In a fairly short amount of time, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) has had a major impact on numerous industries and fields. This includes eCommerce and retail. For instance, many Shopify merchants are understandably concerned about how their shops will fare throughout this pandemic.
Fortunately, Shopify and its partners are taking steps to help merchants (and Shopify’s employees) during this situation. A number of apps can also help merchants weather the storm. If you’re a Shopify merchant worried about the coronavirus’ impact, consider these essential points during these times:
How is Shopify Helping Merchants During COVID-19?
Again, Shopify is assisting merchants whose shops may be affected by the pandemic. The following are key ways the company is doing so:
Gift Cards for Everyone
Gift cards are now available to every store including the ones on the Shopify Basic plan. Merchants can use gift cards to improve cash flow and make it through these difficult times.
We have put together a guide explaining 4 tips on how to use gift cards and get more venue stability.
Offering Features Designed for Social Distancing
According to Shopify’s official page about the COVID-19, Shopify is helping merchants continue to reach customers in the age of social distancing by allowing them to offer a local delivery option that only customers in the relevant zone can see. For retailers who use Shopify’s POS system at their brick-and-mortar shops, the company is offering in-store and curbside pickup for orders placed online.
Staying afloat when people aren’t spending as much money can be difficult for all retailers. That’s why Shopify wants merchants to know about Shopify Capital. Through this program, eligible merchants can take out loans to help them continue to develop their businesses. When revenue isn’t coming in at the same rate as it used to, that can be tremendously helpful.
Right now it is only available for businesses in the United Kingdom and the United States but they are trying to make it available in other countries.
Extended Free Trials to 90 Days
UPDATE: Since June 1, 2020, the 90-day free trial period is no longer available. The standard 14-day free trial is currently the only option. Learn more about the Shopify free trial.
Many brick-and-mortar retailers who use Shopify’s POS have had to quickly shift to an eCommerce model somewhat unexpectedly. To facilitate the transition, Shopify is offering a 90-day free trial to new customers. Current customers who’ve already signed up for the 14-day free trial can extend to the 90-day trial.
Virtual meetups allow Shopify partners to connect on a regular basis, having the kinds of discussions they might have otherwise had in person prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
In difficult times, it’s important for merchants to support one another by sharing tips and valuable information. Thus, during Shopify’s virtual events, community members can share their most helpful advice with one another. Shopify merchants seeking advice can also participate in the community forum.
Providing Educational Resources
It’s important to understand that the COVID-19 pandemic is still developing. It’s not yet clear precisely how it will affect Shopify merchants in the long run, nor is it entirely clear what merchants can do to remain successful given the current situation.
Shopify is providing merchants with access to additional educational resources. They are continually updating their Web Design and Development blog and have collected information about government assistance programs that are available for merchants around the world.
How Are Shopify Partners Helping Merchants?
Shopify isn’t helping merchants by itself. Its partners are also contributing in these essential ways:
Free Subscription Apps to Help Shopify Merchants During COVID-19
Several Shopify apps are particularly helpful for merchants during these difficult times. Specific examples to consider using include:
It’s always important for Shopify merchants to maximize their sales. However, given the current situation, that’s more important than ever.
The upsell feature suggests premium items similar to those a customer already has in their cart. The cross-sell function recommends complementary items that may interest a customer. Best of all, the subscription is free for three months if a merchant has been impacted by the coronavirus.
Marketplace in a Box
Again, many brick-and-mortar Shopify merchants are switching to an eCommerce model relatively quickly. Marketplace in a Box helps them do so more efficiently by simplifying and automating certain marketplace functions for both merchants and vendors.
The app simplifies such features and functions as customizing marketplace design, adding products, adding vendors, setting marketplace commission and much more.
Its owner has also extended the free trial period to 90 days in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another useful app for Shopify merchants suddenly making the transition to eCommerce is Shopney.
Along with simplifying the process of converting a Shopify store to an app, Shopney also provides a fantastic UI. This ensures the app will operate smoothly and efficiently when customers access it. Shopney also offers in-app chat and supports all payment gateways.
Shopney is offering a 30-Day Free Trial of to those facing this difficult coronavirus situation.
It’s going to be very important for Shopify merchants to focus on customer retention with their marketing efforts during the coronavirus pandemic. While attracting new customers is always a crucial goal as well, given the current circumstances, it’s smarter to focus on maintaining a relationship with existing customers right now and building customer loyalty.
Marsello provides the opportunity for merchants to design a stunning branded rewards program.
Its reward system is point-based that grants customer rewards for referrals, purchase and on-site actions.
In fact, Marsello offers an entire suite of marketing tools, from email marketing, SMS, automation, VIP programs and integrations all designed to help merchants increase retention rates and remain in contact with their customer base.
Marsello is helping merchants during the coronavirus by offering 50% Off Marsello Pro for 6 months.
Again, community plays a major role in Shopify’s business model. That’s why partners active in the community are using their own platforms to share stories about merchants affected by the coronavirus pandemic. For example, Jordan, co-founder of Up At Five, is offering free video courses about Shopify.
They ask in return for a portion of the cost of the course to be donated by purchasing a gift certificate to a small business or to a local charity. This helps to draw attention to businesses that may be struggling right now.
Additionally, some Shopify partners, such as app developer Privy launched ShopSmallEcomm.com to support small eCommerce brands. It is a marketplace that helps small eCommerce businesses connect with customers by sharing their stores.
As of 03/30/2020, it has over 2,300 merchants.
How is Shopify Helping its Employees?
The COVID-19 hasn’t merely affected Shopify merchants. The company’s employees have also felt the pandemic’s effects. Fortunately, Shopify is also helping them.
Like many other companies, Shopify’s employees are now working from home. Of course, to work from home effectively, an employee needs some form of a home office. Shopify is helping by providing employees with $1000 each, which they may use to furnish their home offices as they see fit. The money comes in the form of a stipend.
It’s worth noting that the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t necessarily need to have an entirely negative impact on Shopify businesses. For example, according to recent research from Ipsos MORI, in Italy, 31% of consumers say they’re turning to eCommerce retailers to a greater degree when making purchases. That number is 57% in Vietnam, 55% in India, and 27% in Russia. While some brick-and-mortar Shopify merchants have had to transition to an eCommerce model, those who’ve already established eCommerce shops may actually see an increase in sales over the long run.
None of that is to suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic is beneficial in any way. In an ideal world, this situation would have never developed. However, that’s unfortunately not something anyone can change. All anyone can do is adapt. As these points make clear, Shopify, its partners, and certain apps are all making that process much easier.