Could holding an online raffle be the way to give your business a much-needed boost in these strange times? Can virtual raffles save business?
In these uncertain times it’s nice to hear some good news. Find out how you can raise your business profile, attract some new customers and sell some of your products or services, click here.
In south London, independent traders are being thrown a lifeline by online raffles, organised by two community groups, Save East Dulwich and the Big SE Raffle, which have raised thousands of pounds for local shops, salons and pubs.
Victoria Rennison, who set up the Save East Dulwich raffle, said she came up with the idea after wondering “what would happen to East Dulwich if all of these businesses went under?”
“There’s such a sense of community because of them – I feel like they need some support from us in return,” she said. “I was thinking, what could I do remotely, when no one is allowed to see each other?”
… to Manchester
A business owner has created a virtual community raffle to support independent businesses during lockdown in Salford west. Susie Kwok, 48-year-old, owner of On Our Doorstep magazine began fundraising last weekend and has since sold almost 50 tickets. She said: “There are 1,000 tickets on sale. This would allow us to help 20 local businesses. If this takes off, we will continue running raffles until the lockdown is over. Our ultimate target would be to reach 10,000 tickets – which would mean we have helped 200 local businesses!”
“Each prize will be worth £50 or more. So, for £1, you could win a brilliant prize, plus the satisfaction you have helped our businesses which are the heart of our community. She added “Can virtual raffles save business by promoting services and products?”
As a business owner, Ms Kwok knows first-hand what local independent businesses in Salford are experiencing. Before the lockdown On Our Doorstep was ready to distribute their April/May issue but that has since been postponed. Ms Kwok continued to say that there is not enough financial support for businesses: “It’s based on your final profits and what you’ve submitted in your final self-assessment.”
“It doesn’t take into account that before you take out your profit you have to pay your employees, printers etc. Then you still have the worry of how to pay those other bills that are in no way covered by the government grant.”
Currently, Ms Kwok takes no percentage from the Salford West raffle to support her business as “it didn’t feel right”. But there are hopes that soon she will be able to offer a prize to help her business as well as others. Ms Kwok says: “It’s important that the community doesn’t forget these businesses.”
Help is at hand
We hope that your business is still operating and are here to assist you with your IT requirements. Contact the LIS Helpdesk for a chat to help with your business IT solutions. We provide fully managed IT solutions, support and have a range of comprehensive technology solutions. We look after your business which allows you to run your business!
We know lockdown has been difficult for business, but it’s not all doom and gloom. Here are five businesses that are booming (and they are not all huge). Find out how lockdown has been difficult for business, take a look at a recent BBC news article about five businesses that are booming despite the lockdown.
Yet in many ways, our current situation is very different to a month ago. Many of us have lost jobs, taken pay cuts or been put on furlough. Boris Johnson has declared the UK past its peak of the outbreak. We can buy toilet roll from the supermarket (albeit after queuing behind people in masks).
Five industries thriving in lockdown
Gifts & Occasions
Mother’s Day was the first weekend under lockdown, order volumes and referrals in the sector soared by 122% and 229% year-on-year respectively. Once the occasion passed, orders began to decline, dropping to just +26% year-on-year. Then Easter arrived. In the week running up to 12th April, order volumes and referrals in the gifting sector significantly increased. By Easter Monday, gift brands were acquiring 415% more new customers via referral year-on-year. (It’s worth noting that Easter fell on different dates last year).
Since Easter, order volumes and referrals in the gift sector have continued to increase and show no signs of slowing. Right now, order volumes are up 245% year-on-year and referrals up 650%.
That means people are buying from and recommending gifting brands each day than they were during Easter, an actual occasion, last year. It seems that in the absence of being able to physically see friends and family, consumers are turning to ecommerce gift brands to send their love from afar.
Home & Garden
At the start of April, order volumes and referrals for home and garden clients were up 55% and 83% year-on-year respectively. Both have significantly increased since.
As people looked forward to a sunshine-filled Easter at home, they went online to buy plants, baking equipment, and other products to liven up the long weekend in isolation.
On 21st April, referrals peaked at +321% year-on-year, compared to sales at +120%. Both now remain relatively steady at +278% and +110% respectively.
In the current environment, our homes and garden frequently come up in conversation. A comment on a houseplant in the background of a Zoom call, a chat about blooming tulips in the garden, a freshly baked banana bread on Instagram – all these small occurrences lead to brand recommendations and new customers.
Health & Fitness
In the week following the government’s lockdown announcement, order volumes for health and fitness brands increased by 163% year-on-year. People weren’t just working out in new ways – they were telling others about it, too. Referrals increased by 361%.
Fast forward to now, and orders for health and fitness brands have dropped, though remain significantly higher than this time last year. Order volumes for our clients in this sector are up 85% year-on-year. Referrals are more than double that at +185% year on year.
Consumers also feel less panicked. We may be no closer to knowing when we can next go to the pub, but we know we can go for a jog outside. Plus, with all holiday plans ruled out for the foreseeable, exercise has become more about feeling good than honing the perfect bikini body. How we’re exercising has changed, but our inclination to tell others about it hasn’t.
Food & Drink
March saw a huge spike in demand for food and drink brands as consumers stocked up on pasta, gin and other essentials.
A few months on, sales and referrals in this sector are decreasing, though remain significantly higher than last year. This is likely due to two reasons.
Firstly, consumers have more confidence in supermarket supply chains and government restrictions to know there’s little risk of going hungry. Secondly, many people ordered enough food and drink to last weeks, meaning they don’t need to order again so quickly.
That’s also impacted referrals. With people no longer panicking about running out of fresh veg or (worse) wine, they’re not talking about it as much. And when they do talk about it, they’ve likely already recommended their favourite brands to friends. Nonetheless, things are pretty good for online food and drink brands right now.
Beauty products weren’t top of consumers’ shopping lists entering lockdown, but they’ve certainly risen up it over the past month.
With more time on our hands, many people are turning their attention to skincare rituals and self-care treats. A bubble bath and facemask are a pretty appealing. As the option for a night out is off the cards.
We are not showing off our newly glowing skin or glossy hair in person. However, we’re still telling our friends about our favourite beauty brands.
At the start of April, beauty sales had increased by 37% year-on-year and referrals by 64%. Sales are now up 110% year-on-year, with referrals a significant 356% higher than this time last year.
Business planning for the future
Lockdown has been difficult for business as people are continuing to shop online as well as speaking with their loved ones. That presents a powerful opportunity for brands with a relevant offering and effective referral programme.
The fragile economy is also making people increasingly conscious of how they’re spending their money. A brand that comes with a friend’s seal of approval is far more likely to result in a purchase. Compared to a random website found online – particularly if it comes with a discount or other incentive.
Rather than simply enjoy the surge in orders and referrals, now is the time for thriving businesses to plan for the future. Those with effective retention strategies will prosper long-term; those without will fall by the wayside.
Obviously, LIS can’t help with the development of your business, but that is fine as that is your area of expertise! Tech is our job so contact the LIS Help Desk to discuss how your IT needs to evolve to help drive your business in the post corona world. Whether you need to keep your data secure, deliver long term working from home, create a safe hot desking environment, make best use of a flexible phone system or just give your staff the “looked after” feeling that LIS brings to its clients, we can help. We will give you the best advice, suggest the best solutions and are more than happy to help.
Hopefully your business has survived this tough period and you are now starting on the long road to the new stable business life. Lockdown has been difficult for business but with LIS at least the IT is sorted!
Google has been busy removing malware threats from Google Play, but now they’re back. Here’s what to watch out for take a look at this recent article about Google Malware Threats. So, how has this happened? Google Malware Threats can steal sensitive information or send fake emails from a user’s email account. This often happens without the user’s knowledge.
Android malware authors have been relying on a solid trick for bypassing Google’s security scans and sneaking malicious apps into the Play Store.
Almost 2 billion malware installs thwarted by Google Play Protect in 2019
Strengthened app safety policies, a better developer approval process and enhancements to its machine learning detection system made the Google Play Store an even more secure place last year, according to Google.
“Last year, Google Play Protect also prevented more than 1.9 billion malware installs from non-Google Play sources,” Google Play Product Manager Andrew Ahn. He wrote in reference to Android’s built-in threat protection tool. The figure represents an increase from 1.6 billion malicious apps from outside of the official Android storefront that were blocked.
A new Android marketplace policy introduced in 2018, also recorded a 98% decrease in apps accessing users’ SMS and call log dat. The remaining 2% require access to data in order to perform core functions. (In some cases, the new policy affected legitimate services from using SMS permissions for security, privacy and safety reasons.)
The tech giant also ramped up its protection against malicious apps. It praised its collaboration with partners in the Android App Alliance, of which ESET is an inaugural member. Enhanced vetting mechanisms helped Play Protect stop over 790,000 policy-violating apps from being published to Google Play. The store’s threat protection service now scans over 100 billion apps every day. This allowed it to double the number it scanned in 2018.
More improvements required
Other improvements include a new policy aimed at protecting children and families. This led to the removal or updates of tens of thousands of apps last year. The policy introduced new requirements concerning the disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information (PII). As well as the suitability of content and adverts for children.
Having said all that, Google stressed that there’s more work to be done. They reiterated its commitment to enhancing users’ privacy and security.
All things considered; you can always take several easy steps that will go a long way towards beefing up your protection. These include being cautious about the apps you install. Be carefull especially – but not only – from outside the Play Store. Users need to pay attention to the permissions that the apps request. Maake sure you have a reputable mobile security solution installed on your device.
Would you allow your staff to work from home forever? How’s working from home going for your business? Would you make it a permanent option for some staff? Twitter has taken a bold step and allowed its people to work from home forever if they want to. Read the full story about how one of the world’s leading social media platforms are revolutionizing working from home forever.
Twitter have advised employees they can work from home forever. What does the future hold? Credit: PA
Other companies planning to work from home forever
Tobi Lutke, CEO of Shopify (SHOP), announced that the world of work has been turned on its head. “Office centricity is over,” he tweeted. “As of today, Shopify is a digital by default company. Shopify is an ecommerce platform for small businesses and therefore will keep its offices closed until 2021. This year, Shopify will rework its physical spaces for this new reality. As a result, most employees will be working from home on a permanent basis.
“Until recently, work happened in the office. We’ve always had some people remote and will use the Internet as a bridge to the office. This will reverse now,” Lutke tweeted. “The future of the office is to act as an on-ramp to the same digital workplace that you can access from your #WFH setup.”
French automaker PSA announced a “new era of agility,” in which its non-production staff will work remotely from now on. “Given the positive experience and efficient measures already taken in the context of the Covid-19 crisis. In other words they have decided to strengthen teleworking and make it the benchmark for activities not directly related to production”.
PSA will reduce its real estate footprint by redesigning its offices and allow for in-person collaboration when. Above all the main plan for our colleagues is to achieve a better work-life balance and have easier commutes.
In conclusion, the new work from home plan will start in the summer said PSA, the maker of Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel and Vauxhall.
Contact the LIS Help desk to make sure your team have the same facilities as the workplace. We can set up secure access to all your data, provide IT support remotely and make sure your business is fully functional.