Most retail stores have closed until further notice, and online platforms seem to be retail vendors’ only hope in these times of self-isolation. Nevertheless, at the same time, the world is currently facing the dawn of an economic crisis. The uncertainty that comes with these times of pandemic makes the consumer wary when following through a quick purchase.
At the same time, the risk of total closure and halt of these online stores hangs over the retailer. Victoria Secret, for example, closed all their e-commerce operations until March 31st. In this context, an article in Business of Fashion poses the question, “Is This Online Shopping's Moment to Shine?” Though the answer is not entirely conclusive, here’s some insight I believe might be a silver lining for online stores.
Supporting each other...
Help from Shopify
Tobi Lutke, founder, and CEO of Shopify, sent an email to all merchants sharing initiatives to help small entrepreneurs in the face of the current crisis.
- Increase Shopify Capital's reach. Shopify Capital is a loan offered to small businesses whose payments are variable with a percentage of sales.
- In-store Pick Up is now available for all retailers (which was previously not included with Shopify Basic, but now it is).
- Gift-cards are now available for all retailers (which was previously not included with Shopify Basic, but now it is).
In addition to this feature, they made a series of free webinars available, and they extended the trial period for new stores for up to 90 days.
Facebook announced that it would offer $100M in grants and credits for 30,000 small businesses in more than 30 countries. They have not yet opened the application for interested parties, but there is a website in which you can subscribe for program updates.
What else can I do?
For smaller brands, especially those that have an online store and sell their product in pop-ups or markets, the ideal thing to do is to use this time productively to improve their website and marketing channels.
Try out a new store theme, migrate from Mailchimp to another email platform, fill up Pinterest boards, are just some ideas of improvements smaller stores never have time to do.
Here are some more initiatives to be relevant while you sale during these weeks.