How small businesses are using Amazon to keep trading during COVID-19
At Amazon, we’re doing everything we can to support our small business partners, who make up more than half of all products sold on Amazon stores. Here are some of their stories, and more information about what we’re doing to help.
As founder and CEO of Litelok, Professor Neil Barron and his team can usually be found harnessing the unique properties of lightweight materials for high-quality bike locks.
However, in the past few weeks they have been busy donating face masks and any other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to NHS staff and key workers most in need.
“We want to thank all NHS and key workers for their support during this difficult time,” explains Neil. “We know that for some key workers, their bike is the safest way to commute to and from work while maintaining a safe social distance. That’s why we’re on-hand to support with anything they need.” That support now includes a 10% discount for all NHS staff as key workers.
Neil’s team even jumped in to help Tom Roberts, an NHS anaesthetist who took to Twitter to report that his bike had been stolen while he was working in an intensive care unit. After professional cyclist Luke Rowe intervened to send Tom a brand-new bike, Litelok made sure he could keep it safe by providing Tom with an “epic” new bike lock.
Another business stepping up to help is Amazon Launchpad brand Trtl, a company that manufactures travel pillows and other accessories. The company, based in Scotland, has donated more than £250,000 worth of compression socks to the NHS.
“We wanted to play our part to support nurses on the frontline, so we donated our compression socks to help relieve some of the physical strain they’re experiencing during this crucial time” said Michael Corrigan, CEO at Trtl.
“Our brilliant customers also got involved by making a request to raise money for the NHS. As a result, we've started a Just Giving campaign where for every pair of socks someone buys for NHS Nurses and care workers, we will match their donation,” Michael added.
We are totally overwhelmed with the response to our 10,000 sock donation to the #NHS & the requests keep coming in from teams in need.— Trtl (@TrtlTravel) April 2, 2020
If you can help us, please click the link below to help us help the frontline workers facing #COVID2019uk .https://t.co/n2ciXIgR9Y pic.twitter.com/0jtWS5Nuiy
Meanwhile, Ellie Webb is the founder of non-alcoholic ‘free spirit’, Caleño. Ellie’s brand has always been about feeling good and having fun, and now she’s focused on how Caleño can bring a bit more enjoyment and activity to people’s lives during the crisis.
“We really wanted to reward those who are working extra hard for everyone else to stay safe,” explains Ellie. “We also wanted to bring a bit of zest and flavour for everybody else!’
“Rather than the usual work-outs, we teamed up with a Latin dance studio on Instagram Live to get people moving and shaking during the lockdown – last time it was an upbeat live Salsa class.”
“We’ve been sending out gift boxes to key workers, including doctors and nurses,” Ellie adds, “so they can enjoy an alcohol free drink in the evening without having to worry about drinking alcohol while on call.”
“We’ve seen thousands of people searching for cocktail recipe inspiration online, so we teamed up with out-of-work mixologists to share video tips on alcohol-free cocktails you can make at home. We’re also creating new content so customers can share Amazon Wishlists with everything you need for a virtual party – party games, props and Caleño!”
Keeping families entertained
Despite the difficult circumstances, many Amazon selling partners have found an even larger audience during the lockdown as customers look for ways to keep themselves entertained and inspired.
We all got fully dressed today for the first time in weeks to spread a little joy. I give you... Rainbow Randomise Acts of Kindness! Took a little walk up our road to spot lovely rainbows and deliver a dozen free games to the families who created them ❤️ pic.twitter.com/96aGZKPOxe— Gamely Games (@Gamely_Games) April 16, 2020
Gamely Games, Winner of Amazon Small Business of the Year in 2019, make family games for all ages that are quick and easy to learn. Founder Hazel Reynolds wanted to create a product that would bring families closer together for quality time that doesn’t involve a TV or tablet – and she’s found customers have been turning to her products to keep everyone smiling during the lockdown. In fact, sales have been two to three times higher than this time last year.
Hazel is delighted that her products are bringing joy to families at this time: “For me, success means creating exciting new games, building a happy team and increasing the positive impact that we can have on the wider world.”
The team at Gamely has now taken their feel-good philosophy a step further with their new ‘Brightening Birthdays’ initiative. “We realised that many children had to cancel their birthday parties due to the current situation,” explains Hazel. “We wanted to help, so our amazing followers helped us to find 100 children who had their parties cancelled and we sent each one a free game and birthday card! The response was so inspiring that we’re doing it all again this month for another 100 children aged five to eleven. It’s a small way to brighten their birthdays.”
Hazel has also launched two local initiatives that will donate free games to low-income families and those living in emergency accommodation, alongside a cash donation to GiveDirectly’s International Response, distributing money directly to hard-hit families.
Sandy Leaf Farm is another business providing perfect gifts for loved ones that has seen sales increase during lockdown. Co-founders Scott and Gabriel sell easy-to-use crafting kits to create everything from your own kimchi to hedgerow wine and bubble tea.
Their gin-making kits have proved particularly popular in recent weeks, with one customer dubbing his first infused creation ‘Stay Gin-Side’.
“It’s been amazing to hear that are our kits are providing entertainment to so many households who are trying to cope with social distancing,” says Scott. The business has already seen sales increase by two to three times in the last couple of months.
Introducing: Stay Gin-side— Jordan Montlake (@MontyLake) April 14, 2020
7 days infusing & filtering, my first batch of gin. I'm looking forward to enjoying this as we get more warm days.
Thanks to @sandyleaffarm for the kit and instructions. Topical & witty name credit @MajGeorgeCowley#stayinside #sandyleaffarm #gin pic.twitter.com/9BEzLLCpjZ
How is Amazon supporting small businesses?
We are working hard to help our selling partners during this difficult time, many of whom are small businesses, by waiving certain fees, pausing lending repayments, onboarding new selling partners quickly and providing regular updates and guidance via direct communication channels.
We have hosted dedicated webinars for new small businesses who are looking to sell on Amazon and current selling partners with expert advice on how people can manage their business through this period. These will be available on Seller Central for people to access whenever they want.
And we are working closely with Enterprise Nation, the small business support network, who have waived their membership fees during this time, so people can access their support hub on the latest support for small businesses for free.