We point out some bright spots in the wake of COVID-19 and offer up our help to businesses needing to obtain grants from the SBA at this time.

Future Commerce is offering assistance to SMB eCommerce businesses who need help applying for Small Business Administration Disaster Recovery loans.

Drop us a line at hello@futurecommerce.fm and we'll do our best to get you the right resources.



Phillip: [00:00:00] Hello everybody, welcome to Future Commerce and... I don't know what our intro is anymore. It's a little nebulous, but that's OK.

Brian: [00:00:09] Welcome to the crazy world that we're living in.

Phillip: [00:00:14] I want this to be a safe space. I don't want to inundate everybody with all the sort of gory details of what's happening in the world. I would love to highlight some bright spots. Maybe. Would that be. Yeah. Would that be a great place to start?

Brian: [00:00:32] We can start with bright spots

Phillip: [00:00:35] So there's this just came to my mind and I didn't prepare you for this, Brian, but I thought I would at least take a moment and expound on some of the work I do outside of Future Commerce. I am on the board of a nonprofit called 1909, and 1909 is both a creative space for entrepreneurs and a startup accelerator for businesses in Palm Beach County.

Phillip: [00:01:00] And we, you know, we partner with both direct to consumer retail founders and folks in digital, you know, traditional app and in digital product development to help them build their businesses.

Phillip: [00:01:16] And so we you know, we are seeing our members of our space and of our community being affected and in a pretty dramatic way with the economic downturn as a result of coronavirus and self quarantining here in the United States. One of the positive spots is that I've seen an incredible amount of collaboration coming through that space, particularly around members helping each other apply for Small Business Administration loans and bridge loans to take advantage of the money that's become available under the disaster loan program that came about from the passing of the Keri's Act. So if you are a small business in the United States, you have the ability to at least through June right now to use a bridge loan and a Small Business Administration loan under the disaster loan program to fund the to fund your business and to fund certain things that are operational expenses and also employee expenses for salaries. And in fact, they're retroactively trying to figure out a way through some of the it's going to require a ton of paperwork. Don't get me wrong, we're finding out a way for you to be able to cover the cost of bringing employees back on who you may have already furloughed. So it's an incredible program and something that I wasn't aware of until 8:41 kicked it up to help their members.

Phillip: [00:02:50] And if you want more information about it, I've shared it with some folks. I'd like to Churn Buster Slack and some others, but direct to consumer businesses based in the United States who have you know, if you have five or more employees, you're probably eligible for this. And you should be looking into it, because here's the big kicker. Money that you spend in certain categories are going to be converted to a grant and not be needed to be repaid. And at at some other point, the bridge loan, if you pay back the bridge loan inside of a year, it's interest free.

Brian: [00:03:24] Wow.

Phillip: [00:03:25] So there's there's so much benefit to a small business owner. If you are an e-commerce business, you should seriously look into this. And if you need help from me. Drop us a line. Hello. Future Commerce not AFM. And we'll do our best to hook you up with someone who you can point in the right direction and it'll vary state by state.

Phillip: [00:03:43] But you know, any any resource we can point to to help, you know, we will.So that's a bright spot.

Brian: [00:03:50] You know, there are actually a lot of bright spots in this. And I think that, you know, there's a lot of messaging out there, but there's a lot of businesses that are kind of putting their money where their mouth is as well.

Brian: [00:04:01] Sounds like you like with Sweetgreens did they dedicated outpost operations teams to support hospital workers and medical personnel by delivering 3000 bowls to people that were to cities that had high outbreak issues or were in lockdown, New York and L.A. and other places.

Brian: [00:04:31] There are a lot of that kind of there's only a lot of that, a lot of really cool stuff that's happening that I think the show that certain brands and I'm not saying this is everyone, but certain ones are are actually investing a lot in helping. And I think that that's that's that's something really wonderful that we can step away from this with. Yeah. Yeah, that's nice. It's good. There's too many to enumerate. One that I will call out that I was really blown away by is a direct consumer swimwear brand called summersault. And they. They saw this? Yeah. They pivoted their customer service center into an emotional support hotline and in fact, a lot of it can take place over estimates, which I think is kind of interesting. Yeah, that's an interesting approach to how we can use that sort of customer centricity with the direct to consumer era. And, you know, especially a company like them who have raised 20 million in venture capital.

Phillip: [00:05:37] What else are they going to do right now? Like this is the time where you where you beat your plows into swords. Right. I think that's as. As I said in our insider this week. And that's insiders 31s literally called plows into swords. And you should you should read it. Go check it out.Can we mention our sponsors? Because if we don't, I'll feel really bad because we're not doing any editing to this, Brian.

Brian: [00:06:03] This is just straight live.

[00:06:05] Yeah. We're just going we're rolling with it here today. And I'm sure everyone sort of results in there in the flesh, in the raw. Brian, things in the raw right now.

Phillip: [00:06:14] Speaking of always in their taxes are probably an important part of running your business. You have a little bit of a reprieve on your personal taxes. I think we have a three month extension here in the United States that we do granted. So I think something something like mid-July. Now we have until mid-July to file your personal taxes, but your business probably needs to be worrying about and thinking about taxes and getting sales tax write all year long.

Phillip: [00:06:39] You can do that best with Vertex. And so if you need a vertex solution for your business, you can check out their cloud solution, which is purpose built for businesses that might classify as S&Ps. But if you're an enterprise, they're probably correct for you with both on premise cloud solutions. And so go check them out. They'll give you 15 months for the price of twelve. You mentioned Future Commerce when you do and go check that out. Both links work for text cloud and vertex SMB dot com.

[00:07:07] But tell them that Brian and Phillip sent ya. Yeah. And then we'll mention our other partner Klaviyo in just a second. They're doing some really interesting work by the way.

[00:07:17] I don't know. They aren't watching. Yeah.

Brian: [00:07:19] Some really interesting stats. Definitely. It's been interesting to watch that sort of live update of alive.But you know, there there are trading days, updates, analysis. Right. It's it's interesting.

Phillip: [00:07:32] So I've been Jake Cohen, who is I want to say, head of product, head of product marketing at Klaviyo. He has been doing these sort of daily digests and sort of daily check ins on sentiment analysis of the not just their customers, but anybody who sort of anonymously answers these, you know, broad market surveys that they've been putting out. And it's kind of interesting to see a day to day change in sales volume and, you know, supply chain impact from. Yeah, you know, for e-commerce businesses. And that's been really interesting. If you don't follow, Jake, you can find at least if you don't follow him on LinkedIn. Go to Klaviyo.com And they have a banner at the top that actually will link you to a bunch of that data COVID-19 survey and stats and you contribute as well. You can you can take the daily poll. Are your sales being affected? You know, interesting. You know, some people are calling shenanigans on this data, which, you know, Ian Leslie kind of put out this open letter, who's the CMO over it? Industry West, who we had on the show earlier this year. He's like, this varies so wildly category to category. And I tend.

Brian: [00:08:58] It does. Yeah. It's interesting. Definitely. I've read a few different reports now. I've sort of live data streams. And so like some. Some businesses are dramatically affected on both ends of the spectrum right now. And so it's really difficult to discern like aggregate data or like to be able to read into results from aggregate data.

Phillip: [00:09:23] Right now, if you want to see an interesting trends site and I know that this is just one business, one shipping and logistics business, but Ship Bob published a trends page called trends.shipbob.com And they are showing shipping volume by business category. It looks like baby products up through the 23rd. It doesn't look like it's quite updated just yet that baby products and food InBev were trending up. Beauty and personal care was about flat, nutrition was about flat and most all other categories trending downward. So, yes, it is heavily category dependent, but Clavier is putting out some great data and Clearview also a good. Partner of ours. And now, you know, coming into our sixth month of a sponsorship with them, we love Clay. And you will love Clay V02. You should go check out Clay viau and let's see if the links to works, because I don't know if it does.

[00:10:21] Klaviyo.com/futurecommerce ... Question mark? Does that work? Yes, it does. So yeah.

Brian: [00:10:32] Ah, yeah. That's also. Yeah. I think this is so important right now. Like this. This kind of technology is so important and getting getting your messaging right. Like it is so important right now.

Brian: [00:10:45] And and so I think that it's probably the most important thing that you do as a marketer right now is get to get that message right. You only have one shot. Like you have many shots to have great impressions and you only have one shot to lose like the trust of a customer. Like you can blow it all in one one bad email, you know? Yes, that's true. So no pressure.

[00:11:10] Is marketing like dying?

[00:11:13] Ah, you know.

[00:11:16] Now, I've been in the traditional sense of I think there's a lot of marketers who thought that they were really freakin smart and they were serious just riding this wave of, you know, consumer growth. Yes.

[00:11:31] Do we need to rebrand, rebrand, marketing? That's that's sort of what I'm thinking. What does that mean? I don't know. I don't know. I don't know.

[00:11:38] Like like I feel like we're living in an age where we eschew people that feel like or we eschew messages that feel like they were crafted. You know what I mean? Are too too heavily crafted. Then they don't come out of like a sense of like the way that you actually are. Does that make sense? And I'm not talking about just authentic because. Do you think that craft messages can be authentic? But oftentimes they position, you know, a lot of where you want to be as well. And so it's interesting.

Phillip: [00:12:14] But a lot of marketing, especially brand marketing, is really aspirational. And I think a lot of people just aspire to just be outside and living their normal life right now. Totally. And so I think that probably the best brand messages at this point are probably those that try to tell you like, hey, it's gonna be OK, we're gonna get through that. Did you see what Chick-Fil-A is doing, by the way?

Brian: [00:12:38] I didn't see what Chick-Fil-A is doing. What are they doing?

Phillip: [00:12:40] Chick-fil-a at the stores that are still open and the ones that are, you know, are that have drive thrus, they are writing inspirational messages on the bags and they're like handwriting, like, you know, it's gonna be okay or, you know, you can do this or, you know, one day at a time. And I think that.

[00:13:06] Like, that's just that's so great.

[00:13:10] I know there's a lot of feelings and sort of conflicted feelings in the world about Chick-Fil-A as a brand and their values.

[00:13:17] You may not agree with them, but they sure do try.

[00:13:22] They do try to be more positive than your typical fast food chain and they try to give a better experience than most. And so that's that's a nice bright spot. There was another one, too, that I thought was really inspirational. And it's escaping my mind right now. It was it was a trending was a trending hashtag that was like. I think it was Adidas that had a trending hashtag around. You know, we're united together. And there was this idea of you need to you need to take some time off, like take some time off being a consumer right now and just. You know, worry about worry about you and your family and who you are right now and everything else, like will sort itself out and eventually kind of go back to real life.

Brian: [00:14:17] Right. Yeah, I think that's a it's a really interesting message. I think if you actually. Another thing that I've that this is actually a real need that I saw in the marketplace recently, which is actually it goes back to second and commerce. So a lot of charities are actually supported by second hand commerce stores. And like I have a local charity in my town that's like. It serves the whole like sort of set a few towns in my area and they get a lot of their revenues from their second hand store. And now they, like people aren't down. And so I think it's interesting how we don't recognize how a lot of charities are funded these days and how they're getting their funding and how something like this actually can affect like retail closures, affect charity fund.

Phillip: [00:15:17] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:15:18] There is a knock on effect. Well there's also. Yeah. And I would say charity just by definition, non-profits by definition, which 8:41 nine I mentioned before is a nonprofit organizations. You know we exist. 2 on grants like government grants exist on charitable donations by, you know, Knight Foundation and so might like some some charitable foundations. And from the donations of just normal people. And when the economy is not doing great, those things tend to charitable giving tends to take a dip. So, yeah, big time.

Brian: [00:15:58] Well, sure. Yeah. Not just turtles. Yeah. I mean, I think charitable giving is definitely there. The retail loan and it's what you're taught.

[00:16:03] The retail component I think is super interesting in that like a lot of these charities don't have an income play. They don't have a way to reach customers that are like people that are regularly shopping at their stores and supporting the charity as a result. And so I just I think that there there's just these things like this that exist in our economy that we that we don't recognize as they we didn't recognize prior to it as a risk. That that, I think is what. What I want to call out here is we are not as far down the chain as we think we are in so many places. And I think this is true for, you know, what we're seeing this end mass right now. And we're relying more and more on larger companies that are investing in e-commerce. It's I think it's time for smaller businesses to take another look at what with what they have as they are. And that actually brings me there was just that. There's a huge group that launched a new website. I'm actually joined it recently. And so it's a large slack group that was across several different e-commerce ecosystems that was dedicated to getting some small businesses up and running well offline, too.

[00:17:23] On.

Brian: [00:17:24] Yes, correct. And that's not the only one of those that I've seen. There have been a few of these groups that have sort of popped up that are dedicated to helping small businesses get up and running online or taking care of like some larger problems as as they have no presence or minimal presence online. I think that's huge.

Phillip: [00:17:46] We're gonna need a lot more than that. And it's going to need a whole lot more than, you know, than just the the sort of moral support of people to help businesses to move, you know, online. I I'm of the mindset that the businesses that. The like. Right now, right now in this moment is when we will see the greatest bifurcation of businesses that have the ability to exercise ingenuity and be creative and sort of, you know, pick them up by their bootstraps, pick themselves up and try to figure out how they can run their business in a time you know, that they're not allowed to entertain business in person.

[00:18:34] I'm thinking about a local a local business of mine that I frequent is now offering their breakfast restaurant and now they're offering a no contact delivery option. You just call them. I'm thinking of a coffee shop locally. Who decided they're going to fill growlers with concentrated cold brew and deliver it to your doorstep for $3? You're going. You have to get scrappy. And, you know, we've said this in the past. I think it comes back to the you know what? We kicked off the year talking about boundaries. You know, unfortunately, there's a lot of restraint that's being placed on businesses right now. And we will see. Incredible creative outgrowth. I know that it's been mentioned many times, but it came up recently on 2PM's newsletter about Jack Ma creating Alibaba out of the wake of the SARS. Of this SARS epidemic in China. And I think that we can see incredible businesses that are born out of this time as people are going to be forced to become to reckon with the idea of using technology first rather than conducting business in person. And maybe there's a lasting opportunity here. But, you know, time will tell.

[00:19:52] Yeah, there's a there's actually give you the last word. By the way, because I think we're we're running out of time.

Brian: [00:19:56] Oh, yeah. I was going to say a great example of this. And let's let's let's be clear. Like one of the industries that was hit the hardest by this was definitely restaurants by far for sure.

[00:20:06] And we're seeing like that the coffee shop, you know, drip delivering a aconsequence growler at the doorstep. There was there's a restaurant in Seattle, which is like one of my like like top restaurants and Seattle's incredible restaurants that very, very high end classic Seattle restaurant called camus'. And they switched. They stay totally mixed it up like this. All this like very early on as like they realized that they needed to mix things up quickly. And so they converted a fine dining restaurant into a home, family dinner delivered. And then also they had for a while, they also had community supported agriculture. So get a box of the best ingredients drawn from farmers. And they also did like drive up, take out a bagel and lunch like taco stands. Yeah. And so they took something that was like one of the highest then experiences in Seattle. And they flipped it into something that we would not consider like traditional high end luxury dining experience and gave it their own twist. And I think that's what we have to do right now as an industry is to look for ways to take take our businesses and apply them in completely different ways that we've never thought of before because of restrictions.

Phillip: [00:21:37] So, yeah, there's a an interesting there's an interesting adaptation of the way that we're seeing marketing emails being crafted right now. You know, I don't know what the solution is for restaurant. I think that that's gonna be a real particular challenge. So I certainly as as a child of a parent who had food service as like as our you know, my mom ran bakeries and like, she actually owned bakeries and my parents ran and operated bakeries throughout my whole life. Like, I understand that business and it can be incredibly challenging. So I don't really have an answer there outside of you know, I really hope that this changes very soon for that industry. At the same time, you know, the businesses that supply those businesses aren't always big food service either. And they can be hit just as hard. You know, there's there's certainly a lot like you mentioned. There's certainly a supply chain, especially in higher, higher end dining that supports local farm industry and agriculture. And that can be every bit as damaging and devastating for those businesses as well.

[00:22:53] And I don't know other than having, you know, having an operating a local fruit stand or trying to, you know, find some way to get product direct to door. I like that. Also sounds like a pretty dire situation. But listen, on a positive note.

[00:23:07] I know we're getting you know, we're getting all kinds of really interesting messaging from businesses who are donating across the board, all birds having donated, you know, what sounds like tens of thousands of pairs of shoes to hospital workers every lane. Who is it? Crocs?

[00:23:29] That's correct. Yeah. Crocs Yeah.

Phillip: [00:23:31] Tens of thousands of pairs. Now, I know all birds being hit with such demand. There is actually moving to one one for one model just like TOMS was. You buy a pair, they give a pair. There's also an interesting story out of Ever Lane who had a product launch that they're donating 100 percent of proceeds for Food for America or feed him Feeding America for lunches. You know, locally, school districts here recognized that at least Palm Beach County School District recognizes that there's a real need because some students eat two meals a day at school and they don't have a meal to eat at home. And so they've partnered with local food banks to provide meals to families every day in a drive thru style at each school. And so there's a lot of stuff that's happening. I know there's a restaurant here locally that you've been to with me. A breakfast place called how Lees and their owner has repurposed their kitchen to feed them because they can't be open and they don't have a drive through, so they've they've actually created a space for workers and health care right now to come after their shift and eat for free. So listen, we're all we're all stepping up. You know, we want to. We want to be of help. Shoot us an email at hello at Future Commerce site, AFM, and let us know if there's a way that we can help you or offer you some encouragement.

[00:25:00] And certainly looking for, you know, your involvement and your feedback at this time, because we you know, we're trying to figure out how the show is messaged and how we create the right kind of content in this time that would be useful for you in an e commerce. Other than that, Brian. Anything else?

Brian: [00:25:22] That's it for today.

Phillip: [00:25:23] OK. Yeah. Hey, chin up. You're beautiful and you got this. And we'll we'll see you next week. I think we're going to actually eat next week just to kind of foreshadow a bit. We're gonna have Stephan Ango from from Lumi, co-founder of Lumi on the show.

Brian: [00:25:40] So excited.

Phillip: [00:25:41] And we already recorded one with him that was sorely out of date, considering that it was only a week ago. And every week feels like an eternity now. And we'll be talking a little bit about this and sort of implant impact a supply chain. But also we'll be talking about a new product launch. They just landed called Lumi ID, and that should land Monday or Tuesday. So hopefully, you know, watch it on your podcast. But thanks for listening to Future Commerce. Stay safe out there, everybody.