No sort of precautionary strategies would have prepared our businesses for something as confining as the COVID-19 pandemic. It does not occur commonly to brace our business strategies and campaigns for a day when any sort of physical interaction is prohibited. Nevertheless, now we know better. To each their own, the pandemic has rained some major difficulties on corporations. Weathering the economic fallout is going to be hard for most of us, only harder for small businesses that may have to alter their routine operations drastically. All in all, the pandemic and its consequent lock down have disrupted businesses across all sectors around the globe.
Google states that people from all around the world are actively searching for help during the pandemic, one of the top searches being ‘how to help businesses’. That does not come off as a surprise since many businesses are dealing with the pandemic first hand. For a conventional small business, it is almost impossible to imagine functioning during the outbreak without digital aids.
To help those affected adversely, many companies are offering tools and services during the outbreak. These tools and services may help you and your organization stay afloat during such testing times. Read on to find what these tools are and how will they be of assistance to your corporation.
The Google Initiative
In the above-said perspective, Google is releasing a series of updates and tools that would help local businesses to adapt to the pandemic. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Google has been supporting businesses by helping them communicate their revised operating hours, temporary closures, changed locations, etc. Now they are rolling out a series of digital aids to further help organizations to cope up with the new circumstances. With these, Google aims to allow small businesses to support themselves to some extent. These services include boosted sales of gift cards, fundraising initiatives, and marketing their virtual services, etc.
Avoid hefty commissions
Now, restaurants will also be able to mention their preferred delivery partner. This comes as a relief for many since many third-party delivery apps charge much more commission than the others. While Google cannot help restaurants avoid these commissions, it would help them to actively communicate which delivery app they would prefer their customers to use. Thus, this would help businesses to ensure more savings or profit by promoting a delivery partner with better terms.
Customers will be able to donate to their favorite businesses directly from Google Search. This feature will be available in more markets now all over the globe. To make this possible, Google has partnered with PayPal and GoFundMe for those who opt in to use this feature. Google started this feature launching in 6 countries, namely US, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Ireland, and Australia. Now, including Italy, Spain, Japan, etc., 18 more countries will gain the updated feature.
Gift cards to the rescue
While people might not be able to engage with your businesses first hand during the COVID-19 pandemic, they might appreciate an offer or a good deal at your services. Since people are now socially distant, gift cards prove to be one of the most popular means to offer care and affection through presents. Google is thus, updating one of its recently launched products, which will allow businesses to sell gift cards to support themselves during government shutdowns. It will also help them to cope up with slower customer traffic once they have re-opened. These links will be added to their business profiles on Google, which can be easily accessed by customers when they search for their services online.
Get your tags
The shutdown has been harsh on the in-person businesses, responding to which businesses are trying to shift gears. Restaurants are changing into cloud-kitchens, and in-person activities like fitness, dance, etc. are being streamed online. So, with the latest updates from Google, such businesses will be able to add attributes such as “online appointments”, “online classes”, “online estimates”, etc. to their Google profiles. This tool will be available only to those businesses that are verified on Google’s My Business and will be visible on their Google Search Profiles as well as on Google Maps.
Create a digital storefront
Apart from Google, there are a few platforms that help small businesses create digital storefronts. An eminent example would be SEMrush, offering free access to its lead generation and social media products in the light of the pandemic. Another one would be GoDaddy, who launched Websites + Marketing Free, a free tool package to build a website.
So where does this lead to now? Well, the ability and impact of Google to connect businesses and customers have always been size-able. But, now, especially in the light of the corona virus outbreak, these tools come in very handy to those who need them the most. While big economies like the USA see the permanent shutdown of more than 100,000 small businesses since the pandemic escalated in March, we wonder what our position would be in the conundrum. Digital aids were quite prominent already for businesses. But, now in the light of current situations, they come even further to the forefront in terms of how small businesses look to currently survive and operate.