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E-commerce & COVID-19: 7 Special Promotions To Help Small Businesses Survive

As if fighting off the coronavirus was not enough, there is much uncertainty about the future of the markets during this pandemic. However, many companies understand this and are willing to offer discounts, relief, and assistance to businesses and individuals who qualify.

If you’ve been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, take a look to see if you qualify for any forms of business-related aid from these key players in tech during these uncertain times. As an example, we have put together a list of 7 best promotions that small businesses can make use of!

1. Google

Google recently announced that some US-based listings on Google Shopping are eligible to appear in search results for no-cost.

If you are already set-up with Merchant Center and Shopping ads, you are likely already eligible to show the products in these unpaid results, and no further action is necessary.

To see if you qualify for these listings, navigate to your Google Shopping dashboard, select “Growth” and then “Manage Programs”. Once there, find the “surfaces across Google” program card. Activating this will allow you to add products to your product feed, enabling you to showcase even more products in these no-cost placements.

In addition to these free listings, Google is offering free digital skills training and extended trials of services like Hootsuite, HubSpot, Square, and BigCommerce.

2. Facebook

Like Google, Facebook has changed some of its policies as well, many involving small business loans and restaurant/food-service assistance.

If you’re able to secure funds from the Facebook Small Business Grants Programme, they can help keep your workforce paid, help with rent and operating costs, connect with customers, and support the community. In order to qualify for the grant, your business must have: 2 - 50 employees, 1 year of operation, experienced challenges due to COVID, and a location near Facebook HQ.

In order to find out if your business is eligible, visit this link and navigate to the “How do I apply?” section. You will be taken to a drop-down list of countries, and can see if you qualify.

Additionally, Facebook is introducing a digital gift-card experience for users’ favorite local restaurants and businesses. Already operating in the US (with plans for expansion), businesses can promote their gift cards on Facebook by signing up with one of Facebook’s featured partners. To see if your country qualifies, get started today.

Businesses can also create official fundraisers to help mitigate the impact that the coronavirus has had on their business, natively in the platform here.

3. Instagram

Similar to Facebook, Instagram is offering gift cards in order to make it even easier to support small businesses while the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing. These gift cards will allow people to order food with stickers that take them to your partner’s website.

Browse the promotion and see featured partners in your country here. In order to really benefit from the promotion, add the “Gift Cards” button to your Instagram profile, and create engaging story content in order to hook your audience into purchasing your goods.

4. Amazon

In this day and age, more than half of everything sold on Amazon stores comes from small-to-medium sized businesses. In order to help small businesses, Amazon has compiled many resources and released features previously unavailable to small businesses.

For example: Amazon has made their Amazon Business accounts free, and has made Business Prime free for 30 days. Moreover, Amazon is opening up Chime, their meeting and video-conferencing software, their secure sharing/collaboration document platform, WorkDocs, and their virtual-machine software, WorkSpaces, to the public for free until June 30, 2020.

Additionally, Amazon has made many of their selling tutorials and online assistance documentation available to the public. From building infrastructure in the cloud to live-streaming, there is a solution for every small business during this pandemic.

Amazon is always changing and reacting to the current crisis, so be sure to follow their resources blog to stay updated.

5. MailChimp

Always in contact with your customers? Until June 30, 2020, MailChimp is offering free Standard accounts to eligible groups sending critical public health information about COVID‑19.

If you think your organization is eligible for a free Standard Mailchimp account, contact MailChimp support at covidassistance@mailchimp.com to get started.

6. PayPal

If you take transactions online, chances are you have used PayPal. If you are looking into an alternative to PayPal, you might want to wait another month.

PayPal is waiving fees to instantly withdraw money from a PayPal business account to a bank account, Mastercard® Debit or Visa® Debit card through May 31, 2020.

Moreover, PayPal has extended the customer dispute window from 10 to 20 days, until May 31, 2020, giving you more time to handle sensitive customer communications.

7. Zoho

Business-related customer-service app provider Zoho is allowing companies to use their products for free during the coronavirus pandemic. The recently released Small Business Emergency Assistance Program will help 20,000 Zoho clients, enabling them free access to Zoho’s customer-service, marketing, and productivity apps for the next three months.

To help small businesses, Zoho is also releasing their Remotely software, aiding in the transition to help people work from home. Since rolling the program out, Zoho has seen over 5,000 new clients apply for the software suite.

Our current reality as we know it might be flipped on its head, but there are over 40+ tech companies ready and willing to step in and assist small businesses with anything they may need. From loans and grants to free ads, there is no telling what you might qualify for. If you’ve taken the initiative to start selling online: congratulations! Now get out there and see what assistance you can secure to keep your business growing.