It’s no understatement to say that the recent emergence of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and the subsequent need for social distancing has impacted consumer spending habits. Naturally, e-commerce and subscription industries have felt the impact of these changes as well.
We understand that you may be concerned about how to adapt your business practices and operations in relation to these economic and social changes, especially as the situation continues to unfold over the coming weeks and months, and we’re here to help.
We Hear You
How Cratejoy Can Help
The Cratejoy support team has been working hard to pull together a master help doc on how to adapt your business, with all the resources you could need on how to implement operational and technical changes within your Cratejoy account. Here, you’ll find:
- Support request templates to move shipment and renewal dates in bulk or per subscription ID
- How to prioritize and technically adapt to mass-communicate with customers
- How to export customer information in bulk
- How to update your Storefront website and/or Marketplace listing
- How to make use of excess inventory if needed
- How to postpone renewals if there are delays in sourcing or shipping
- And more
The support team is updating this help doc on a rolling basis, so please let us know if you have concerns that are not covered here.
Economic and Acquisition Concerns
It’s natural that you may be worried about customer spending habits right now. Will customers be less likely to subscribe, or more likely to churn, because they view a subscription box as a “luxury” item? Will customers be more likely to subscribe, because your product delivers to their door?
The answers to those questions will be different for every business, based on your box’s niche and value proposition. If you find you do need additional help with maintaining your margins, the Small Business Administration is offering small business loans to any business impacted by COVID-19.
The Paycheck Protection Program [Updated]
Under the Paycheck Protection Program, small businesses (<500 employees) can apply for funding to continue paying employees and cover other needed expenses for up to eight weeks. Apply through your bank up through June 30, 2020. And if you retain your full staff and payroll, the SBA will forgive all expenses.
As you likely know, funding was depleted for the Paycheck Protection Program last week. Congress is in the process of approving additional funding (an expected $310 billion) for the program, but we realize you may have a lot of questions!
If you’ve already applied for a loan under the PPP, you do not need to apply again. The SBA’s electronic system, E-Tran, will only accept one application per business — if it registers your employer ID number on a second application, that app you took the time to fill out again will bounce.
Larger businesses will not qualify for the PPP. This week, the SBA publicly announced that larger corporations with access to liquidity, like Shake Shack, Ruth’s Chris, and Potbelly, will no longer be able to receive loans through the program, and they are asking publicly-traded companies who did receive PPP loans to return the funds. (Read more in the SBA’s FAQ.)
We don’t yet know how long it may take to be approved for a forgivable loan under the PPP. Lenders are still working to process as many applications as they can while Congress prepares to allocate additional funding to the program.
If you’re approved, you can expect your loan amount to begin disbursement within 10 days. The terms of your loan depend on your lender, of course, particularly if you receive the full loan amount at once or apportioned over time. But in either case, the PPP requires lenders to disburse initial payouts within ten days of approval.
Loan Forgiveness (Aside from the PPP)
Additionally, if you have a current SBA loan under their 7(a), 504, Community Advantage, or microloan programs, your payments are automatically forgiven for six months. Payments due during these six month will never need to be paid back; these are forgiven permanently. You do not need to apply for this forgiveness — you’re automatically included.
Lastly, SBA disaster loans are available to small businesses throughout the 50 states and territories (plus D.C.). Accepted applicants may receive an advance upfront, which will not need to be repaid by the borrower.
Sourcing and Shipping Concerns
We know that many of you are worried about restrictions on external businesses you rely upon to run your business smoothly, such as product vendors, fulfillment centers, or shipping carriers. If you live and operate your business in a state that has closed all “non-essential” businesses, it’s possible that you have already been impacted by these new guidelines.
Changing Shipment Dates
If you need to push out shipments or renewals, given any vendor delays, you can see how to do so here.
Shipping with USPS
As an essential government service, the US Postal Service has not been impacted by any regional, state, or federal “shelter in place” restrictions. Legally, it is enshrined as an “essential service” in times of emergency, so there is no reason to believe this will change as the situation around COVID-19 continues to develop. Postal workers are part of what the Department of Homeland Security has deemed the nation’s “critical infrastructure.”
The US Postal Service is following CDC guidelines around social distancing to ensure safe and timely deliveries, especially as there has been a rise in consumers ordering goods online. Post offices are implementing a maximum limit of 10 people in line, with 6 feet between each customer. For business customers, they are also extending the timeframe for holding business mail from 10 days to 30 days.
If you have concerns or business needs that have not been met by the resources linked here, please fill out one of the surveys above or submit a ticket with our support team. The Cratejoy team is continuing to adapt our approach as needed to support your businesses as we move forward.