As small businesses move towards reopening, United Parcel Service (UPS) has launched a dedicated portal to help them with their shipping needs. The new package by the messenger and delivery service company includes discounts, advice and other resources targeting the needs of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
According to UPS, the resource portal will provide tools and resources to help them recover and pivot their businesses during these uncertain times.
UPS Small Business Coronavirus Recovery Help
Through its free Virtual Consultants, small businesses can get advice from a logistics expert on fulfillment. The company says this will run the full gamut of support regarding transporting customer orders. It will also include shipments, storing inventory, delivering orders on time and supply-chain management.
The support for small businesses also comes with a 45% discount for domestic air services and international shipping. Customers can also capitalize on the 25% discount from its Domestic UPS Ground using the promotional code ‘PIVOT’. The promotional discount will run until August 31st. This will help businesses who have opened with reduced operations grow to scale.
The new offering for small and mid-businesses comes at the heels of its ‘Be Unstoppable’ campaign. The campaign attempts to showcase the resilience and determination of small businesses as they work to recover from the pandemic, and bringing attention to the many resources and services available at UPS.
Giving Small Business an Extra Nudge
In May a survey from UPS found that nearly half of SMBs do not expect a quick return to normalcy. It goes on to say after several weeks of economic gains in late May small and mid-sized businesses declined to show the recovery plateaued.
While many businesses are preparing to move forward, the impact of the pandemic remains pervasive. Some seventy-three percent of SMBs surveyed had reported a negative impact from coronavirus, a slight uptick from a week before.
Regarding long term goals, 8% of respondents expressed concerns their business would not survive the pandemic. But the number of businesses with permanent closure is only 1% in this survey. This however doesn’t mean they don’t face challenges, cash flow being one of the biggest concerns.
Cash flow was cited as a key element of their uncertainty. While businesses received some financial relief from the government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), 43 % of respondents still say cash flow represents an ongoing challenge.
Low cash flow was attributed to the continual absence of customers among respondents who say their business isn’t fully reopened. Forty-three percent point to customer decline as a key reason they are not yet operating at pre-pandemic levels.
Despite the challenges, demand may return sooner for Business to Business (B2B) companies. Business to Customer (B2C) businesses are more likely to face closure or reduced capacity (51%) than B2B businesses (41%). B2C businesses (17%) are also twice as likely as B2B businesses (8%) to remain shut down as a result of insufficient inventory or supplies.
Almost half (48%) of businesses that were surveyed indicated they do not anticipate their businesses returning to normal until the first quarter of 2021 or later.
Navigating the Post-COVID Period
As small businesses start their road to recovery navigating the business environment in a post COVID era is important. Businesses of all sizes have all been impacted by how they produce products, manage supply chains and deal with dwindling employee and customer base. These scenarios call for a somber reflection and assessment of the company’s capabilities. They should look internally into their unique skills and tweak internal operations to adapt to the changing dynamics.
They can also look to technology to help them gain traction and build back their capacity. This will require investing in productivity tools and e-commerce platforms to grow and diversify revenue streams.
There is a need to renew and refresh connections with customers. Businesses need to ramp up their digital experiences and promotions to help increase engagement and conversations for a better impact. They should also look towards safe and contactless engagement to address health concerns that customers might have moving forward.
Equally important there is a need to include dynamic customer insights in your operations. With these implementations, you can get quick insights into customer pains, product improvements and how to garner higher levels of customer satisfaction.