Brandify Launches Covid-19 Updates Page

We are not the only ones helping businesses with online communication at this critical time, and businesses themselves need to know the latest so they can craft flexible and responsive strategies. With that in mind, we’ve decided to publish our tracking sheet on changes to local business marketing channels as a new webpage called “COVID-19 Local Search Updates,” live on our website today. We will keep it up to date, and we hope you’ll find it useful.

E-Commerce Booms While Hospitality, Restaurants Suffer Amid Covid-19 Concerns

Early trends in consumer coronavirus behavior indicate that the already fast-growing e-commerce sector may see an added boost over the next few months as people avoid in-door shopping to practice social distancing during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Media and marketing services firm ENGINE is conducting 1,000-person online surveys of representative samples of US consumers every few days to gauge changes in consumer sentiment and behavior as the quickly accelerating outbreak develops. The firm found that while 31% of consumers said they were increasing their online shopping in surveys conducted March 13-15 and 16-17, 42% said the same March 20-22, a 35% increase.

Womply, FundRocket Launch SMB Stimulus Program

While Congress continues to deliberate on a stimulus package that will provide as much as $400 billion in aid and loans for small businesses, tech companies that serve SMBs are stepping in to offer their own assistance packages. Among them is reputation management, CRM, and email software firm Womply, which has launched an SMB stimulus program in collaboration with its capital partner, FundRocket. 

Location Leaders Step Up to the Plate

During the Covid-19 outbreak, we’re seeing tech companies step up to the plate in a mixture of altruistic and opportunistic moves. That’s everything from Comcast removing data caps to Amazon removing its paywall for streaming kids shows. But what about local specifically? Again, that’s where businesses are getting hit most.

We’ve seen moves in the local space over the past week from Facebook, Yelp, and Foursquare. Though there are several others, we’ll drill down on this representative sample. We’ll also give a shoutout to Google for its work to free up human and compute resources for local listings updates, covered Monday by Damian Rollison.

Loyalty in the Time of “Near Me” Searches, Omnichannel, and Covid-19

In addition to the opportunities and challenges that come with an omni-channel commercial ecosystem, 2020 brings to businesses the challenge of mobile search, which leads people on the go to search for “X near me” and pick the closest possible option. The new year also brought, as hardly anyone would’ve predicted months ago, an impending recession as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
I caught up with Nicole Amsler, vice president of marketing at loyalty tech firm Formation.ai, to garner her insights on loyalty strategy this year.

Google Disables Reviews and Q&A, Yelp Announces New Features Amid Outbreak

Important announcements were posted Friday by Google and Yelp as part of the effort to contend with coronavirus and its impact on businesses.

Google has published a new help page titled “Limited Google My Business functionality due to COVID-19.” Before diving into the details in the announcement, I’ll mention the most important headline. Due to a rapid reorganization of priorities, Google has determined that at this time, they will disable the ability to leave new reviews, reply to reviews, and post new Question and Answer content.

These Chatbots Are Helping Brands Respond to Covid-19 Queries

Chatbots could help fill the gap in business-to-customer communication capacity during the Covid-19 outbreak. Although there will always be a need for human customer service agents, even when chatbots with AI are deployed, the coronavirus outbreak is demonstrating just how valuable this automated technology can be for brands working in a time of crisis. Already, chatbot companies like LivePerson say they’re seeing significant increases in volume on their platforms. As the pandemic widens, even more companies are likely to start integrating chatbots into their customer service systems.

Here are six chatbot solutions that brands can start using right away.

Local Advertising in the Time of Social Distancing

Many of us are facing a reality in which #QuarantineLife is the new normal — at least for the foreseeable future. Even with offices temporarily shutting their doors and the worldwide workforce moving to a remote-based culture, the tools provided by local social advertising can help businesses, perhaps especially those dealing with store closures, drive their goals forward.

Treat the Economic Symptoms of Coronavirus with Proactive Brand Management

In the midst of this uncertainty, your business’s online visibility probably isn’t top of mind—rightfully so. 

Nevertheless, communication is key to your brand management strategy in times like these. It’s important to make your customers aware of any changes in your business operations. Below are three tactics you can use to bolster your brand management as the coronavirus sends shockwaves through the global economy.

Tech Companies Respond as Workers, SMBs Face Covid-19 Pressure

Google’s sister site Verily launched a site, albeit with logistical difficulties, to help Bay Area residents find testing options, and Verily isn’t the only tech company facing or alleviating coronavirus concerns. As a possible recession looms, consumer spending dips, and employees are sent home for public safety, some vendors are stepping in to help workers weather the storm. Others are boosting small businesses, hiring and increasing pay for workers, and suspending precarious services.

How Local Businesses Should Prepare for Coronavirus

A quick Google search on this column’s headline reveals a large number of sites offering recommendations to businesses large and small about how to prepare for the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak as it moves into pandemic territory. Articles on Inc., Fast Company, and the World Economic Forum echo a common theme: Businesses need to develop a plan of action for containing the spread of the illness, as well as contingencies that allow normal operations to continue as smoothly as possible.

In the sphere of digital presence management, key players like Google, Nextdoor, and Facebook are offering recommendations to help businesses develop plans and communicate effectively with consumers who need to access their products and services. The advice comes at a time when business operations may be modified or interrupted by multiple factors such as quarantines and supply chain interruptions.

Location Weekly: Grocery Delivery in the Time of COVID-19 Alarm

In this episode of Location Weekly, the Location-Based Marketing Association covers Instacart’s doorstep grocery delivery amid the coronavirus scare, Papa Johns enjoying success with AR, 7Eleven opening an “Evolution” concept store, TapAd partnering with Gimbal, and Pandora launching interactive voice ads.