Part 3: how the ecommerce community can be heros in the Corona Virus crisis
Ecommerce merchants looking forward with Italy’s help
Quick update on numbers and activity
Italy just reported their records for the day and, finally, the growth in cases seems to be slowing down as predicted by the authorities. They have resorted to issuing hefty fines for people in full lockdown areas who are out without a valid reason.
Medical supplies are clearly a concern. However Italy’s 500-bed ICU being set up in the Milan Fair (more of a convention center - see Part 2) seems to be coming together.
Even those compliant are suffering greatly from isolation. While it’s too early to see that in the US, we will see more and more people having trouble coping as states and counties go into lockdown.
If sometimes not very cooperative with the authorities, the Italians are extremely resourceful. Choirs and exercise programs have been organized from facing balconies. We’re also seeing adaptability and a sense of community spring up.
Based on the Italian experience and news reports from the US I think there are a number of challenges we can help address as an ecommerce community.
- Fear and panic that leads to hoarding
- Maintaining social distancing
- Enforced quarantines
- Job insecurity
- Impact on small business
- Supply chain issues
- Increasing restrictions on travel
I also feel that we collectively have resources that can be brought to bear on the crisis. Some of the greatest leaders, innovators and pragmatic thinkers I know work in ecommerce. Merchants, developers and agencies are used to turning on a dime.
A list of some of our top community assets includes:
- Development muscle
- Web sites
- List of clients
- Knowledge on running ecommerce businesses
Now is the time for leaders to lead
Be a good boss
Ten days ago, Razoyo sent our people out to work from home. We knew it would be more difficult to serve some clients that way but had to protect each other. Fortunately, our team has proven to be extremely resilient and performed beyond our expectations.
With all your people working remotely and the general increase in anxiety, please:
- Keep your staff updated on your company’s situation. Be honest and transparent!
- Reach out to your more extroverted staff members. They are not going to be ok, especially if they live alone. They need to talk.
- Encourage employees to help each other and check in on each other.
Spread the word and the truth
One quick look at scenes from the beaches in Florida and you know not everyone understands. I was at Home Depot today getting some essential supplies and the employee working the self-checkout line (for what reason I have no idea) was getting right up next to shoppers checking out.
We need to help win the hearts and minds of those we know.
I recommend (and practice) the following:
- Add a modal on social distancing to your web site.
- Add messages on social distancing on all of your communications including your email footer.
- Promote social distancing on social media.
- Email ALL of your lists to promote news, social distancing and self-quarantine.
- User your influence with vendors, user groups and the community to amplify your efforts.
Help your community
Razoyo is currently working with ShipperHQ and others in a coalition of the willing on an initiative to help one of the hardest-hit communities: local small businesses. Working on the theory that many local businesses could deliver their products, service or food but lack the online presence to do so, we’re looking for ways to help them get online quickly.
This initiative may not be the right one for you. As a leader, take some time away from the stress of the situation and think whom you can help. What resources, talents and opportunities do you have? Apply them!
While we’re still in the organizing stage, if you would like to join us in our small business initiative which will be unbranded and promote only the help we can provide together, put your name in the hat!
Join the COVID SMB relief initiative
Some great players in the ecommerce space are joining hands to help support small merchants in this crisis.