Covid-19 Grants, Loans Can Help Ecommerce Firms

Grants and loans from the U.S. government, local and state authorities, Facebook, and Google could help small companies during the Covid-19-induced economic downturn.

The coronavirus has harmed the retail sector. A Digiday retail-segment poll published on March 30, 2020,”found that 40 percent of top execs expect to have layoffs as a result of crisis.”

Not long after this poll was published, Macy’s declared it would furlough 130,000 of its employees due to store closures. And later that same day, Gap, Inc. stated it would lay off 80,000 shop workers because it, too, had lost almost all its earnings.

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Even ecommerce-only companies have faced challenges. Many have faced supply-chain disruptions and weak consumer demand. Moreover, by March 30, 2020, many U.S. states had declared stay-at-home orders which didn’t permit some ecommerce warehouse operations to remain open.

Fortunately, help may be on the way.

CARES Act

The U.S. Congress passed the”Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act,” or CARES Act, that will, among other things, provide some $350 billion in small business aid.

The huge majority of these funds will enlarge the loans available through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The loans, which are thought to be a part of a”Paycheck Protection Program,” will be offered to companies with 500 or fewer employees as of March 1 and with proven, continuing payroll expenses. The eligible business must have been harmed by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Since the SBA explains it,”the Paycheck Protection Program is designed to offer an immediate incentive for small businesses to keep their employees on payroll by supplying each small company a loan up to $10 million for payroll and certain other expenses…If all workers are retained on the payroll for eight months, SBA will forgive the section of the loans taken for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Up to 100 percent of the loan is forgivable.”

The borrowed monies can finance payroll, rent, mortgages, utilities, and debt obligations.

Along with the Paycheck Protection Program, the CARES Act also allows for enhanced access to SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans. These loans may be used for operational expenses and to buy inventory or equipment. Eligible companies will have the ability to borrow up to $2 million at 3.75 percent interest for terms of up to 30 years.

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Local and state Grants, Loans

Many local and state governments also have announced programs to assist small businesses throughout the pandemic. These programs are generally advertised regionally, and — at the time of writing — comprised dozens of grant and loan choices.

As examples, the California cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento each declared programs to assist their small businesses. Sacramento’s program, which sets aside $1 million for interest-free, small business loans of up to $25,000 per year, was so popular the city needed to stop accepting applications.

Several websites have tried to monitor the numerous state and local relief choices. These sites include:

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Ecommerce and omnichannel merchants should check with their local and state authorities for coronavirus relief.

Facebook Grants

Facebook has set aside $100 million for small business grants to help offset economic harm from the pandemic. These grants may take the form of cash or advertising credits and will be distributed to as many as 30,000 small companies across 30 countries where Facebook does business.

Facebook is providing $100 million in cash and advertising credit grants to assist small businesses throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Facebook, the grants could be used to pay workers, cover mortgages or rent, advertise or promote a business, or cover operational expenses.

As of March 30, Facebook hadn’t published eligibility requirements or application information, but they’re expected soon. Some companies have reported getting basic information during consultation calls with Facebook’s Marketing Expert team.

Ecommerce and omnichannel retail industry suffering during the pandemic can register for Facebook grant upgrades .

Google Ad Credits

Google is offering $340 million in advertising credits to small and midsize businesses that have bought Google Ads over the last year. Advertisement credit information will appear in the Google Ads application for qualified businesses.

“We have been advocating scaling all our customer’s search campaigns today, both Organic Search and Paid Search,” stated Joe Rowett, CEO of VELOX Media, a search marketing agency.

“There’s an unprecedented shift in purchasing behaviour from brick-and-mortar to ecommerce. This has caused a surge in key word search volumes, and right now this is combined with slightly lower key word difficulty. This presents a special chance for progressive brands to induce short-term new revenue growth from the biggest marketing channels.

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“This shift in purchasing behavior is the beginning of a long-term upward tendency for ecommerce. We recommend starting search campaigns as soon as possible to benefit from this short-term new revenue growth opportunity. And it’s highly profitable revenue growth, generating over 600-percent return on advertising spends,” Rowett added.

Given the probability of succeeding with performance advertising , Google’s efforts to assist small businesses drive earnings could be valuable.

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