With the lockdown, a lot of small businesses had to pivot very quickly and find new ways to keep in touch with their customers. And for those who didn’t have an e-commerce website or didn’t feel confident enough to invest in developing their own platform due to uncertainty or lack of resource, the easiest solution for connecting with their customers and selling their products was marketplaces such as Etsy or eBay.

After 2 months of lockdown and before the reopening of most of the retailers mid-June, it’s a good time to reflect on the communications and initiatives the marketplaces have implemented to support the SMBs. And here are the three key trends we believe have been key to the success of marketplaces during this time:

  • Positioning the marketplaces as a solid and long-term business partner during and after the lockdown – eBay announced they will extend the free ‘online shop window’ until 31 July 2020 despite some easing of the lockdown rules. It means new business registering on the platform will continue to pay zero fees to list or sell until this date.
  • Leveraging their e-commerce platforms to tell the SMBs stories - Etsy launched the Stand with Small campaign in which consumers can meet with small business owners and discover what’s happening behind the scenes
  • Empowering the entrepreneurs and sharing useful resources – Amazon handmade, the store for artisans selling handcrafted products launched a new store to help connect customers with local small business facing disruption in the US and eBay has partnered with Royal Mail and Post Office to help small businesses navigate the world of selling and shipping online.

What will be interesting to see is whether these initiatives will be enough to keep the SMBs on their platforms after lockdown. What we do know is that there will be no back to normal for a long time, so the marketplaces showing a long-term and consistent commitment to support the entrepreneurs will make all the difference.