Google’s support to help businesses -- not just small to- medium-sized -- transition online became a lifeline for many that didn’t have the technical knowledge to make the transition. During the past few months, the COVID-19 pandemic proved that online commerce can help businesses survive with buy online either home deliveries or curbside pickup.
A Connected Commerce Council report suggests nearly one in three small business owners said without digital tools they would have had to close all or parts of their business during COVID-19.
Given that insight, it’s not surprising Google searches for “how to help small businesses” spiked in March, increasing more than 700% since February, specifically as COVID-19 began to change the way of life for consumers in the United States.
Technology has allowed local bookstores and mom-and-pop grocery stores to remain open for order online with curbside pickup.
In early May, Google introduced support links. It allows merchants to in six countries to add these links for things like donations and gift cards to business profiles.
Now the tool is rolling out broadly to an additional 18 countries such as Italy, Spain and Japan through a partnership with PayPal and GoFundMe for donations. For gift cards, merchants can link directly to the relevant page on their website or to their gift card offerings with one of our eligible partners, which includes Square, Toast, Clover and Vagaro.
This is one of several features and tools to help local businesses survive COVID-19.
Google also is helping merchants get discovered. Verified merchants on Google My Business will soon have the ability to add attributes like “online classes,” “online appointments,” or “online estimates” to their Business Profiles to let people know how they’re operating.
Today merchants can add one of these attributes using Google My Business, and in the coming weeks it’ll be visible on merchants’ Business Profiles in Search and Maps.
As the U.S. reopens, Google plans to expand Reserve with Google to help merchants offer easy appointment bookings for offline and online services, so customers can quickly find available times, book a slot, and add it to their Google Calendar, all from a merchant’s Business Profile.
Early partners include Booksy, Regis, WellnessLiving, and Zooty.