Small business, big impact – the digital tools driving success

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In March and April 2020, the Australian Government announced economic stimulus packages that are working to ease the current financial burden and better navigate the economic landscape for SMEs.

For brick and mortar businesses it may seem overwhelming at first to switch to online. However, with approximately 5.2 million households shopping online in April 2020, an increase of 31 per cent from the previous year, creating a digital presence has been a vital component in business continuity during COVID-19.

And with the right digital solutions, SMEs can bridge the gap between bricks-and-mortar and online retail to create a more effective omnichannel approach.

Online success: visibility and convenience

Many businesses have successfully made the transition and are thriving through online sales. From designing and running a website, to search engine optimisation, to social media amplification, there is a wealth of information and numerous resources available for SMEs navigating this new normal.

For example, the Government’s Small Business Digital Champions Project recently provided 100 small businesses with funding to digitally transform their business. Through the funding, 15 Australian Industry Associations will be providing digital advisory services to their members. The department also updates its website with helpful resources for small businesses making the move online.

Similarly, Mastercard’s Digital Doors curriculum, developed with Square Space and Hello Alice, includes insights from well-known brands with small-business experience and delivers the essential tools and knowledge to drive businesses forward. It includes creating a virtual storefront, amplifying a brand’s online presence through social media, accepting payment and staying safe online.

Security in a virtual world

While trading online is the first step for small businesses during this time, businesses also need to be aware and manage online fraud, chargebacks and customer disputes.

If not managed correctly, these issues can not only result in a negative customer experience but in financial loss for business owners. In 2019 online or “card-not-present” transactions accounted for 87 per cent of all card fraud in Australia.

However, the adoption of the right digital security solutions allow businesses to offer customers the convenience of online shopping, in a safe and secure way, without compromising customer experience.

A few tips to protect your business:

  1. Protect yourself and your business by being aware of the common scams targeting small businesses. Fraudsters are using very sophisticated phishing emails to steal data from businesses. Don’t click on attachments that may download malicious software to your computer.
  2. Small businesses should implement payment authentication for online transactions. Your payment service provider and bank now support payment authentication. Payment authentication allows businesses to share transaction data with the cardholder’s bank, to verify the user and reduce fraud for online payments. If a business initiates authentication and the cardholder’s bank approves the transaction, the business will not be liable, if there is a chargeback.
  3. Install tools to help you detect and mitigate chargebacks and proactively manage customer disputes. Good chargeback management tools can alert businesses of fraud, enabling the business to stop the shipment of goods, save inventory, reduce chargebacks and operational costs managing customer disputes.
  4. If your online business stores your customer’s card details for repeat purchases, use a tokenisation solution. This will ensure a customer’s payment data is securely stored and maintained, by replacing card numbers with a unique and encrypted digital token that cannot be intercepted or stolen.
  5. Understand your business’s cyberhealth and prevent cybercriminals from exploiting your data and damaging your business’s reputation. One in 10 small businesses faced a virus, hack or data breach in 2019. Invest in tools to help you understand the security vulnerabilities, put action plans in place and develop strategies to prevent cyber attacks.

Mallika Sathi, Vice President – Cyber Security, Intelligence Solutions & Digital Identity, Mastercard APAC