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?

Government schemes

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.

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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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?

Hackathons

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.

Industry analysis

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.

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. 

Post-crisis prognoses

We are starting to look at how the post-crisis landscape may look and what that means for business.

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

Tim Clayton

Tim Clayton, Senior Copywriter, has provided content and editorial services for some of the world's leading eCommerce platforms and software agencies. Previously of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Also a hobbyist author of unambitious fiction. | LinkedIn

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