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April 8, 2020

Support Initiatives for Merchants: COVID-19 Responses

We’re in a very strange period in our lifetimes, a period that hopefully none of us will ever have to go through again. The COVID-19 crisis has impacted everyone in one way or another. Whether you’re a business owner that’s had to shut your doors to a parent who has had to balance their work with homeschooling their children.

Amongst all the bleakness that continues to dominate our TV screens and social media, there are many positive stories out there which deserve the air time. Stories that highlight how supportive the ecommerce industry is – people who are playing their part to make this difficult period a little less painful for the businesses out there trading.

If you are a business owner looking for help with your digital platform, there is no better time to reach out and ask for assistance. We have seen such generosity from our technology partners who are helping businesses of all sizes cope with these incomprehensible and unimaginable circumstances.

Below is a summary of all the current initiatives available to keep you trading online during these difficult times.

Re-Platform Your Digital Commerce

All major eCommerce platform providers are helping to get businesses up and running and trading digitally. By getting online, customers are able to access your products – it is a lifeline for your business.

BigCommerce is offering 3 months free on all their plans for new customers. This cost-free period will give you a grace period to stabilise and establish your digital presence online. You can also help finance your build cost through PayPal’s Working Capital program.

Magento is also offering 3 months free on their Commerce plan as well as free access to their Magento U’s on-demand training until the 30th June 2020. Magento has also partnered with PayPal to offer a Magento Migration Loan to get you the cash you need to start the process.

Shopify has reacted to the current situation by making gift cards available for all plans and all customers to lightened the burden on your cash flow. They have also extended their 14-day trial on their basic, Shopify and Advanced plans to 90 days. Like Magento and BigCommerce, Shopify Capital is now available in the UK which offers cash advances and loans to eligible customers.

Shopware is offering 3 months free on their Shopware 6 Professional Edition product. As well as this, Shopware is also working on a project called Project Downtown which is aimed at giving merchants a local marketplace to sell their products. This is still being developed at the time of writing but check out their blog posts here.

Get Creative With Your Content

Styla the content experience engine, is offering 3 months free subscription to their front end experience platform to help businesses create content faster. There is no invoicing until go live, with full platform access, on-boarding and training included – plus a 50% discount on setup fees. So if you’re on BigCommerce, Magento or Shopware and are interested in creating high-quality content without the need for complex development, reach out to the team. We have also created this handy blog with Styla on resourceful ways to use content on your new website.

Like Styla, Zmags is also looking to help merchants who are needing to create content quickly and at scale. They are offering complimentary access to their ‘Creator’ platform which helps teams build rich content without having to rely on IT/development resources in the short term. Given that many businesses are making cutbacks on staffing, this could be of huge benefit to individuals who have been left to run the fort.

Get Personal With Your Customers

Pure Clarity, the personalisation and product recommendation platform are offering all new customers a 3 month free trial of their solution with no ongoing commitment required after that period. If you’re looking to automate the product recommendation process or want to deliver your customers a more personalised experience, just sign up before the 30th April to take advantage of this opportunity. Again, a great one if staff numbers are light.

Search For New Opportunities

AI-powered search provider, Klevu is offering 20% off their standard pricing to help merchants get up and running with enhanced site search. This offer is only available through their partners currently so get in touch if you want to give your on-site search a boost and we can arrange this for you.

Making Checkout Easy helps companies around the world accept more payments through one integration. They are offering 3 months of free processing fees (IC++0.00%) for new merchants signed up through their partner network until June 30th. This will reduce costs when processing payments online in the immediate short term. In addition, they are able to rapidly activate Alternative & Local payment methods to ensure merchants are realising opportunities for sales in existing and new markets with expertise across 10 international markets. Please get in touch with us at Space 48 for an introduction to

Keep Cashflow Flowing

PayPal knows that digital payments have become a lifeline for businesses and they adopt online solutions. As such, PayPal is adjusting their digital payment solution based on business conditions and needs. This flexibility will give merchants more financial stability as cashflow is a pressing issue at this uncertain time. If you are a PayPal or iZettle business and are feeling unusual pressure on your cash flow, our PayPal business financing solutions or iZettle Advance may be able to help.

Communication Is Key

Now more than ever, it’s important to keep the communication channels open with your customers and allow them to interact with you in the ways they find most comfortable. DotDigital is offering up to 10 free agents access to their new live chat platform. If you’re already a customer of DotDigital, this is a great way to enable your remote workers to offer support to your customers. Keeping in regular communication with your employees is also crucial during these times. In response, DotDigital is also offering a free child account (with up to 10,000 sends) so you can keep your team up to date with what’s happening in your business.

Gorgias, helpdesk solution designed for Shopify and Magento, combines all support channels (from email, social media, live chat & more) with automation capabilities. If you’ve been faced with a drop in sales from your online store, Gorgias will give you 3-6 months of access to their platform for free.

Time To Train & Develop

A number of our partners have put together a wealth of resources to help you during this period. Now is the time to learn and develop your knowledge so that by the time we come out of the other side of this situation, you and your business will be stronger. Here’s some of the great content our partners have been working on for you:

Magento is offering free training both through their Marketo and Magento U On-Demand Training programs. These are definitely resources you should check out if you’re a retailer or marketeer, they are available free until the 30th June.

Ometria has created a microsite to support the retail marketing community during uncertain times. The page includes podcasts, articles, ebooks, webinars and more. Perhaps the best thing about this resource page for me is the Pinterest board, with examples of how brands across different verticals have responded to COVID-19 in their comms.

Nosto has added some great resources on their Blog, including a video with some tips on how to work from home effectively alongside a on some great eCommerce tactics to use during these uncertain times.

Finally, Klaviyo has a daily survey running to track how businesses are being affected by COVID-19, to take part and get some great insights back, you can take part here.

This is a live document. As more and more businesses provide offers and discounts, we’ll be adding them to this blog. Please get in touch with [email protected] if you are aware of an offering that can benefit merchants.

For more information on government support and key information on COVID-19, please visit the official website.