If you’re like us, you’ve watched the world shift retail online with a wistful ambivalence. From wealthy but conservative Switzerland, we look over the metaphorical walls of import taxes and delivery restrictions at countries like France and UK with their huge variety of options, 2-day shipping, and generous return policies with envy. We have the resources but not the means.

And yet, we told ourselves that in the physical world of retail, local life and human interaction thrive. We accepted our exclusion and focused instead on the benefits of knowing our shopkeepers, pharmacists, and cashiers.

How and why so many Swiss businesses have resisted a digital transformation is a question might as well stop trying to answer. Because the truth is now, in the age of coronavirus, they may no longer have a choice.

Getting your products and services online and rethinking your business model to better serve a digital customer has become a matter of survival.

Life must go on. The economy MUST go on. We need to shop to keep money flowing through our system, but we cannot go into stores until at least the end of April. And who knows how long the psychological impacts of social distancing will impact consumption habits?

Below you’ll find a list of the lucky retailers who got ahead of this problem and already have fully functioning online businesses. It may feel like life has come to a standstill, but it doesn’t have to. Thanks to these companies, we’re going to continue decorating our apartments, refreshing our wardrobes, and entertaining our kids from the comfort of our yoga pants.

We hope – for small businesses’ sake – that this list can grow in the coming weeks.

Have we missed a favorite site of yours? Please leave us a note in the comments, and we’ll update the post.

Furniture and Home Goods

Women’s Fashion

Men’s Fashion

Baby and Children’s Fashion

Toys

Books

Garden and Balcony

Health and Wellness

For Everything

Full disclosure: some of these are affiliate links which means that if you make a purchase, a percentage comes to The Lausanne Guide. As a small business, we rely on sources of income like this to keep our site running.

6 Comments

  1. For gardeners , even just on the balcony (with such a nice weather … ), I also think about another option: a Valais based family business called Zollinger.bio.

  2. Thank you for this!! As someone who commutes from Lausanne to Geneva and works 50+ hour weeks — I am an avid online shopper (its a great use of my train time!). I am so excited to have more small businesses online especially during this difficult time when in person contact just isn’t possible or safe. Looking forward to the day when the big guys aren’t our only choices for clothes, furniture / decor or food deliveries.

    • We absolutely agree! For many of us the demands of jobs and commutes make it impossible to do our shopping in boutiques -even if we love supporting local businesses. We’d love to see more shops make the digital transformation as well!

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