With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic affecting businesses and individuals across the globe, an increasing number of companies are announcing initiatives to support online sellers through this crisis.
While this is by no means a complete list, this article does shine a light on some of the announcements, updates and offers from our partners across the eCommerce industry in response to COVID-19, as well as other service providers.
eCommerce Agencies: COVID-19 Responses and Community Support
Not yet selling online?
Full-service agency, 5874, are offering to help get your business set up online as quickly as possible, alongside BigCommerce’s 3-month free trial offer.
All they ask is that you donate £200 to the charity Let’s Feed Brum.
For more information on what this offer entails, along with details about how to contact them, visit 5874’s site here.
Amazon Growth Specialists, ACTIV8, is offering SEO analysis and optimisation services for 5 SKUs, completely free of charge.
In midst of the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, this offer is designed to help increase the exposure of your Amazon listings, helping you boost your sales.
Despite ACTIV8 being based in the UK, this offer is available to sellers across the globe. You should, however, note that it is available on a first-come, first-served basis and you will need to register your interest quickly to take advantage of the offer. Simply click the link here for further information.
Alongside BigCommerce’s 3-month trial offer, DeeperThanBlue is offering a low-cost, quick-start package to help retailers in the wake of COVID-19.
The Sheffield-based eCommerce consultancy is specifically offering three packages:
- Pack A: Not currently trading online
Designed for retailers not yet selling online, DeeperThanBlue will help you build an online store from an existing BigCommerce template. They will also enable payment checkout and collection/delivery functions, as well as training on how to best utilise your storefront. All they ask in return is for a small £250 donation to their chosen charity: Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.
- Pack B: Trading online in a small way
Already selling online in a small way, but your current eCommerce platform isn’t equipped to cope with the increasing demand?
For a fee of £2,500, as well as a donation to the same charity, DeeperThanBlue will offer the same service as in Pack A, but with additional transfer of branding from your existing store, SEO mapping and applicable redirects from your existing store and small customisations to a choice of existing templates.
- Pack C: Large Enterprise customers
For those of you needing a more bespoke solution to meet evolving customer demands, the company is offering an enterprise level package.
For information about any of these COVID-19 rescue eCommerce packages, visit their website here.
Multi-Channel Professional Service Providers, E-motive, are offering a free 30-minute “Ninjutsu” marketplace consultation.
During this consultation, you can expect to receive recommendations on how to improve the visibility of your marketplace listings and boost your sales.
To assist those affected by COVID-19, international eCommerce expansion service, InterCultural Elements (ICE), is offering more flexibility in pricing and agreement lengths.
For more information, you can contact them via their website here.
Whether you're seeing a downturn in sales or an increase in website activity, digital marketing agency, Pivotal , is offering a free 30 minute strategy review session to help you navigate this crisis.
While the decision to stop all marketing activity may be a natural reaction, it is certainly worth speaking to the team at Pivotal Digital to find out your options for protecting your current website visibility, ensuring your website remains stable, and/or making sense of the increased attention to drive performance now and in the future.
Marketplace growth partner, Rich Insight, have announced they will be offering Linnworks users an exclusive discount of 35% for their projects and service packages.
With decades of collective experience helping sellers trade successfully worldwide, it really is worth taking advantage of this offer if you're looking to:
- Improve and optimise your listings
- Launch on new marketplaces or grow your marketplace sales
- Increase your return on ad spend
- Maximise brand awareness
- Plan for profitability and scale
To redeem this 35% offer, which is available until Monday 19th April, simply email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject ‘Linnworks Offer’.
Visualsoft has developed some useful COVID resources, such as this guide to eCommerce in a changing climate which focuses on what to do with your marketing and the importance of keeping your website agile.
Sales Channels: COVID-19 Responses and Community Support
Amazon has created a $5 million Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund, in a bid to provide cash grants to small businesses in Seattle requiring financial assistance as a result of COVID-19.
For more information and guidance on how to apply, visit the dedicated page.
BigCommerce have committed to helping retailers worldwide, by offering support to eCommerce businesses affected by the coronavirus.
The eCommerce platform provider is offering 3 months free on all plans for new merchants, as well as zero transaction fees.
In addition to this, for small business retailers in Europe, BigCommerce is making it easier than ever to get set up online.
For a limited time only, they are offering to get you set up with a complete eCommerce site built by a trusted agency partner in as little as 24 hours, for just £200. They're also hooking you up with discounted PayPal rates to make transactions simple too.
In a bid to support its sellers across the globe, eBay have adjusted its seller performance standard evaluation from March 20 to June 20, 2020.
This means that your eBay Seller Performance will be preserved during this time and you won’t be penalised, even if you or your shipping provider are unable to fulfil orders as quickly as possible.
In addition to this, eBay are deferring most selling fee payments for 30 days, for registered business sellers. By offering more flexibility with payments at this time, this should help you with your cash flow.
As an eBay seller, you must submit a request before Saturday 11th April for help with your payments, further bookmarking this page and coming back to it three business days later to check the status. If the request is approved, 50% of the Covered Fees on your next invoice will be deferred until the next billing cycle, and the remaining 50% will be due on the subsequent billing cycle.
On March 31, 2020, eBay also announced that it will be refunding shop subscriptions for any retailer that is having to temporarily shut down their shop. You can find out more information on this in eBay's announcement.
Finally, if your business is having to temporarily close, it has been recommended that you activate holiday settings or vacation mode.
Facebook has committed to providing as much support as possible during the COVID-19 outbreak and one of the ways it’s doing this is by offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits.
This financial support will be made available for up to 300,000 small businesses, across more than 30 countries worldwide.
Applications are not yet open, but you can sign up for updates here.
In light of the current times, OnBuy has made a commitment to waive their normal monthly standard subscription fee to any seller that has been disrupted by Amazon's recent decision, for the next three months.
If you're considering taking advantage of this offer, then you can join OnBuy with the code 0B2020 to receive a 100% discount on Standard subscription fees for the following three months.
However, do keep in mind that new sellers will need to sign up and use the code by 1st May 2020.
On top of this, if as a new OnBuy seller you don't manage to make more than £500 in sales in a given month, the next month's subscription will be waived as well. This is part of OnBuy's Sales Guarantee.
To help its customers navigate their business during this crisis, Shopify have announced that they will be providing $200 million in small business funding.
While this is only currently available for eligible sellers in certain US states, they are working with governments worldwide to extend this to more countries.
The eCommerce platform provider is also extending its 14-day free trial to 90 days, giving new customers more time to move their retail store online, or build a new online store to support an unprecedented spike in sales.
Shopify has also released its email product, Shopify Email, to all its sellers and has made it free to use until October 1, 2020. The email functionality was showcased in November last year, with early access for a limited group of merchants and has now seen general release ahead of schedule. After the offer ends in October, the first 2,500 emails sent per month will be free and then $1 USD for every 1,000 emails sent.
For more information about Shopify Email, as well as the other actions being taken by Shopify during this pandemic, visit the site’s COVID-19 response hub.
Payment Gateway and Finance Providers: COVID-19 Responses and Community Support
To support its customers facing difficult financial circumstances in the wake of COVID-19, American Express are encouraging affected customers to contact them via its Financial Hardship page.
While support will be offered on a case-by-case basis, American Express may be able to lower your monthly payment, waive late payment fees, temporarily lower your interest rate, and prevent your account(s) from going past due.
Retail Bank Customers will have their fees waived on monthly service fees, as well as their penalties waived for early Certificate of Deposit (CD) withdrawal.
CitiBank has also announced that these same fees and penalties will be waived for its Retail Bank Small Business Customers, however these customers will also have their fees waived for remote deposit capture and will be able to access after hours and weekend support.
All further information can be found on CitiBank’s COVID-19 updates and resources page.
eCommerce accountancy, Elver E-commerce, are providing free assistance in applying for the Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which has been launched by the UK government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The scheme allows companies with a turnover up to £45 million per annum to borrow up to £5 million, with the first 12 months interest free. Loans of up to £250k are being offered unsecured, meaning funds should be accessible quickly.
Credit card processing provider, Square, are refunding all software subscription fees for the month of March for sellers using Square Appointments, Retail, Restaurants, Loyalty, Team Management, Payroll, Marketing or Square Online Store. This process will be managed entirely by Square – you won’t need to do anything.
The company has also waived its curbside pickup and delivery fees for three months.
Additional Business Service Providers: COVID-19 Responses and Community Support
In response the current pandemic, AT&T will be suspending the termination of wireless, home phone and broadband services when customers cannot pay their bills due to coronavirus disruptions.
It will also be providing free access to its public WiFi hotspots.
To help businesses stay connected in response to the coronavirus outbreak, Google are rolling out free access to its advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing feature to all G Suite customers globally.
This enterprise feature will be available at no additional cost until July 1st, 2020 and will allow for:
- Larger meetings (up to 250 participants per call).
- Live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain.
- The ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive.
To support its customers through unprecedented change, Lifesize has announced its decision to offer free, unlimited video conferencing service to all businesses across the globe, for the next six months.
With the T-Mobile network providing a critical connection to individuals and businesses across the US, extra steps are being taken by the company to ensure its network continues to perform and meet increased demand.
In addition to this, T-Mobile has announced that it will be providing customers with unlimited smartphone data for the next 60 days, as well as additional mobile hotspot data.
Verizon has announced that it will be waiving late fees and suspending service termination for those of its customers impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
New customers can sign up for eDesk, xSellco's AI-powered helpdesk, for free until September 2020.
This six-month offer has been introduced to help ease the customer support demand pressures that retailers are now facing as a result of this pandemic. More specifically, this cloud-based helpdesk integrates with online stores, email platforms, social media channels and all major marketplaces, allowing you to more easily manage your customer support queries across all your sales channels.
What's more, xSellco don't require credit card details or commitments, nor will there be any obligation for new customers to continue using the tool once the offer has ended.
COVID-19 Business Support and Resources
While we’ll attempt to keep this as up to date as possible, please do let us know if we’ve missed any. Simply drop us a message below.
To help you manage your business during this challenging time, we have also launched a dedicated COVID-19 portal which covers everything from government updates, to shipping courier statuses and offers from our partners and other third party eCommerce providers.