to the needs of small business, GetintheLoop worked swiftly to pivot their business model to help their clients overcome the barriers presented by the unprecedented global pandemic.
GetintheLoop provides a platform that showcases offers and incentives from businesses across the spectrum from restaurants and bars to brick-and-mortar retailers. The businesses themselves upload their offers to the platform, while customers use the GetintheLoop app to connect to the business and their promotional offers.
Adapting to COVID-19
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, GetintheLoop quickly changed their platform to meet the immediate needs of small businesses. The platform shifted its focus to helping clients communicate to customers how COVID-19 has impacted their operations and how they can support them.
To keep customers engaged, GetintheLoop launched in-app contests and a $10,000 local gift-card giveaway as part of a campaign to spread the message of the importance of supporting small businesses in the community. Additionally, GetintheLoop expanded its offerings by partnering with municipalities, chambers of commerce, BIAs (Business Improvement Areas), economic development groups, tourism groups, and the CFA (Canadian Franchise Association) to give their clients a leg up.
“There has never been a greater need for small businesses to connect with residents in the community,” explains Matt Crowell, founder and CEO of GettintheLoop. “Launching new business-first partnerships, we are creating partnerships to help solve small business and community communication problems by providing premium access to our platform for free during the pandemic crisis to help small businesses connect with the community.”
The Impact on Franchisees
The enforcement of social distancing measures across Canada to slow the outbreak of COVID-19 provided GetintheLoop with the opportunity to evolve their franchise sales and onboarding process. They began offering an “Early Access Program” to give entrepreneurs with a serious interest in the franchise remote franchisee training while a refundable deposit secured the territory of their choice. While the franchise’s corporate office shifted to a work-from-home strategy, they remained committed to providing top-notch support to franchisees by holding frequent digital “town hall meetings” to establish a strict line of communication between the franchisor head office and local franchise owners.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed several GetintheLoop initiatives on hold, including the hiring of eight new corporate team members, the launching of the franchise in six new cities, and expansion into the United States. As provinces across Canada begin to move forward with reopening their economies, GetintheLoop looks to push the delayed initiatives ahead with a new business model, user experience, and market launch summary that has evolved to adapt to these unprecedented times.
“It’s important to be aware that a crisis like this presents both new hazards and new opportunities. You should look for the business opportunities that meet new or increased demand,” says Crowell about what prospective franchisees should know about getting started in franchising amidst the pandemic. “It’s also important to talk to existing franchisees to see how the business has handled the pandemic overall.”