There’s a movement happening in countless living rooms, garages, and warehouses. Across the world, against the backdrop of COVID-19, people are starting out with a dream and turning it into a small business. These stories of creativity and resilience – whether you’re selling candles or dog food, backpacks or yoga mats – have become the very backbone of the entrepreneurial economy.
According to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, new business registrations throughout 2020 rose 19 per cent, compared with the previous 2019 reporting period.
Technology is the key to ensuring these thousands of new businesses start off on the right foot, and thrive well into the future. To ensure longevity and competitiveness, tapping into new digital offerings such as social commerce will help businesses come out of this pandemic unscathed.
Necessity is the mother of invention
It’s evident a huge number of new businesses opened in spite of the harsh economic conditions caused by COVID-19, that saw many consumers uncertain about where, or if, to spend their dollars. Much like the financial crisis of 2008, people were forced to take greater control of their circumstances and lives to earn a living. For many, this meant starting a new business if their previous work suddenly became untenable or unavailable. That’s how an entrepreneurial economy is born.
And it’s technology that has enabled this spirit of entrepreneurship to thrive. Amidst the uncertainty, taking the opportunity to launch new businesses, there was one common feature – these businesses were overwhelmingly set up to exist online. With physical distancing restrictions shuttering shopfronts and people giving up window shopping when they’re working from home, it’s no wonder everyday entrepreneurs turned to online platforms to help them market and sell their products.
Selling better with social commerce
The e-commerce sector is evolving, and it has done so faster than anyone might have expected, due to the pressure cooker scenario induced by COVID-19.
With more people staying at home than ever before, looking at more screens than ever before, it is a natural next step for merchants to make their products as “shoppable” as possible across as many social media platforms as possible.
Take Pinterest for example. Previously known for creating mood boards and inspiring aesthetics, it’s now possible to integrate your ecommerce platform totally into the platform. So many businesses rely on visual desirability — think jewellery, fashion, food, or even things like toys or home decor – but now Pinterest can extend beyond a wish, to a purchase.
Merchants now have the ability to sync their product catalogues on Pinterest for people to discover, save, and buy products from their website. For ROI purposes, you can create, track, and manage ad campaigns and orders through Pinterest, rather than rely on guesswork. So many businesses are investing heavily in their social media presence — as they should – but the key difference is, now they can monetise that effort.
According to Pinterest data, the number of ‘Pinners’ who have engaged with shoppable Product Pins has increased 44 per cent year-over-year, and total traffic to retailers has increased by 2.3x year-over-year.
For a one-person micro business or a small team, efficiencies like catalogue ingestion or seamless coding between social media outlets and website stores are invaluable. Particularly as significant time and resources can be saved and redirected to more important things like product design or customer service.
Technology has been the enabler for small businesses to thrive, especially in the past 18 months. Ecommerce platforms with prohibitive costs or the need for highly technical set-up skills are ultimately unhelpful in contributing to an entrepreneurial economy, which is exactly what Australia and the world need to recover from the financial devastation of the past year.