In the face of COVID-19, businesses are scaling back operations and pivoting business models in an attempt to limit in-person interactions. While these measures are absolutely necessary, they severely impact small and independent businesses around the world.
That’s why the recent response from the Shopify Partner community is a bright spot in an otherwise challenging time.
Over the past few days, we’ve seen dozens of Shopify Partners lend a (virtual) hand to not only their clients and users, but to any merchant, business owner, and partner who is in need of some help.
In fact, there are so many examples of partners offering help to their wider communities, both online and in real life, that we've been adding examples to this article up until the very last minute.
We hope these stories inspire you and brighten up your day a little bit, as they have for us. We’ve also included a section on how Shopify is supporting partners and merchants during this time.
COVID-19 Response for Shopify Partners
Solidarity and community bring us together. Learn how you can stay connected to the Shopify Partner ecosystem, adjust to these complicated times, and help your clients and users along the way.Read more
Shopify Partners supporting the ecosystem
It’s heartwarming to see how Shopify Partners have offered, without hesitation, help to entrepreneurs of all stripes and in so many different ways. Below, we look at some examples of how partners are pivoting to respond to our current times.
The support of a community goes a long way in difficult times. We’ve always known that the community is strong at Shopify, but partners have further proven this by jumping in to assist in whatever ways they can.
One example is Kurt Elster, founder of Shopify consultancy Ethercycle, who is helping amplify ecommerce brands by sharing their stories via Ethercycle’s network and newsletter.
We need to support each other any way we can right now.— Kurt Elster 🛒 (@kurtinc) March 14, 2020
To support Shopify merchants, we're going to share your stores on social media and in our newsletters regularly through the coming months.
To be considered, submit your store 👇https://t.co/rqC6F5sfWr
Virtual meetups are also popping up as partners figure out how to keep in contact with their peers in a time of social distancing.
One example is the partner-run initiative, Women in Shopify Virtual Happy Hour, open to all women involved in the commerce industry and put together in collaboration by Alli Burg from Lucid, Deb Hopkins from Causeway305, and Kelly Vaughn from The Taproom Agency. The happy hour is being hosted via Zoom on Wednesday, March 25th at 6:00PM EST. Registration is via their landing page.App developer Privy is helping buyers connect with small businesses by sharing their recommendations and favorite products. Founder Ben Jabbawy shared businesses that his family is relying on during this time.
We want to support small ecommerce brands now more than ever.— Privy (@privy) March 17, 2020
Tell us what you need and we'll do our best to point you in the right direction ❤️ https://t.co/Wb0tgw8EXk
Additionally, Privy announced it will launch a marketplace for small ecommerce brands next week to help make it easier for buyers to support independent online businesses.
Shopify app developers Inventory Planner are also supporting small and medium sized businesses by sharing advice specifically around cash flow to help merchants prepare for any slowdowns.
We're here to help SMBs during these uncertain times. Let us know what questions you have about managing inventory, forecasting customer demand, or ordering from suppliers. Cash flow is always top of mind and never more than now. Here are some tips.— Inventory Planner (@inventory_plan) March 17, 2020
Partners are also making an effort to gather and share relevant data with other partners.
Shopify app developer and email marketing platform Klaviyo is launching a daily survey to collect feedback on what ecommerce brands are seeing in the reality of COVID-19. They’re sharing their learnings every morning at 9:00AM EST on their Twitter. The information being shared there could be good context to share with your own clients and users.
We're doing a daily survey of what ecommerce businesses are seeing. Go to https://t.co/5AU7rBfjz9 to fill it out and get the full results.— Klaviyo (@klaviyo) March 18, 2020
We'll share the top 3 insights every day live at 9:30a EST.
Tell everyone. Tune in. Let's help each other.https://t.co/rD5Z07cgKn
Additionally, Bold Commerce, a Shopify app development agency, is collecting all offers of help from Shopify Partners and sharing with their wider user-base. Their co-founder Jason Myers posted a call to action in the Shopify Partners Facebook group.
In times like these, seeing Shopify Partners of all kinds come together to weather unprecedented circumstances is nothing short of incredible.
Shopify Partners are also stepping forward with educational resources to help equip entrepreneurs—including partners and merchants—with the insights they need to find long term success.
One of these partners is Jordan Deutsch, co-founder of digital studio Up at Five. Up at Five creates Shopify development tutorials at Code Shopify, and are currently offering their courses for free.
with a lot of us practicing social distancing and self-quarantine we wanted to put out our video courses for free. For us, learning something new can provide a bit of respite from a racing mind. If this is true for you too, please dive in!https://t.co/cjAvXRxwEq— Jordan Deutsch (@jrdnndtsch) March 16, 2020
These courses are designed for those who are already familiar with coding, and who want to learn how to jump into Shopify app development or theme development.
In lieu of a fee, Up at Five is asking those who can to donate to a local charity or purchase a gift certificate from a small business. This educational content can support partners looking to expand their offering to clients, or help folks who are out of work get more familiar with Shopify.
Shopify agency Blend Commerce is also offering education, in the form of a guide on how merchants can navigate COVID-19.
With guidance on marketing, functionality, and more, this resource will help existing merchants prepare for what’s to come.
3. Consultations and advice
Now more than ever, entrepreneurs are looking for guidance from experienced ecommerce experts on how to navigate uncertain times. This is a need Shopify Partners are uniquely positioned to respond to.
Rhian Beutler, COO and co-founder of Shopify agency Venntov, is doing just that by offering SEO and business strategy consultations.
Hi!— Rhian Beutler (@rhiankatie) March 17, 2020
I want to help our Shopify community.
So, I will be offering free consulting for both SEO and Business strategy 3 days a week for 3 hours a day. I have been a @ShopifyPartners for 6 years. https://t.co/Cp4bMVZJXq
Shopify design studio Up Later Than You is also offering consultation services, specifically with email subject lines. As merchants double down on reengaging existing customers and encouraging customer loyalty, crafting an effective subject line can help them stand out in crowded inboxes.
💌 Hey yo @Shopify merchants. No doubt that you’ll be upping your e-mail marketing activity over the coming weeks. We want to help! DM us your email subject lines with a little context and we’ll suggest alternatives to increase your open rate.— Up Later Than You (@uplaterthanyou) March 17, 2020
4. Store setup
For many entrepreneurs around the world, circumstances are forcing them to rethink their business plans. Many retail businesses will consider moving more of their business online as storefronts shut their physical doors, and many others, such as restaurants and bars, will start to pivot and reimagine their business models altogether.
Kelly Vaughn, founder of Shopify agency The Taproom Agency, is offering to help brick and mortar stores get up and running on Shopify—even if all they can sell at this time is gift cards, as is the case for many food establishments.
Brick+mortar businesses are suffering due to social distancing, resulting in decreased sales.— Kelly Vaughn 🐞 (@kvlly) March 17, 2020
Store owners, I'll help you get set up on @Shopify at no cost (just pay Shopify fees) so you can begin selling online, even if it's just selling gift cards.
Support for partners and merchants
As the situation continues to evolve, we’ll be coming out with more partner resources, updated tools, and guides. We ask that partners continue to monitor the developer changelog and the Web Design and Development Blog in the coming weeks to keep up to date.
It’s important to note that the API version removal that was scheduled for April 1, 2020 will now be postponed to July 1, 2020 due to COVID-19. Learn more by reading our blog post on the topic.
At this time, we’re also collecting government assistance programs around the world. These programs may apply to your clients, or to your own business. We’ll continue updating this as more measures are announced. Shopify has also launched a page that highlights the steps we’re taking to support Shopify merchants during COVID-19. This hub will be continuously updated, and is a good resource to share with your users and clients.
We’ve included a few content selections from Shopify’s partner and ecommerce blogs that may help make your day-to-day in this new reality a little easier. These include:
- How to Work Remotely: 4 Tips to Help Your Team Succeed
- How to Build Strong Relationships with Clients in Another Time Zone
- 75 Independent Businesses to Support (Even While You’re Social Distancing)
- Short-Term Revenue Strategies for Retailers Navigating COVID-19
Shopify Meetups have transitioned into digital meetups, with partner hosts developing programming that will enable both merchants and fellow partners to connect online (if you’re interested in getting involved, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org). The landing page for meetups has also been converted into a digital library of live sessions from around the world—be sure to check them out.
Additionally, there are a number of other ways you can connect with the rest of the Shopify Partner community, and access further guidance and support:
- The partner-specific discussion boards in Shopify Community
- The Shopify Partners Facebook group
- The Shopify Partners Slack
- The Shopify Partners Twitter
We’re committed to providing more partner programming in the coming weeks that allows the community to connect and learn from one another—stay tuned.
As we all work together to pivot and help support our merchants through this difficult time, we’re also supporting each other and the wider Shopify ecosystem. Take care of each other.
Are you offering help or resources during COVID-19? Let us know how in the comments below.