As Australian retailers have been forced to shut their doors to flatten the curve, many business owners have been left reeling from their loss in sales. SMEs already sacrifice their time and resources to trade and now they have the added pressure of a global pandemic, which has now displayed the direct implications shutting up shop has on their livelihood.
Consumers are turning to online shopping for a number of reasons;
- support local businesses
- contribute to the Australian economy
- purchase what they are unable to access in a physical store
- curb boredom due to social isolation.
But for family-owned businesses and small traders, setting up an online store to support their bricks and mortar offering has never been achievable – until COVID-19 hit. Small businesses are now searching for creative and cost-effective ways to continue trading.
In my time as a web designer, app developer and digital marketer, I have seen firsthand how technology is a powerful tool in supporting business. For many SMEs, this process does not need to be complicated, it just needs to reflect your brand and effectively showcase your offering.
While creating the COVID-19 Support Pack in partnership with Neto, I’ve put together my top tips for moving your business online in the hope of empowering Australians to continue the fight in keeping their businesses open during this difficult time:
- When creating a website, ensure your home page is clear and concise, while still reflecting your branding and key messaging.
- Ensure your social media accounts are connected to your website, allowing easier navigation between pages, which can often result in growth of sales.
- Make sure contact information is easily accessible. During this difficult time, it can be confusing for customers who don’t often shop online to adapt to digital platforms. Ensure a phone number and email are available for any queries.
- Provide options for your customers – if you are able to offer Click & Collect functions, do so. It will allow locals and regulars to come by as they usually would.
- Ensure you engage with a simple postage and payment service, so customers feel at ease when purchasing. This will also help you when organising orders!
- Maintain social media presence while staying aware of the current situation. Misinterpreted comments on social media can have lasting negative impacts on your business. Ensure you are contributing to your community while supporting them.
- Not only can you connect your social accounts, you can also link your eBay, Amazon, and websites together to ensure each platform is run through the same delivery and payment service.
The benefits of moving your business online will long outlive the current pandemic and its economic repercussions. Do not give up your business dreams or goals – there is a way that we can support each other and continue providing unique and creative services and products for Australian consumers.
Joe McCord, General Manager, Digital8