Online the key to SME survival during pandemic

Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers in South Brisbane and Paddington are customers of eWAY. Photo by Sarah Keayes/The Photo Pitch

Traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers have made the transition into eCommerce in huge numbers as a way to continue their business in the midst of restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the first six weeks after restrictions were imposed eCommerce payments provider eWAY experienced an almost fourfold rise in the number of applications for its services from the hospitality and groceries sectors, and almost two-and-a-half times as many as previously from beer, wine and liquor merchandisers.

“A lot of the businesses we see coming online were those that had more of a bricks and mortar presence, but due to the restrictions announced, had to pivot their businesses and look for alternate ways to process orders and take payments” eWAY Australia and New Zealand Managing Director, Mark Healy, said.

“Some of the businesses we’ve been involved with in establishing their online payment functionality include a range of restaurants and cafes, fruit and vegetable retailers and butchers. Most of these already had a web presence, but not a true online retail capability.”

Healy noted that non-traditional eCommerce businesses such as local butcher shops were already using online solutions continue to trade with their customers such as for ordering and for payment.

“Many of these businesses are now offering local delivery services and click-and-collect,” Healy said. “We expect that these service options will become permanent in a lot of cases as businesses adapt to the changed landscape.”

Queensland’s Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers – a business that originated as market stall serving fresh, handmade gnocchi operated by co-founders Ben Cleary-Corradini and Theo Roduner – now has dining three dining outlets.  

“When the COVID-19 restrictions came in we had to close our dining operations, which constituted about 50 per cent of our revenue,” Cleary-Corradini said.

“We had to look for other ways to continue to operate and keep our staff on. We had spent a lot of effort increasing our current online experience for customers and took the opportunity to launch our own home delivery service utilising eWAY’s all-in-one payment solution.

“As well as clawing back some of the lost revenue and improving margins with the takeaway side of our business, importantly it has meant we’ve been able to redeploy some of our staff and hang on to some of those jobs.”