Lockdown has been difficult for 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

Lockdown has been difficult for businessGifts & 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.


Lockdown has been difficult for businessHealth & 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.



Lockdown has been difficult for businessBeauty
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!

#LockdownBoom #GoodForBusiness #InDemand

Online sales security

Amazon pilots video calls to verify third-party sellers. They are in the process of cracking down on third parties selling fake goods. It is a simple plan involving video calls, ensuring that customers are guaranteed online sales security.

Find out more by clicking the link: www.theverge.com/2020/4/27/21238026/amazon-seller-verification-video-calling-fraud-third-party-sellers

Online sales security

Amazon take security seriously. They are cracking down on third party seller verification.

Video calls to vet third-party sellers

Amazon will use a proprietary machine learning system to review hundreds of unique data points to spot potential risks. Such as whether the account is combined with another concealed account. The company will set up a video call with future sellers and verify that their ID match the documents submitted in their application. Trained agents will review third-party sellers before approving them.

The company launched in-person seller checks earlier this year. However, changed to video calls in February due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

There are some problems with third-party sellers and a need to have deeper brand control. As a result, some larger retailers pulled back from the platform. Last November, Nike announced that it would pull its products from Amazon. As well as Birkenstock, they said in 2016, it would no longer sell its products on Amazon in 2016.

Recently, marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are working to reduce the fake goods sold on their platforms. There a few reasons why consumers turn to knockoffs in the first place.

Fraud control

The company added the live check process via video calls and will be trialled in the US, UK, China and Japan. It involves Amazon matching the documents that a seller has provided. The process involves original documents, as well as using facial recognition tech to verify identities. This will increase customer morale and ensure complete online sales security.

If you would like to discuss your online security, anti-virus and anti spam: Please contact our sales team on 01245 323900 or email enquiries@lisltd.co.uk

#ShouldHaveDoneItBefore #JustPickUpThePhoneJeff



Working From Home Advice

Working from home advice given to you by your employer will keep you safe and stay focused. Record numbers of us are now working remotely from home, so allows some businesses to carry on trading. Sudden increases of home workers with the arrival of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) will help business play their part in reducing the risks. The more you prepare now for the end of lockdown, the easier it will be.

Many businesses are trying to help their employees work from home, if they can. Some technology companies which produce software used by remote workers that include Zoom and Slack, have received a bump in share prices in recent days.

Make sure you have space to be productive

It’s fair to say that life has become more difficult for everyone right now because COVID-19 has changed everything. We are all struggling to adjust to new ways of living and working. As companies implement work from home policies, employees are tasked with trying to be as productive without their normal resources.

When you’re working from home, it can be all too easy to blur the lines between your work life and your personal life, because they blend into one. You are working on spreadsheets, on a conference call, cleaning the kitchen, and feeding the dog all at the same time. Seems impossible, right? That’s because it is.

Routine is an important part of work and it doesn’t become any less important because you’re working from home. So, that coffee you make at 10am every day in the office? Do it at home. The lunch you take at 1pm? Put it in your calendar. That task you unconsciously do while chatting to your colleague on a Monday morning? Keep doing it.

There are some perks to working from home (bye bye commute!), but feeling stress, boredom, anxiety and uncertainty is also completely normal. Alongside this, many of us are worried about future job prospects and trying to look after kids as well. Dedicating a room or corner of your home as workspace will enable you to be more productive.

Working from home (WFH) is not for everyone

It takes time to get used to working from home, communicating with colleagues and avoid distractions of a home environment.  With the right tools, setup, mindset and empowering good habits will come naturally with this new method of working.

So here we are six weeks into Corona lockdown and for some this will have been a first experience of WFH. Even though the talk is now all about returning to normal, we think the new normal will contain a lot of WFH for many of us. Time to work out the wrinkles and turn the emergency response into a long-term viable solution. Here are some working from home tips for getting the most out of your working day. We hope this guide will help.

Click here to download our useful guide about working from home advice.

Working from home advice

Contact us for managed IT services, network support and telecoms.

#coronavirus #wfh #workingfromhome

Bleeping Computers!

Can you hear your staff shouting at their computers all day? Don’t let them suffer. We can help. Let’s have a no obligation chat and get your business back on an even keel!

Bleeping Computers! Frustrated with your IT support?

Does your IT support make you feel like this?

#ITexperts #fastercomputers #nosweat

Great Customer Service

Great customer service is about letting your client know they matter to you. And that starts with having a great team.

These are the key traits customers look for: Empathy; patience; clear communication; knowledge; and fast resolutions.

What else helps you give great service?  Well we think, good systems supporting the team so they know what is in play; and in our business (managed IT Support) we need to be mind readers with the ability to completely ignore what is being said in favour of what might be meant. We pride ourselves on giving great customer service!

If you need to upgrade your systems to improve your customers’ experience then contact LIS to help drive the change.

#thecustomerisalwaysright #customerservice #business #mindreaders