We’ve been talking a lot about the unprecedented challenges arising from the coronavirus outbreak and the ensuing COVID-19 crisis. At Divante, we’ve become engaged in a number of initiatives over the last few weeks and we’ve seen just how many organizations are offering help to small businesses, both in general and in the eCommerce domain.
We’ve decided to gather together and regularly update a list of resources for any business that is looking for a way through these tough times.
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Supporting retail sales amid the COVID-19 outbreak
How can I get help for my business during the coronavirus crisis?
Whatever your business domain, check what governments are offering right now to help with operations. In the UK, for example, the government is offering grants to businesses as well as loans with favorable interest rates and terms. Check what your country is doing to protect businesses.
Major eCommerce platform offers
eCommerce will not save every business, but taking sales online is offering a lifeline to many retailers, as discussed in our previous blog. Some of the major platforms are offering significant opportunities and resources for retailers who are looking to establish an online presence.
- Magento: Adobe has committed to providing impacted businesses with support and resources, with a range of programs on offer. They are offering 3 months of Magento Commerce and Marketo Engage for free; Adobe Customer solutions commit to get businesses up and running fast with 2-week implementations, including cloud infrastructure; everyone gets 3 months of Magento and Marketo University training for free. There are also additional resources for small businesses.
- Shopify is extending its free trial from 14 days to 90 days, as well as making physical and digital gift cards available on all new and existing Shopify plans. The company is trying to extend Shopify Capital loans beyond the US and has created a forum for business advice related to the crisis.
- BigCommerce has produced a free guide for businesses looking for advice on how to handle the implications of the COVID-19 situation.
- Shopware is running a hackathon to create an interactive portal for merchants and customers. At first, it will be purely for information about services, but shortly after that, eCommerce functionality will be added.
Other eCommerce resources and initiatives
There are a number of schemes and programs for eCommerce businesses. Whether you are taking retails online for the first time, looking to extend features, or trying to promote your store, there are some interesting offers.
- Offline2On is creating a network of eCommerce agencies giving help to businesses who want to build their online presence or improve their current store in reaction to the crisis.
- Facebook has promised up to $100 M USD, spread across up to 30,000 eligible small businesses, in cash grants and ad credits. Businesses can find out more and get updates at the link above as applications for grants become available.
- Customized solutions from Alibaba Cloud will help eCommerce and retailers solutions to ensure business continuity which is impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
- Pushnami is offering free push notifications for the next 6 months.
- Moz SEO Acadamy announced that they will be helping marketers save money by offering free training until 31 May through the discount code ‘wegotthis’
- Bold Upsell, the app that helps businesses create upsell and cross-sell offers that can increase average order value, is free for 3 months.
- Out of the Sandbox offers a lot of insight and actionable tips for business in this blog post, as well as 25% off Flex and Turbo themes to help get a business online or upgrade its theme.
- Marketing expert Lily Ray has started an initiative connecting businesses affected by the coronavirus with experienced digital marketers offering free consulting.
- Privy has opened a virtual marketplace where small businesses affected by the coronavirus can submit their stores, which are then shared with Privy customers and subscribers to help give businesses more reach.
- This article from insideretail.com.au lists various sources of help, information, and inspiration. It’s mainly for Australian retailers but there are a number of international opportunities and plenty of food for thought among the projects listed.
- Mailchimp is giving 10 M USD worth of free service to existing customers. Users need to apply before 30 April to be eligible for 3 months of free usage of the marketing platform.
- All business expenditure is an opportunity to save money with the right support, including utilities costs. EnergyBot have created a resource guide that allows business owners to find the best offers and aid programs from energy providers.
How can I help others?
If you want to help businesses, governments or NGOs at this time, but don’t know where to start, one good way is to join a Hackathon. There are dozens of initiatives around the world pulling communities of developers and non-devs together to find solutions to current problems and for building lasting infrastructure for the future. Just google ‘coronavirus hackathon’ and explore what’s out there.
In one recent edition aimed at Estonia, 1,000 participants from 20 countries, among other solutions, created a chatbot specially designed to help small businesses who need to solve their customer contact issues right now.
One slightly different upcoming Hackathon is taking place on 18-19 April and will take a less technical approach, gathering people together from every walk of life to consider what the economy might look like after the virus and how businesses and societies can adapt.
How are we helping businesses during the coronavirus crisis?
At Divante, as an eCommerce company, we know that our business may be negatively affected in the short term, but that we are in a much stronger position than most others. We have always believed that eCommerce is a positive influence and has the ability to make a better world and this crisis has proven that to be true. As a company with our roots in the open-source, we put community above all else. We are therefore using our position to help as many businesses as we can.
Knowledge is power. We have been taking a look, industry by industry, at how businesses are affected and offering advice and tips for how eCommerce and online activities can help with business continuity or even growth.
- What eCommerce managers should know in the time of coronavirus
- FMCG and supermarkets. Coping with the demands of the crisis
- How fashion retailers can offset the loss of in-store sales
- The pharmacy industry now and in the future
- Small businesses and the music industry. Reacting to the disruption.
Free resources for business
Following on from our industry analyses, we have created free presentations that give businesses simple, actionable information on how to quickly build an online presence and begin trading.
We are starting to look at how the post-crisis landscape may look and what that means for business.
- An article about 4 possible scenarios for eCommerce based on different future behavior of the virus.
- Analysis of how selected industries will rebound from the crisis and what to do in future to thrive.
Tech to the Rescue
We’re very proud to have initiated a non-profit program that has become something much greater than ourselves. Tech to the Rescue started as a loose idea that IT companies might give free time to NGOs to help them cope with the strains of the crisis. We put a call out to other firms and build a website. Within two weeks, over 150 companies from all around the world had answered the call and are building solutions for NGOs to help them at this unique time.
If you are an NGO in need of help or a business that can offer your services for free, check out the Tech to the Rescue website: www.techtotherescue.org